Rounding out the northern component of our trip, covering Interstate 64 east through eastern Kentucky to Charleston and a rehash of the West Virginia Turnpike south among other revisits of roads previously driven. Several more projects worth mentioning on this drive and we cover some in detail below
We begin our day at Mt. Sterling, Kentucky and discover one of a handful of state named shields for Interstate 64. This particular assembly is found along Kentucky 686 (Indian Mound Drive), a circumferential arterial around the city. KY-686 is signed as east-west, even on the north-south routing of the state route.
Kentucky 9 begins nearby and follows the John Y. Brown, Jr. AA Highway west to Interstate 275 near Covington. The AA Highway derived its original name for its intended connections between Alexandria and Ashland. Governor John Y. Brown’s name was added to honor his efforts to get the road built.
Kentucky 67 was built as a new corridor between Interstate 64 and U.S. 23 between 2002 and 2003. Right of way accommodations exist to four-lane the highway should capacity needs demand it. Additionally it appears provisions for a possible southern extension were built into the interchange design with Interstate 64.
Construction along their cosigned section is underway involving the replacement of the Twelve Police Creek Bridge near milepost 2. Traffic currently utilizes the eastbound span while a new westbound span is under construction. Drivers will shift to the new span on December 1 as crews dismantle and build a new eastbound bridge.
Known as the West Huntington Expressway, the alignment of U.S. 52 to Ohio was constructed in 1965 initially between I-64 and Jefferson Avenue and signed as West Virginia 94 until 1979. The Ohio River bridge was built in 1968 and reconstructed in 1998. Tolls were collected on the span until the mid 1980s
Ohio 7 was extended to replace the original U.S. 52 alignment from the original 6th Street Bridge west when the highway shifted to the Rahall Bridge in 1979. This section of freeway opened in 1961; old U.S. 52 across the Ohio River was renumbered as Multi-state Route 527.
U.S. 35 shifted to a new expressway alignment extending from Exit 44 of Interstate 64 northward 12 miles to a point north of Fraziers Bottom. This roadway is part of an overall plan to four-lane U.S. 35 from Putnam County to the Ohio state line at Henderson. Sections of the southern section of U.S. 35 opened from south to north between Fall 2008 and June 2009.
Work is ongoing from Beech Hill west to a 1997-completed section of expressway at Henderson. Construction on the new U.S. 35 alignment between Fraziers Bottom and Beech Hill was unfunded, but a recent approval by Putnam County commissioners may see the remaining 14.6-mile stretch completed as a toll road. Mason County commissioners passed a resolution approving tolls as well, so the new road, when completed, will carry a $4 toll for passenger vehicles. Old U.S. 35 from Fraziers Bottom to U.S. 60 at Nitro is now signed as West Virginia 817.
A new eastbound Interstate 64 bridge over the Kanawha River, between Dunbar and South Charleston, opened on September 9, 2010. Construction started on the 2,950 foot span in June 2007. The concrete box girder span is the longest in North America.
The East Beckley Bypass joins U.S. 19 (Eisenhower Drive) in southeast Beckley currently, but is slated to end at West Virginia 41 (Stanaford Road) by summer 2011. ARRA money helped pushed the stalled project forward.
We rounded out the day’s drive via I-26 to U.S. 25 southward into South Carolina.
- KentuckyRoads.com – AA Highway.
- KentuckyRoads.com – KY 67.
- “I-64 Construction Update.” WSAZ, April 24, 2010.
- U.S. Route 52 in West Virginia @ Wikipedia.org.
- Ohio State Route 7 @ Wikipedia.org.
- “Putnam commissioners approval tolls on U.S. 35.” theCharlestonGazette, September 28, 2010.
- “Commission approves resolution backing U.S. 35 toll.” Point Pleasant Register.
- “Charleston Daily Mail, July 29, 2010.