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Author Topic: I-70 and US 250 in Wheeling  (Read 3112 times)

Tom958

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I-70 and US 250 in Wheeling
« on: November 29, 2020, 03:30:41 PM »

Not long ago, I was looking at Wheeling on Streetview and I noticed this and other signs for the left exit from eastbound I-70 onto the US 250 freeway. I'd known about the left exit, but I didn't understand the 16th Street reference: if you were actually going to 16th Street, you'd probably do better to take the Main Street exit rather than passing through the tunnel and approaching from the other side of downtown.

After a bit of research, I found this map from 1976 at https://www.interstate-guide.com/i-470-wheeling/. It shows
the northern section of the US 250 freeway open all the way to I-70, but with access to I-70 only two and from the
east despite the ramp stubs to and from both west and east being completed along with the tunnel and I-70 itself in
1966 or so. I also found a 1978 USCGS topo at historicaerials.com showing the same configuration, but drawn
unconvincingly in light purple double lines instead of bold solid purple.



That would certainly explain 16th Street as a control, especially from the east.

Also from interstate-guide.com, there's this laughably bad Exxon map:


I also read somewhere that the full US 250 freeway in Wheeling wasn't opened until 1982. I forgot where I found it, though.

So... was there ever a time when the US 250 freeway was connected to I-70 only to and from the east, or was that a topographic brain fart?
« Last Edit: November 29, 2020, 04:36:57 PM by Tom958 »
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Tom958

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Re: I-70 and US 250 in Wheeling
« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2020, 03:34:24 PM »

Also, a simpler question: Was i-70 ever two lanes in each direction throughout its length in Wheeling, or were the one-lane chokedown sections there from the beginning?
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Mapmikey

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Re: I-70 and US 250 in Wheeling
« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2020, 06:02:15 PM »

Brain fart on the part of the topographer.

The 1966 and 1972 historic aerials both show all current ramps built (leading to nowhere, but definitely built), including the stub ramp from I-70 WB to the freeway north of this interchange that never did get built.

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Bitmapped

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Re: I-70 and US 250 in Wheeling
« Reply #3 on: November 29, 2020, 08:51:20 PM »

Also, a simpler question: Was i-70 ever two lanes in each direction throughout its length in Wheeling, or were the one-lane chokedown sections there from the beginning?

I don't know for sure, my best guess says that it was originally 2 through lanes. There are what appear to be full-width lanes lanes present in both directions, just striped out. I doubt the roadway would have been built that wide if it wasn't intended to have been a lane. Note that the Fort Henry Bridge and bridges immediately east of the tunnel lack full width shoulders, so it's not a case where the corridor has those and they were kept for consistency.
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Tom958

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Re: I-70 and US 250 in Wheeling
« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2020, 05:12:55 PM »

Also, a simpler question: Was i-70 ever two lanes in each direction throughout its length in Wheeling, or were the one-lane chokedown sections there from the beginning?

I don't know for sure, my best guess says that it was originally 2 through lanes. There are what appear to be full-width lanes present in both directions, just striped out. I doubt the roadway would have been built that wide if it wasn't intended to have been a lane. Note that the Fort Henry Bridge and bridges immediately east of the tunnel lack full width shoulders, so it's not a case where the corridor has those and they were kept for consistency.

My thinking, such as it is, is that if there was a time when there was no access from the US 250 freeway and I-70 to and from the west, then there might've also been no access to and from the east at the western tunnel portal, thereby removing the need for the lane drops while improving capacity and safety through the tunnel until I-470 came online as a reliever. That theory was somewhat bolstered by the fact that, on the C of C map, the ramps at the west tunnel portal are kind of mangled-looking. Of course, the aerials show the ramps completed as they are today, but they could've been blocked off.

Had that been the case, the closed ramps could've been opened with the then-new lane drops when I-470 was opened.
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seicer

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Re: I-70 and US 250 in Wheeling
« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2020, 10:32:47 AM »

If I remember correctly, it was striped for four lanes continuous through the interchange but the non-existent acceleration/deceleration lanes at the tunnel entrance were too dangerous.

 


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