Interstate 77 in West Virginia

Interstate 77 in West Virginia

 

I-77
Get started Princeton
End Williamstown
Length 185 mi
Length 298 km
Route
  • Virginia1 Bluefield
  • 5 Oakvale
  • 7 South Princeton
  • 9 Princeton
  • 14 Athens
  • 20
  • 28 Ghent
  • 40 → Richmond
  • 42 South Beckley
  • 44 West Beckley
  • 45 Beckley
  • 48 North Beckley
  • 54 Pax
  • 60 Mossy
  • 66 County Road 15
  • 74 Paint Creek
  • 79 Dawes
  • 85 Chelyan
  • 89 Marmet
  • 95 South Charleston
  • Kanawha River
  • 96-102: Charleston
  • 96
  • 97 Kanawha Boulevard
  • 98 35th Street
  • 99 Greenbrier Street
  • 100 Downtown Charleston
  • 101 → Huntington
  • 102 North Charleston
  • 104 → Pittsburgh
  • 106 Edens Fork Road
  • 111 County Road 1
  • 114 Old U.S. 21
  • 116 Sissonville
  • 119 Charleston Road
  • 124 Kennan
  • 132 Old U.S. 21
  • 138 Ripley
  • 146 Ravenswood
  • 154 County Road 1
  • 161 Rockport
  • 170 Mineral Wells
  • 173 South Parkersburg
  • 174 East Parkersburg
  • 176 Parkersburg
  • 179 North Parkersburg
  • 185 Williamstown
  • Ohio River
  • Ohio

Interstate 77 or I -77 is an Interstate Highway in the U.S. state of West Virginia. The highway forms a north-south route through the center of the state and is partially a toll road. I-77 runs from the Virginia border through Beckley, Charleston, and Parkersburg to the Ohio border. The route is 298 kilometers long.

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Travel directions

I-77 at Charleston.

I-64/77 at Charleston.

Interstate 77 in Virginia crosses the border into West Virginia via the East River Tunnel. The highway then temporarily passes through a very hilly area, and after 15 kilometers becomes a toll road, the West Virginia Turnpike. I-77 is the only high-speed highway in southern West Virginia, as this area is sparsely populated and very hilly to mountainous. Therefore, there are few exits. The highway runs here at an altitude of almost 1,000 meters and the lanes are regularly quite far apart. The highway is also quite winding. At Beckley, a regional town, Interstate 64 merges from Richmond, and both roads are then double-numberedfrom 100 kilometers to the capital Charleston.

Even after Beckley the area remains hilly, although it descends slowly. The highway runs through sparsely populated area here. After a long meandering one reaches the valley of the Kanawha River. The highway then follows the course of the river, which is already somewhat urbanized here. One then reaches Charleston, the capital of West Virginia. The highway has 2×3 lanes here. On the north side of town, I-77 turns north toward Cleveland, while I-64 turns west toward Huntington and Louisville. Shortly after, there is another interchange where Interstate 79 begins and heads toward Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania.

Interstate 77 then leaves the valley around Charleston, and re-enters a sparsely populated and highly hilly area. The height of the hills is not that great, but they are close together and are steep. Also in this part of West Virginia there are few large towns on the route. It’s a fairly remote route to the town of Parkersburg, where you cross US 50, which is a divided highway here towards Clarksburg in the east, guaranteeing a fairly fast east-west connection through northern West Virginia. Not far after Parkersburg, at Williamstown, I-77 crosses the Ohio River, also the border with the state of the same name. Interstate 77 in Ohio then continues toward Akron and Cleveland.

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History

History

US 21 was originally the primary north-south route through West Virginia. US 21 ran from the Ohio border through Parkersburg, Charleston, Beckley and Princeton to the Virginia border. South of Charleston, US 21 coincided with US 60 and US 19 and made a zig-zag route here. The later I-77 was built between Charleston and Beckley over a completely new route where no important roads previously ran. US 21 was greatly shortened after the construction of I-77 and today no longer runs through West Virginia. The section between Parkersburg and Charleston is now County Road 21.

West Virginia Turnpike

Already in 1952 the West Virginia Turnpike, the toll road from Princeton to Charleston, was started right through the very mountainous south of West Virginia. The route was then constructed as two lanes, but did have grade separated intersections. On September 2, 1954, the first 58 kilometers between Princeton and Beckley opened to traffic. In November 1954, the remaining 84 miles as far as Charleston opened to traffic. In 1974, the toll-free section at Bluefield opened to traffic, including the East River Mountain Tunnel on the Virginia border . Between 1980 and 1987, the West Virginia Turnpike was widened from 1×2 to 2×2 lanes and has since met Interstate Highway design requirements, although the twisty route is ahas substandard alignment.

Between 2018 and 2021, an eight-mile stretch of I-77 past Beckley has been widened from 2×2 to 2×3 lanes. The extra lanes opened to traffic on November 23, 2021.

Charleston – Parkersburg

Less is known about the rest of the route from Charleston to Parkersburg. In 1965, the Marietta–Williamstown Interstate Bridge on the Ohio border over the Ohio River at Parkersburg opened to traffic. In 1976, the double-numbered portion through Charleston with I-64 opened between the West Virginia Turnpike and the I-64 interchange in the north of the city. The intermediate section from Charleston to Parkersburg was probably completed during the 1960s and 1970s.

Traffic intensities

Some 30,500 vehicles crossed the West Virginia border every day in 2007. From the double numbering with I-64 at Beckley, there are 46,000 to 84,000 in Charleston. North of Charleston, the highway usually has between 20,000 and 30,000 vehicles per day.

Interstate 77 in West Virginia

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