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Interstate 77 (West Virginia Turnpike) South - Beckley to Bluefield

Interstate 77 South
Interstate 77 southbound leaves Interstate 64 east and the Beckley area on a rather remote drive southward through Raleigh County. The first thing southbound drivers encounter from Exit 40 is the main line toll plaza near Flat Top Lake. Photo taken 06/17/05. Second photo taken 12/31/69.
Large medians separate the carriageways of Interstate 77 from Interstate 64 southward to Flat Top Lake, wide enough so that the opposite side is not in view at times. The forthcoming mainline plaza incurs a $1.25 toll for all passenger vehicles. West Virginia Turnpike facilities are payable with EZPass transponder. See a list of toll rates here. Photo taken 06/17/05. Second photo taken 12/31/69.
Entering the small main line toll plaza of Interstate 77 southbound near Flat Top Lake. A small plaza resides along northbound as well. Photo taken 06/17/05.
Beyond the toll plaza, Interstate 77 meets West Virginia State Secondary 48 (Odd Ghent Road) west of its end at U.S. 19 near Flat Top Lake. Photo taken 06/17/05.
Southbound Interstate 77 at the Exit 28 diamond interchange with West Virginia State Secondary 48 (Odd Ghent Road). Ghent, a small community along parallel U.S. 19, lies nearby. State Secondary 48 otherwise meanders west five miles into the adjacent mountains to Odd and junction West Virginia State Secondary 33 (Amigo-Odd Road). U.S. 19 (Flat Top Road) continues south 2.75 miles to Flat Top. Photo taken 06/17/05.
Interstate 77 enters Mercer County on the approach to Flat Top, elevation 3,252 feet. U.S. 19 (Beckley Road) crosses the West Virginia Turnpike here and follows the southbound side of the freeway through to Dunns. Photo taken 06/17/05. Second photo taken 12/31/69.
The West Virginia Turnpike gradually descends from Flat Top east of Sams Ridge. Photo taken 06/17/05. Second photo taken 12/31/69.

Adjacent U.S. 19 comes into view at the base of the hill leading from Flat Top. A 5% grade lies ahead, as Interstate 77 lowers toward Camp Creep west of Farley Ridge. Photo taken 06/17/05. Second photo taken 12/31/69.
Interstate 77 and U.S. 19 circumvent Pisgah Ridge on their respective descents to Camp Creek. A sharper curve carries motorists southeast into the Camp Creek valley. Photo taken 06/17/05. Second photo taken 12/31/69.
U.S. 19 and the West Virginia interchange directly for the first time within the Mountain State at Exit 120 near Camp Creek. The federal highway enters the partial-cloverleaf interchange from east of Pisgah Ridge before ascending southwest to the Stovall Ridge. Interstate 77 remains parallel to the Camp Creek to Eads Mill. Photo taken 06/17/05.
One mile north of the Exit 20 off-ramp to U.S. 19 (Beckley Road) on Interstate 77 south. The settlement of Camp Creek resides nearby at the intersection of West Virginia State Secondary 19 (Camp Creek Road). Photo taken 06/17/05.
Pisgah Ridge rises along the northbound side of Interstate 77 as the West Virginia Turnpike nears the Exit 20 off-ramp. U.S. 19 snakes its way southwest 6.2 miles to Spanishburg and ten miles to junction West Virginia 10. West Virginia State Secondary 19 joins Camp Creek with Camp Creek State Forest and Park to the northwest. Photo taken 06/17/05. Second photo taken 12/31/69.
A weigh station doubles as a rest area with scenic overlook just south of Exit 20. Interstate 77 crosses the Bluestone River ahead at Eads Mill; Eads Mill is accessible from Eads Mill Road southeast from Camp Creek. Photo taken 06/17/05. Second photo taken 12/31/69.
West Virginia State Secondary 7 (Athens Road) intersects Interstate 77 (West Virginia Turnpike) at the Exit 14 diamond interchange. The east-west road joins the turnpike with U.S. 19 to the west and West Virginia 20. Photo taken 06/17/05.
One half mile north of the Exit 14 off-ramp to West Virginia State Secondary 7 (Athens Road). Athens Road meets West Virginia State Secondary 16 (Gardner-Princeton Road) in 0.4 miles with Gardner-Princeton Road heading southwest to Thorton Avenue in Princeton. Along the east side, West Virginia State Secondary 14 leads south from Athens Road parallel to the freeway to West Virginia 20 at Melrose. There is no direct access to the state highway from the freeway. Photo taken 06/17/05.
Southbound at the Exit 14 ramp departure to West Virginia State Secondary 7 (Athens Road). Athens Road ends 3.6 miles west at U.S. 19; State Secondary 7 east meanders 2.9 miles to West Virginia 20 near Athens, home of Concord University, whose Marsh Hall includes a 48-bell carillon. West Virginia 20 travels southward from Hinton, the Bluestone Lake area, and Pipestem Resort State Park, to Princeton and north Bluefield. Photo taken 06/17/05.
Continuing downward to the city of Princeton and junction U.S. 460 (Veterans Memorial Highway). U.S. 460 constitutes a four-lane divided highway linking Princeton with Bluefield to the southwest and Pearlsburg and Blacksburg, Virginia to the east. Photo taken 06/17/05. Second photo taken 12/31/69.
A diamond interchange joins Interstate 77 (West Virginia Turnpike) with U.S. 460 (Veterans Memorial Highway) at Exit 9 in east Princeton. U.S. 460 primarily bypasses the Mercer County seat to the south with West Virginia 104 (Oakvale Road) and U.S. 19 (Bluefield / Court House Roads) acting as a business loop through downtown. U.S. 460 east travels a rural route 11.5 miles east to Glen Lyn, Virginia. Photo taken 06/17/05.
0.25 miles out from the Exit 9 ramp departure to U.S. 460 at Princeton. U.S. 460 merges with U.S. 19 (Court House Road) in 4.7 miles; the two split in ten miles for separate routes into Bluefield. A West Virginia Welcome Center resides adjacent to Interstate 77 at U.S. 460 and Greasy Ridge Road. Photo taken 06/17/05.
The West Virginia Turnpike ends at junction U.S. 460 (Exit 9) with Interstate 77 continuing as a free route to the Virginia state line. U.S. 460 continues east 23 miles to Pearlsburg, Virginia and 45 miles to Blacksburg. Photo taken 06/17/05.
A trestle carries the Norfolk Southern Railroad line high above Interstate 77 as the freeway descends along Rocky Hollow. Just south of the railroad bridge is the Exit 7 partial "Y" interchange with Ingleside Road (West Virginia State Secondary 27). Photo taken 06/17/05.
Interstate 77 winds its way southward to Ingleside and Spangler Valley where it meets West Virginia 112 (Exit 5). Photo taken 06/17/05. Second photo taken 12/31/69.
Interstate 77 and West Virginia 112 parallel one another westward through the Spangler and Mill Valleys south of Stony Ridge. A clearance of 10' 6" restricts most truck traffic from using the state highway east beyond Ingleside. Photo taken 06/17/05.
Southbound travelers pass over West Virginia 112 ahead of the Exit 5 ramp departure to the state highway. There is no return ramp onto southbound, nor access from northbound. Photo taken 06/17/05.
Two miles east of the Exit 1 folded-diamond interchange with U.S. 52 north and West Virginia State Secondary 290/1 (Ind Center Road). Interstate 77 south spans the East River, Norfolk Southern Railroad and Blake Road and then straddles the south end of Pine Ridge through to junction U.S. 52. Photo taken 06/17/05.
U.S. 52 follows Cumberland Road west 2.5 miles to its merge with U.S. 460 outside of Bluefield. Bluefield lies in both West Virginia and Virginia and is home to Bluefield State College and Bluefield College. Photo taken 06/17/05.
Interstate 77 and U.S. 52 merge just north of East River Mountain Tunnel at the Virginia state line. Photo taken 06/17/05.
U.S. 52 travels seven miles southwest into downtown Bluefield near junction U.S. 19 (Princeton Avenue). West Virginia State Secondary 290/1 (Ind Center Road) spurs east from Exit 1 to an industrial park area from the interchange. Photo taken 06/17/05.
Exit 1 departs Interstate 77 south for U.S. 52 north to Bluefield. U.S. 52 joins the Bluefield area with Welch, Williamson and Huntington in far western reaches of the state. In Bluefield, the federal highway merges with U.S. 460 and U.S. 19 separately before those highways join together in Bluefield, Virginia en route to Tazewell, Virginia. Photo taken 06/17/05.
East River Mountain rises to over 3,400 feet along the West Virginia and Virginia state line south of Bluefield and Ingleside. Photo taken 06/17/05.
Attached to the U.S. 52 over crossing at Exit 1 is a pull through panel referencing the Interstate 77 & U.S. 52 southbound overlap. The tandem share just 1.4 miles through the East River Mountain Tunnel that is also designated the H. Edward Steele Memorial Tunnel after the former Bluefield Chamber of Commerce manager and newspaperman. Photo taken 06/17/05.
A pair of two-lane bores carry Interstate 77 & U.S. 52 5,400 feet through the East River Mountain tunnel east of Bluefield. The tunnel opened in 1974 after five years and $40 million in construction costs. Photo taken 06/17/05.
Passing is permitted through the East River Mountain Tunnel. The state line, unmarked within the tubes, lies approximately halfway between the tunnel portals. Photo taken 06/17/05. Second photo taken 10/02/10.



Photo Credits:
    2005-06-17 by AARoads. 2010-10-02 by AARoads and Carter Buchanan.

Page Updated 11-13-2007.

 
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