Interstate 79

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Interstate 79 marker

Interstate 79
I-79 highlighted in red
Route information
Length343.24 mi[1] (552.39 km)
Major junctions
South end I-77 near Charleston, WV
  US 19 near Sutton, WV
US 33 / US 48 / US 119 near Weston, WV
US 50 near Clarksburg, WV
I-68 near Morgantown, WV
I-70 near Washington, PA
I-376 / US 22 / US 30 near Carnegie, PA
I-279 in Franklin Park, PA

I-76 / Penna Turnpike in Warrendale, PA
I-80 in Findley Township, PA
I-90 in McKean, PA
North end PA 5 / PA 290 / Bayfront Parkway in Erie, PA
StatesWest Virginia, Pennsylvania
CountiesWV: Kanawha, Roane, Clay, Braxton, Gilmer, Lewis, Harrison, Marion, Monongalia
PA: Greene, Washington, Allegheny, Butler, Lawrence, Mercer, Crawford, Erie
Highway system
WV-78.svg WV 78WVWV-80.svg WV 80
PA-78 (1960).svg PA 78PAPA-79 (1960).svg PA 79
PA-178.svg PA 178PAPA-179.svg PA 179

Interstate 79 (I-79) is an Interstate Highway in the eastern United States, designated from I-77 in Charleston, West Virginia to Pennsylvania Route 5 (PA 5) and PA 290 in Erie, Pennsylvania. It is a primary thoroughfare through western Pennsylvania and West Virginia, and makes up part of an important corridor to Buffalo, New York, and the border with Canada. Major metropolitan areas connected by I-79 include Charleston and Morgantown in West Virginia, and Pittsburgh, and Erie in Pennsylvania. In West Virginia, I-79 is known as the Jennings Randolph Expressway, named for Jennings Randolph. In the three most northern counties it is signed as part of the High Tech Corridor. For most of its Pennsylvania stretch, it is known as the Raymond P. Shafer Highway, named for Raymond P. Shafer.

Route description[edit]

Neville Island Bridge in PA carrying I-79
  mi[1] km
WV 160.52 258.49
PA 182.72 294.24
Total 343.24 552.39

Except at its northern end, I-79 is located on the Allegheny Plateau. Despite the somewhat rugged terrain, the road is relatively flat. Most of the highway is at an elevation of about 1,000 to 1,200 feet (300 to 370 meters) above sea level, with some lower areas near both ends and higher areas near Sutton, West Virginia. In the hillier areas, this flatness is achieved by curving around hills, along ridges, and in or partway up river valleys.[2] From Sutton, West Virginia north, Interstate 79 generally parallels the path of U.S. Route 19 (US 19).

West Virginia[edit]

View north along I-79 north of US 19/WV 15 in Flatwoods, West Virginia

I-79 begins at a three-way directional Y interchange with Interstate 77 along the northwest bank of the Elk River just northeast of Charleston. For its first 67 miles (108 km), to a point just south of Flatwoods, I-79 is located in the watershed of the Elk River, which drains into the Kanawha River. It crosses the Elk River twice — at Frametown and Sutton - and never strays more than about 15 to 20 miles (24 to 32 km) from it.[2][3]


Exit signs for US 20, PA 5, PA 290 and the terminus for I-79 in Erie, PA.

I-79 enters Pennsylvania after leaving West Virginia University in Morgantown, West Virginia. South of Washington, Pennsylvania, I-79 traverses the mostly rural Greene County area.

Between mile markers 34 and 38, I-79 is multiplexed with I-70 in the Washington, Pennsylvania area before heading north towards Pittsburgh.

The freeway into Pittsburgh requires drivers to use I-376 while I-79 completely bypasses the city. Beyond the Pittsburgh area, I-79 traverses more rural areas in Butler, Lawrence, Mercer, Crawford, and Erie counties before arriving at its termination point in Erie. In Erie, I-90 provides an important connection from I-79 to Buffalo, New York and the border with Canada.

The ghost ramps around the 100 mile marker near Moraine State Park.

Around the 100-mile marker on the northbound side are two ghost ramps that were specifically built for the Boy Scouts of America in order to have access to Moraine State Park without having to get on U.S. Route 422 for the 1973 and 1977 National Scout Jamborees, which were held at Moraine. The ramps were permanently closed after the 1977 event, but remain in place as of 2017.[4][5]

I-79 was completely re-built in the Pittsburgh area in the early 1990s.[6]


The Pennsylvania General Assembly authorized the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission to build two extensions in the 1950s. The Northwestern Extension, authorized in 1953, was to stretch from the main Pennsylvania Turnpike north to Erie, and would have included a lateral connection between Ohio and New York (later built as Interstate 90).[7] The Southwestern Extension, authorized in 1955, was to run south from the main line near Pittsburgh to West Virginia, connecting there with an extension of the West Virginia Turnpike.[8] Except for the section between Washington and the Pittsburgh area, which was included as part of Interstate 70,[9] the first portion of I-79 to be added to the plans was north from Pittsburgh to Erie, along the U.S. Route 19 corridor.

In September 1955, two short urban portions were designated:[10]

Interstate 179
ExistedNovember 12, 1958–1968

Interstate 279
Length13.5 mi (21.7 km)
ExistedSeptember 16, 1989–
  • I-179: A spur from I-90 north to Erie, currently absorbed into I-79[11]
  • I-279: A western bypass of Pittsburgh, connecting I-70 with I-80S (now Interstate 76); it and I-79 later swapped designations

The number 79 was assigned in 1958,[12] and an extension south along I-70 to Washington and beyond to Charleston was approved on October 18, 1961.[13] This extension also paralleled US 19 to near Sutton, where it turned westerly to reach Charleston. (The part of US 19 from Sutton south to Interstate 77 at Beckley, West Virginia has since been four-laned as Corridor L of the Appalachian Development Highway System.)

On December 21, 1967, the first section of I-79 in West Virginia, between Exits 125 (Saltwell Road) and 132 (South Fairmont), opened to traffic.[14] This five-mile (8 km) section bypassed part of WV 73 between Bridgeport and Fairmont. Another five miles (8.0 km) opened in July 1968, extending the highway on a bypass of downtown Fairmont to Exit 137 (East Park Avenue).[15] It was further extended 9.5 miles (15.3 km) towards Morgantown on October 15, 1970, bypassing more of WV 73 to Exit 146 (Goshen Road) south of that city.[16][17][18]

On June 29, 1970 the swap of I-79 and I-279 was approved. At the same time, I-76 was extended west from downtown Pittsburgh over former I-79 to the new location of I-79 west of Pittsburgh, so I-279 only ran north from downtown Pittsburgh. On December 3, 1971, I-76 was rerouted to bypass Pittsburgh, and I-279 was extended to I-79 utilizing the former section of I-76.[19] The changes took effect on October 2, 1972.[20]

On June 29, 1973, I-79 was extended from West Virginia Exit 146 to Exit 148 (I-68), where at one point, traffic was forced onto the newly opened west end of Corridor E (now I-68) to Exit 1.[21] A further extension of six miles (9.7 km), including the Uffington Bridge over the Monongahela River southwest of Morgantown, was opened on August 30, 1973, leading north to Exit 155 (Star City).[22][23] This completed I-79 from north of Bridgeport to north of Morgantown.

To the south of Bridgeport, the first two sections were both opened on December 22, 1971. One of these ran ten miles (16 km) from Exit 51 (Frametown) to Exit 62 (Sutton), and the other from Exit 105 (Jane Lew) to Exit 115 (Nutter Fort).[24][25][26][27] On September 19, 1973, another 7.5-mile (12.1 km) stretch was opened, from Exit 105 (Jane Lew) south to Exit 99 (Weston).[28]

In 1973, significant portions of the interstate were completed.[18] Interstate 79 opened from Exit 62 to Exit 99. Another 23.9 miles (38.5 km), from Exit 67 (Flatwoods) north to Exit 91 (Roanoke), opened on November 28, 1973, along with the section from exit 115 north to exit 117 (Anmoore), completing the route between Frametown and Morgantown except in the Bridgeport area.[29][30]

A 5.5-mile (8.9 km) extension from exit 51 south to exit 46 (Servia) opened on February 1, 1974,[31] and County Route 11 to WV 4 near Duck was widened to handle the increased load.[32] On the same day, two lanes opened from exit 155 (Osage) north to the state line.[citation needed]

On October 16, 1974, two pieces of I-79 were opened: the other two lanes[citation needed] of the 6.6 miles (10.6 km) from exit 155 to the state line, and 7.1 miles (11.4 km) between exits 117 (Anmoore) and 125 (north of Bridgeport). On the same day, the eastern end of Corridor D and the western end of Corridor E, both connecting to I-79 (at exits 119 and 148), were opened. This completed I-79 in West Virginia north of exit 46 (Servia);[33][34][35] it was extended south to exit 25 (Amma) in late November[36] and to U.S. Route 119 north of Clendenin (exit 19) on November 13, 1975.[37] It was opened from exit 19 to exit 9 (Elkview) on November 18, 1977,[38] and finally completed to Interstate 77 in 1979.[18]

Interstate 79 merges with Interstate 70 through Washington, Pennsylvania.

On July 25, 1975, Interstate 79 was opened between exits 1 and 14 in Pennsylvania.[39] The last piece of I-79 between West Virginia and Erie — the Neville Island Bridge over the Ohio River - opened on September 3, 1976.[40]

In late 2008, the "missing ramps" of the I-79/I-376 interchange (PA 60 was designated as the route for southbound traffic seeking to go to Pittsburgh International Airport and for airport traffic seeking to go northbound on I-79) were completed.[41]

In June 2009, I-376 was extended west and north of downtown Pittsburgh, and I-279 was truncated back to the section only running from downtown Pittsburgh north to I-79.

Exit list[edit]

StateCountyLocationmi[42]kmOld exit
New exit
West VirginiaKanawhaCharleston0.0000.000 I-77 to I-64 – Parkersburg, CharlestonSouthern terminus of I-79; I-77 exit 104
1.8452.9691 US 119 – Mink ShoalsAccess to Coonskin Park
5.0478.1225 US 119 (WV 114) – Big ChimneyNorthern terminus of WV 114
Pinch9.46915.2399 CR 43 (Frame Road) – Elkview
Clendenin19.09130.72419 US 119 (CR 53) – Clendenin
RoaneAmma25.28140.68625 CR 29 – Amma
33.74154.30134 WV 36 – Wallback, Clay
Clay39.89964.21140 WV 16 – Big Otter
Braxton46.09974.18946 CR 11 (Servia Road)
Frametown51.56982.99251 WV 4 – Frametown
57.60792.70957 US 19 south – Beckley, SummersvilleSouthern terminus of US 19 concurrency; access to New River Gorge
Sutton61.46598.91862 WV 4 – Sutton, Gassaway
Flatwoods66.965107.77067 US 19 north (WV 4) / WV 15 – FlatwoodsNorthern terminus of US 19 concurrency; WV 15 ends at WV 4 south of the interchange; access to Sutton Lake
Burnsville78.909126.99279 WV 5 – Burnsville, GlenvilleAccess to Glenville State College and Burnsville Dam
No major junctions
Lewis90.988146.43191 US 19 – Stonewall Resort, RoanokeAccess to Stonewall Jackson Lake State Park
Weston95.928154.38196 CR 30 – South WestonAccess to Stonewall Jackson Lake and Jackson's Mill
98.608158.69499 US 33 / US 48 / US 119 – Weston, BuckhannonAccess to West Virginia Wesleyan College and Davis and Elkins College
Jane Lew105.038169.042105 CR 7 – Jane LewAccess to Jackson's Mill
HarrisonLost Creek109.688–
110 WV 270 – Lost CreekEastern terminus of WV 270
Stonewood115.75186.28115 WV 20 – Stonewood, Nutter FortAccess to Alderson Broaddus University
Clarksburg118.13190.11117 WV 58 – Anmoore
119.63192.53119 US 50 (Corridor D) – Clarksburg, BridgeportAccess to Salem International University
121.7195.9121 CR 24 (Meadowbrook Road)
124.34200.11124 WV 279 to US 50 eastAccess to North Central West Virginia Airport, Tygart Lake State Park, and United Hospital Center
125.36201.75125 WV 131 (Saltwell Road) – Shinnston
MarionWhitehall132.086212.572132 US 250 – Fairmont, Whitehall
Fairmont133.356214.616133 CR 641 (Kingmont Road)
134.926217.142135 CR 64 (Pleasant Valley Road)
136.006218.880136 WV 273 – Downtown FairmontSouthern terminus of WV 273; exit fully opened on December 22, 2010.[44]
136.660219.933137 WV 310 (East Park Avenue)Access to Valley Falls State Park
138.79223.36139 CR 33 (Pricketts Creek Road) – East FairmontAccess to Prickett's Fort State Park
Monongalia145.62234.35146 CR 77 (Goshen Road)
Morgantown148.766239.416148 I-68 east – CumberlandWestern terminus of I-68; access to Mountaineer Field and Tygart Lake State Park
152.502245.428152 US 19 – Westover, MorgantownAccess to Granville
153.4246.9153 CR 467 (University Town Centre Drive)
154.836249.184155 WV 7 – West Virginia UniversityAccess to Star City, Osage, and Mountaineer Field
Mason–Dixon Line160.52
West Virginia–Pennsylvania
state line
PennsylvaniaGreenePerry Township0.81.311 To US 19 – Mount Morris
Whiteley Township6.810.927Kirby, Garards Fort
Franklin Township14.022.5314 PA 21 – Masontown, WaynesburgAccess to Waynesburg University
Washington Township19.431.2419 US 19 / PA 221 – Ruff Creek, Jefferson
WashingtonWest Bethlehem Township23.437.7523Marianna, Prosperity
Amwell Township30.649.2630 US 19 – Amity, Lone Pine
32.952.9733 US 40 – Laboratory
South Strabane Township34.455.434 I-70 east – New StantonSouthern terminus of I-70 concurrency, exit 18 eastbound
35.457.0820 PA 136 (Beau Street)Access to Washington & Jefferson College
36.458.6719 US 19 (Murtland Avenue)Diverging diamond interchange
37.961.038 I-70 west – WheelingNorthern terminus of I-70 concurrency, exit 21 westbound
40.364.98A40Meadow Lands
41.166.1841Race Track Road – Meadow Lands
North Strabane Township43.469.8943 PA 519 – Eighty Four, Houston
45.573.21045 To PA 980 – Canonsburg
Cecil Township48.277.610A48Southpointe, HendersonvilleAccess to California University of Pennsylvania's Southpointe Campus and to the National Cemetery of the Alleghenies
50.280.852 PA Turnpike 576 (Southern Beltway)Under contract; westbound entrances & eastbound exits are expected to open by 2021.[45]
AlleghenyBridgeville54.687.91154 PA 50 – Bridgeville
South Fayette Township55.288.81255Heidelberg, CollierFormerly designated as "Heidelberg / Kirwan Heights"
Scott Township57.492.41357Carnegie
Pennsbury Village59.395.41459 I-376 (US 22, US 30) – Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh International AirportI-376 exit 59; signed as exits 59A (east) & 59B (west)
Robinson Township60.497.21660 PA 60 – Crafton, Moon Run, Pittsburgh International AirportSigned as exit 60 northbound and exits 60A (south) and 60B (north) southbound
Coraopolis64.1103.21764 PA 51 – Coraopolis, McKees RocksNo southbound exit
Ohio RiverNeville Island Bridge
Neville Township64.8104.31865 Yellow Belt to PA 51 – Neville IslandSouthern terminus of Yellow Belt concurrency
Ohio RiverNeville Island Bridge
Glenfield66.5107.01966 PA 65 – Emsworth, Sewickley
Sewickley Hills68.0109.42068 Yellow Belt (Mount Nebo Road)Northern terminus of Yellow Belt concurrency
Franklin Park72.1116.02172 I-279 south – PittsburghNorthern terminus of I-279, southbound exit and northbound entrance
73.3118.02273 PA 910 east / Orange Belt – WexfordWestern terminus of PA 910
Marshall Township75.7121.82375 Red Belt to US 19 south – WarrendaleNorthbound exit and southbound entrance
75.9122.12576 US 19 north – CranberryNorthbound left exit and southbound entrance
ButlerCranberry Township77.2124.277 I-76 / Penna Turnpike – Harrisburg, Youngstown OHI-76 / Penna Turnpike exit 28 (Cranberry)
78.7126.72578 PA 228 – Seven Fields, Mars, Cranberry
Jackson Township83.1133.72683 PA 528 – Evans CityNorthbound exit and southbound entrance
85.5137.62685 To PA 528 (US 19)Southbound exit and northbound entrance
87.3140.52787 PA 68 – ZelienopleNorthbound exit and southbound entrance
88.7142.72788 To US 19 to PA 68 – ZelienopleSigned as Little Creek Road northbound; promoted as access to Seneca Valley School District
Muddy Creek Township95.8154.22896 PA 488 – Portersville, Prospect
Muddy Creek Township99.6160.32999 US 422 – New Castle, ButlerAccess to Moraine State Park and McConnells Mill State Park
Worth Township105.4169.630105 PA 108 – Slippery RockAccess to Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania
No major junctions
MercerSpringfield Township113.7183.031113 PA 208 / PA 258 – Grove CityAccess to Grove City College and Westminster College
Findley Township116.5187.5116 I-80 – Clarion, SharonSigned as exits 116A (east) and 116B (west); I-80 exits 19A-B
Jackson Township121.1194.933121 US 62 – Mercer, Franklin
New Vernon Township130.6210.234130 PA 358 – Greenville, Sandy LakeAccess to Thiel College
CrawfordGreenwood Township141.5227.735141 PA 285 – Geneva, Cochranton
Vernon Township147.4237.236147 US 6 / US 19 / US 322 – Meadville, Conneaut LakeSigned as exits 147A (north/east) and 147B (south/west); access to Conneaut Lake Park and Allegheny College, to PA 102
Hayfield Township153.9247.737154 PA 198 – Conneautville, Saegertown
ErieWashington Township166.5268.038166 US 6N – Albion, EdinboroAccess to Edinboro University of Pennsylvania
McKean Township174.7281.239174McKean
178.6287.4178 I-90 – Buffalo, ClevelandSigned as exits 178A (east) and 178B (west); I-90 exits 22A-B; former southern terminus of I-179
Millcreek Township180.5290.541180 To US 19 – KearsargeAccess to Millcreek Mall and PA 99
Erie182.7294.043182 US 20 (26th Street)Access to Erie International Airport
183.6295.544183 PA 5 / PA 290 east (12th Street)Northbound exit and southbound entrance; signed as exits 183A (east) and 183B (west); access to Presque Isle State Park, Waldameer Park, and Gannon University; western terminus of PA 290
183.8295.8Bayfront Parkway
Lincoln Avenue
Northern terminus of I-79; roadway continues beyond Lincoln Avenue as Bayfront Parkway; former northern terminus of I-179
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

Auxiliary routes[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Route Log and Finder List - Interstate System - table 1". Federal Highway Administration. 2002-10-31. Retrieved 2007-07-09.
  2. ^ a b United States Geological Survey topographic maps and aerial photos, accessed via Terraserver-USA
  3. ^ National Atlas of the United States, Hydrologic Units (Watersheds) GIS data Archived 2013-05-04 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Ghost Ramps". 2005-06-05. Retrieved 2017-08-08.
  5. ^ Google (2017-08-08). "Ghost ramps around the 100 mile marker" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved 2017-08-08.
  6. ^ "The Pittsburgh Press - Google News Archive Search".
  7. ^ Pennsylvania Turnpike Northwestern Extension Act, P.L. 706, No. 229, passed July 28, 1953
  8. ^ Pennsylvania Turnpike Southwestern Extension Act, P.L. 174, No. 52, passed June 14, 1955
  9. ^ Official Route Numbering for the National System of Interstate and Defense Highways, as adopted by the American Association of State Highway Officials, August 14, 1957
  10. ^ Bureau of Public Roads, General Location of National System of Interstate Highways, 1955: maps of Erie and Pittsburgh
  11. ^ "3-digit Interstates from I-79".
  12. ^ Official Route Numbering for the National System of Interstate and Defense Highways, as adopted by the American Association of State Highway Officials, June 27, 1958
  13. ^ Charleston Daily Mail, Third Route Alters Interstate Picture, SRC Tells Mayors, October 20, 1961
  14. ^ Charleston Daily Mail, 5-Mile I-79 Link Will Open December 21, December 7, 1967
  15. ^ Charleston Daily Mail, 5 Miles of I-79 Opens in Marion, July 20, 1968
  16. ^ Charleston Gazette, Gov. Moore Will Open I-79 Segment, October 10, 1970
  17. ^ Charleston Gazette, Moore Opens I-79 Portion, Restates Vow, October 16, 1970
  18. ^ a b c Release Date Report. West Virginia Department of Transportation. August 2003.
  19. ^ Federal Highway Administration, Ask the Rambler: Was I-76 Numbered to Honor Philadelphia for Independence Day, 1776?
  20. ^ "Interstates Renumbered". The Pittsburgh Press. February 24, 1972. p. 8. Retrieved November 30, 2017 – via open access
  21. ^ Charleston Daily Mail, 5 More Miles of I-79 Being Opened Today, June 29, 1973
  22. ^ Charleston Gazette, 6-Mile Stretch of I-79 Open, August 31, 1973
  23. ^ Charleston Gazette, September 5, 1973
  24. ^ Dominion News, Two I-79 Sections Opened, December 23, 1971
  25. ^ Charleston Daily Mail, 40 Miles More of I-79 Open, December 23, 1971
  26. ^ Charleston Gazette, I-79 Mileage Increased to 40, December 23, 1971
  27. ^ Dominion News, January 23, 1972
  28. ^ Charleston Daily Mail, I-79 Segment Opened by Governor Moore, September 20, 1973
  29. ^ Charleston Daily Mail, More of I-79 to Be Opened Tomorrow, November 27, 1973
  30. ^ Charleston Gazette, Open I-79 Increasing by 25.17 Miles, November 28, 1973
  31. ^ Charleston Gazette, Additional Interstates to Open, January 30, 1974
  32. ^ Charleston Gazette, Highway Project Bids to Be Opened, March 8, 1972
  33. ^ Charleston Gazette, Moore Will Open 22 New Miles, October 8, 1974
  34. ^ Charleston Gazette, 22 Miles of Roads Opened, October 17, 1974
  35. ^ Daily Courier, W. Va. to Open Over 22 Miles of Highways, October 10, 1974
  36. ^ Charleston Gazette, Holiday Travelers to Find I-79 Nonstop From Amma, November 28, 1974
  37. ^ Charleston Gazette, New I-79 Stretch Will Open Today, November 13, 1975
  38. ^ Charleston Daily Mail, November 18, 1977
  39. ^ Daily Courier, I-79 Opening Today in Greene County, July 25, 1975
  40. ^ Valley Independent, Interstate 79 opened in Erie on September 4, 1976
  41. ^ "'Missing links' take shape at I-79/Parkway West". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  42. ^ Federal Highway Administration, National Highway Planning Network GIS data version 2005.08
  43. ^ a b "Pennsylvania Exit Numbering" (PDF). Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. Retrieved October 2, 2007.
  44. ^ Panuska, Mallory (December 22, 2010). "Gateway Connector opens today". Times West Virginian. Retrieved December 22, 2010.
  45. ^ "PA Turnpike News Release" (PDF). Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission. Retrieved September 28, 2018.

External links[edit]

Route map:

KML is from Wikidata