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Regional Boards => Mid-Atlantic => Topic started by: Brandon on May 19, 2020, 05:50:53 PM

Title: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: Brandon on May 19, 2020, 05:50:53 PM
A silly question.  Why does I-64 go so far south between Charleston, WV and Staunton, VA via Beckley, WV and Lexington, VA?  The terrain doesn't seem all that different than if I-64 had just gone directly east of Charleston to Staunton.
Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: sprjus4 on May 19, 2020, 05:54:08 PM
A direct routing between Staunton and Charleston would've required over 160 miles of new terrain construction.

The current routing takes advantage of the diagonal alignments of I-81 and I-77 and only required about 120 miles of new terrain construction in between.

It's longer, but required less construction and took advantage of other interstates where possible.

Beckley is also a larger city for West Virginia standards, and I-64 is able to serve it from the east with the current routing.

Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: hbelkins on May 19, 2020, 07:06:49 PM
If I remember correctly, the section of I-79 east of Charleston wasn't even planned to be part of the original interstate system.

On a family trip to DC, long before I-64 was finished between Beckley and Sam Black Church, and long before the WV Turnpike was widened, we took I-79, the then US 48 and US 40 to I-70. The preferred route from my area of Kentucky to DC back then was to hit I-81 at Abingdon and go all the way to I-66.

I still remember my dad complaining about it taking four hours to drive from White Sulphur Springs to Charleston on what existed of I-64 and US 60 on our way home from a family vacation back in the late 1960s or early 1970s.

The two-hour drive between Beckley and Lexington on I-64 is quite scenic and not heavily traveled.
Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: Alps on May 19, 2020, 07:58:09 PM
I think they did study a more direct alignment once, but as sprjus cites, cost became a factor.
Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: cpzilliacus on May 19, 2020, 11:02:59 PM
If I remember correctly, the section of I-79 east of Charleston wasn't even planned to be part of the original interstate system.

East?  Or North?

On a family trip to DC, long before I-64 was finished between Beckley and Sam Black Church, and long before the WV Turnpike was widened, we took I-79, the then US 48 and US 40 to I-70. The preferred route from my area of Kentucky to DC back then was to hit I-81 at Abingdon and go all the way to I-66.

I still remember my dad complaining about it taking four hours to drive from White Sulphur Springs to Charleston on what existed of I-64 and US 60 on our way home from a family vacation back in the late 1960s or early 1970s.

Yeah, U.S. 60 between Sam Black Church and the edge of Charleston is about 85 miles of hard driving on a twisting road with some steep grades, especially if you are stuck behind many commercial vehicles, as drivers probably were before I-64 was completed between Lexington, Virginia and Beckley, West Virginia.

The two-hour drive between Beckley and Lexington on I-64 is quite scenic and not heavily traveled.

Agreed.

I was surprised by how few heavy commercial vehicles were on that segment of the system.   I would think that there were would be at least some commercial vehicles headed to and from the Ports of Virginia around Hampton Roads, and some of that traffic would use I-64 from states like West Virginia, Kentucky and Indiana.  Or are all of the trucks going to the Virginia Inland Port in Front Royal instead?
Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: Roadgeekteen on May 19, 2020, 11:39:43 PM
I don't think that anywhere along a direct route matches the size of Covington or White Sulfur Springs. Also it follows US 60.
Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: amroad17 on May 20, 2020, 02:50:31 AM
Like Roadgeekteen said: I-64 was originally designed to follow US 60 from Lexington to Louisville.

The reason it was only completed to Sam Black Church by 1973 was that WV was debating whether to continue to follow the mountainous 85 miles of US 60 to Charleston or consider a shorter 33-36 mile* new terrain route straight west to Beckley.  As we know, the shorter route was chosen--although it did not fully open until 1988.

One way I-64 could have been routed to Staunton on more of a "straight" line would be to follow current I-79 to Sutton, follow current WV 15 east, passing US 219, have new terrain routing to US 250 in Durbin, then (sort of) follow US 250 to Staunton where it would pick up current I-64 at I-81's Exit 221.  OF course, this would require 160 miles of new highway through very mountainous areas.  Big time costs.  Plus, no decent sized cities/towns along that way (except Monterey, maybe).  The path chosen was the correct one--even with dealing with Sandstone Mountain (7% grade) in a commercial vehicle.

*- I am not sure if the section of I-64 from the WV Turnpike to the Joe L. Smith Drive interchange was complete before the rest of I-64 was started or if the I-64 project was from the Turnpike to Sam Black Church.  The first time I drove around Beckley was 1994.  Someone like HB Elkins, Beltway, or the gentlemen from the Va. Highways Project may know.
Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: wriddle082 on May 20, 2020, 07:28:02 AM
Like Roadgeekteen said: I-64 was originally designed to follow US 60 from Lexington to Louisville.

The reason it was only completed to Sam Black Church by 1973 was that WV was debating whether to continue to follow the mountainous 85 miles of US 60 to Charleston or consider a shorter 33-36 mile* new terrain route straight west to Beckley.  As we know, the shorter route was chosen--although it did not fully open until 1988.

One way I-64 could have been routed to Staunton on more of a "straight" line would be to follow current I-79 to Sutton, follow current WV 15 east, passing US 219, have new terrain routing to US 250 in Durbin, then (sort of) follow US 250 to Staunton where it would pick up current I-64 at I-81's Exit 221.  OF course, this would require 160 miles of new highway through very mountainous areas.  Big time costs.  Plus, no decent sized cities/towns along that way (except Monterey, maybe).  The path chosen was the correct one--even with dealing with Sandstone Mountain (7% grade) in a commercial vehicle.

*- I am not sure if the section of I-64 from the WV Turnpike to the Joe L. Smith Drive interchange was complete before the rest of I-64 was started or if the I-64 project was from the Turnpike to Sam Black Church.  The first time I drove around Beckley was 1994.  Someone like HB Elkins, Beltway, or the gentlemen from the Va. Highways Project may know.

Iím fairly certain that all of I-64 from the Turnpike to Sam Black Church opened at the same time.

Also, itís possible that the Feds did not want a more direct route like you have described between Sutton and Staunton because it would pass too close to the National Radio Astronomy Observatory.  It has a 100-mile radius ďquiet zoneĒ.
Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: VTGoose on May 20, 2020, 09:08:24 AM
A silly question.  Why does I-64 go so far south between Charleston, WV and Staunton, VA via Beckley, WV and Lexington, VA?  The terrain doesn't seem all that different than if I-64 had just gone directly east of Charleston to Staunton.

Going in the other direction, the Lexington/Beckley routing would be just fine had Lynchburg not lost to Charlottesville in the routing of I-64 across Virginia. Southwest Virginia would also have come out ahead with a shorter trip to Richmond via interstate that passed Lynchburg.

Bruce in Blacksburg
 
Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: sprjus4 on May 20, 2020, 09:24:29 AM
A silly question.  Why does I-64 go so far south between Charleston, WV and Staunton, VA via Beckley, WV and Lexington, VA?  The terrain doesn't seem all that different than if I-64 had just gone directly east of Charleston to Staunton.

Going in the other direction, the Lexington/Beckley routing would be just fine had Lynchburg not lost to Charlottesville in the routing of I-64 across Virginia. Southwest Virginia would also have come out ahead with a shorter trip to Richmond via interstate that passed Lynchburg.

Bruce in Blacksburg
An interstate through Lynchburg would've eliminated the I-64 East to I-81 North (and vice versa) and I-64 West to I-81 North (and vice versa) connections though as it would've followed US-220 down to near Roanoke, then the US-460 / US-360 corridor eastward.

A US-60 routing would be roughly the same distance as the current US-250 routing is.
Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: Brandon on May 20, 2020, 09:42:55 AM
A silly question.  Why does I-64 go so far south between Charleston, WV and Staunton, VA via Beckley, WV and Lexington, VA?  The terrain doesn't seem all that different than if I-64 had just gone directly east of Charleston to Staunton.

Going in the other direction, the Lexington/Beckley routing would be just fine had Lynchburg not lost to Charlottesville in the routing of I-64 across Virginia. Southwest Virginia would also have come out ahead with a shorter trip to Richmond via interstate that passed Lynchburg.

Bruce in Blacksburg

Then maybe my question is a bit off, and should be: Why was the Charlottesville route chosen instead of a route via Lynchburg?  University of Virginia, perhaps?
Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: sprjus4 on May 20, 2020, 09:46:38 AM
From Roads to the Future (http://www.roadstothefuture.com/I64_VA_Desc.html)...
Quote
There was a controversy in the early years of the Interstate highway system, over the location of I-64 between Clifton Forge and Richmond. Cities along a proposed northern route wanted the Interstate to go there, and cities along a proposed southern route wanted the Interstate to go there. The proposed southern route called for the Interstate to follow from Richmond via US-360 and US-460, via Lynchburg to Roanoke and US-220 from Roanoke to Clifton Forge, then west following US-60 into West Virginia. The northern route paralleled US-250 from Richmond to Staunton and then US-11 from Staunton to Lexington, then US-60 from Lexington to Clifton Forge and the West Virginia line. The initial 1957 recommendation by a state-retained engineering consultant was for the northern route, and in 1959 the state actually did change the location to the southern route, but in 1961 the federal government overturned that in favor of the northern route. This controversy began in 1957 and was not fully resolved until 1963. The northern route was chosen in 1961, and a smaller controversy over routing the highway either just north of Charlottesville of just south of Charlottesville, was not resolved until 1963. See: Charlottesville won, and Lynchburg lost / Routing of I-64 was major tussle, by Richmond Times-Dispatch, 1999. Here is a map from a 1961 VDH I-64 Location Study, from Non-Indiana Highway Materials of Northwest Indiana Highways.
(http://web.archive.org/web/20040207012602/http://www.roadstothefuture.com/i64vastudy_files/i64vastudy.JPG)
(http://web.archive.org/web/20040207012602/http://www.roadstothefuture.com/i64vastudy_files/i64vastudyw.JPG)
Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: Brandon on May 20, 2020, 10:06:07 AM
^^ The southern route would've, IMHO, been better as it serves Roanoke and Lynchburg, both larger cities, respectively, than Staunton and Charlottesville.
Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: Mapmikey on May 20, 2020, 10:06:57 AM


Then maybe my question is a bit off, and should be: Why was the Charlottesville route chosen instead of a route via Lynchburg?  University of Virginia, perhaps?

The Bureau of Public Roads forced the northern route out of Richmond.  The CTB repeatedly voted for the southern route and fought the BPR decision before finally giving up.

Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: sprjus4 on May 20, 2020, 10:43:37 AM


Then maybe my question is a bit off, and should be: Why was the Charlottesville route chosen instead of a route via Lynchburg?  University of Virginia, perhaps?

The Bureau of Public Roads forced the northern route out of Richmond.  The CTB repeatedly voted for the southern route and fought the BPR decision before finally giving up.
Is it because the northern route had significantly less new terrain mileage to be constructed?
Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: hbelkins on May 20, 2020, 10:49:04 AM
If I remember correctly, the section of I-79 east of Charleston wasn't even planned to be part of the original interstate system.

East?  Or North?

The signs say north, but you're really going east from Charleston to the Sutton vicinity. The route is pretty curvy, but as much as I've traveled it, I've noted that there's a location where it becomes pretty obvious when the direction of travel changes from a mainly E-W orientation to a mainly N-S orientation. Once you identify the location on a map and correlate it with the location on the roadway as you travel, it's readily apparent.

https://goo.gl/maps/8anHGWpxgDgTx3t3A

(I really wish this forum had the ability to embed a map using the code Google Maps offers as displayed below...)

<iframe src="https://www.google.com/maps/embed?pb=!1m14!1m12!1m3!1d49866.71440102161!2d-80.77414909473686!3d38.63348014331229!2m3!1f0!2f0!3f0!3m2!1i1024!2i768!4f13.1!5e0!3m2!1sen!2sus!4v1589986033770!5m2!1sen!2sus" width="600" height="450" frameborder="0" style="border:0;" allowfullscreen="" aria-hidden="false" tabindex="0"></iframe>
Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: Roadgeekteen on May 20, 2020, 10:57:01 AM


Then maybe my question is a bit off, and should be: Why was the Charlottesville route chosen instead of a route via Lynchburg?  University of Virginia, perhaps?

The Bureau of Public Roads forced the northern route out of Richmond.  The CTB repeatedly voted for the southern route and fought the BPR decision before finally giving up.
Is it because the northern route had significantly less new terrain mileage to be constructed?
Probably, as the northern route can use parts of I-81.
Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: Mapmikey on May 20, 2020, 11:58:32 AM


Then maybe my question is a bit off, and should be: Why was the Charlottesville route chosen instead of a route via Lynchburg?  University of Virginia, perhaps?

The Bureau of Public Roads forced the northern route out of Richmond.  The CTB repeatedly voted for the southern route and fought the BPR decision before finally giving up.
Is it because the northern route had significantly less new terrain mileage to be constructed?

The CTB said the BPR provided "insufficient reasons" but didn't say what they were...

See pdf pg 14 at http://www.ctb.virginia.gov/meetings/minutes_pdf/CTB-03-1961-01.pdf
Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: Alps on May 20, 2020, 01:41:46 PM
^^ The southern route would've, IMHO, been better as it serves Roanoke and Lynchburg, both larger cities, respectively, than Staunton and Charlottesville.
Served-ish Roanoke. It's also a less intuitive routing overall and had more new-mileage construction. A straight line from Lynchburg to Lexington would have been nice to see as an alternative.
Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: cpzilliacus on May 20, 2020, 07:05:43 PM
If I remember correctly, the section of I-79 east of Charleston wasn't even planned to be part of the original interstate system.

East?  Or North?

The signs say north, but you're really going east from Charleston to the Sutton vicinity. The route is pretty curvy, but as much as I've traveled it, I've noted that there's a location where it becomes pretty obvious when the direction of travel changes from a mainly E-W orientation to a mainly N-S orientation. Once you identify the location on a map and correlate it with the location on the roadway as you travel, it's readily apparent.

https://goo.gl/maps/8anHGWpxgDgTx3t3A

That makes sense.  A miniature version of I-85 in much of North Carolina, where this (in theory) N-S corridor is running E-W.


(I really wish this forum had the ability to embed a map using the code Google Maps offers as displayed below...)

<iframe src="https://www.google.com/maps/embed?pb=!1m14!1m12!1m3!1d49866.71440102161!2d-80.77414909473686!3d38.63348014331229!2m3!1f0!2f0!3f0!3m2!1i1024!2i768!4f13.1!5e0!3m2!1sen!2sus!4v1589986033770!5m2!1sen!2sus" width="600" height="450" frameborder="0" style="border:0;" allowfullscreen="" aria-hidden="false" tabindex="0"></iframe>

Not sure what is involved in implementing that.
Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: 1 on May 20, 2020, 07:27:43 PM

(I really wish this forum had the ability to embed a map using the code Google Maps offers as displayed below...)

<iframe src="https://www.google.com/maps/embed?pb=!1m14!1m12!1m3!1d49866.71440102161!2d-80.77414909473686!3d38.63348014331229!2m3!1f0!2f0!3f0!3m2!1i1024!2i768!4f13.1!5e0!3m2!1sen!2sus!4v1589986033770!5m2!1sen!2sus" width="600" height="450" frameborder="0" style="border:0;" allowfullscreen="" aria-hidden="false" tabindex="0"></iframe>

Not sure what is involved in implementing that.

There used to be a way to do it with Google APIs, but it stopped working when the APIs stopped being free.
Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: VTGoose on May 21, 2020, 10:14:34 AM

An interstate through Lynchburg would've eliminated the I-64 East to I-81 North (and vice versa) and I-64 West to I-81 North (and vice versa) connections though as it would've followed US-220 down to near Roanoke, then the US-460 / US-360 corridor eastward.

A US-60 routing would be roughly the same distance as the current US-250 routing is.

It's not so much distance as it is travel time. Taking U.S. 460 to Lynchburg and beyond, then U.S. 360 into Richmond involves a number of locations with traffic lights, lower speed limits, and traffic that increase travel time. A limited-access highway all the way between I-81 (somewhere between Troutville and Lexington) and Richmond would decrease travel time.
Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: VTGoose on May 21, 2020, 10:16:12 AM

Then maybe my question is a bit off, and should be: Why was the Charlottesville route chosen instead of a route via Lynchburg?  University of Virginia, perhaps?

Not sure, but the routing gave rise to simple directions from Blacksburg (Virginia Tech) to Whooville: "North until you smell it, then east until you step in it."  :-D
Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: 1995hoo on May 21, 2020, 10:22:02 AM

Then maybe my question is a bit off, and should be: Why was the Charlottesville route chosen instead of a route via Lynchburg?  University of Virginia, perhaps?

Not sure, but the routing gave rise to simple directions from Blacksburg (Virginia Tech) to Whooville: "North until you smell it, then east until you step in it."  :-D


I had always heard that to get to VPIówhich, of course, was founded as an agricultural institution named Virginia A&Móyou go south on I-81 until you smell it, then north until you step in it.

Setting that aside, it is pretty damn interesting that the most direct exit to UVA from I-64 is Exit 118B (to US-29) and the most direct exit to VPI from I-81 is also Exit 118B (to US-460). That is one of the more bizarre coincidences I've ever seen.
Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: sprjus4 on May 21, 2020, 10:23:54 AM

An interstate through Lynchburg would've eliminated the I-64 East to I-81 North (and vice versa) and I-64 West to I-81 North (and vice versa) connections though as it would've followed US-220 down to near Roanoke, then the US-460 / US-360 corridor eastward.

A US-60 routing would be roughly the same distance as the current US-250 routing is.

It's not so much distance as it is travel time. Taking U.S. 460 to Lynchburg and beyond, then U.S. 360 into Richmond involves a number of locations with traffic lights, lower speed limits, and traffic that increase travel time. A limited-access highway all the way between I-81 (somewhere between Troutville and Lexington) and Richmond would decrease travel time.
A limited-access highway along US-460 with a posted speed limit of 70 mph between I-81 north of Roanoke and the VA-288 beltway would decrease about 30 minutes of travel time off of the US-460 routing, resulting in being about 10 to 15 minutes faster than present-day I-64.

It would, however, eliminate connections from I-64 West to I-81 North, and I-64 East to I-81 North that would have to be handled by arterial corridors.

Charlottesville and Lynchburg would switch roles, with Lynchburg being on an east-west interstate highway and Charlottesville with none. There would likely be more support for a US-29 freeway upgrade near Charlottesville since they would have no access, unlike today where they don't seem to care for anything besides I-64, opposing and rejecting any US-29 freeway concept, whereas Lynchburg on a southern I-64 may not have as much support for a north-south freeway, unlike today where they have supported a US-29 freeway concept from Lynchburg to North Carolina, and had little opposition to the 2005 Madison Heights Bypass.

If a US-460 routing was chosen for I-64, US-250 would've likely been dualized to a non-limited-access 4 lane highway in the manner that US-460 and US-360 were throughout the 1960s and 1970s, with freeway bypasses near Charlottesville and Waynesboro (or rather a traffic light infested bypass near Waynesboro, and either a substandard 55 mph (like US-29) freeway near Charlottesville, or higher quality 65 mph freeway (like US-460 near Lynchburg)), a twisty, narrow typical Virginia 4 lane through Afton Mountain, and a toll road / freeway built out to at least Short Pump in the manner that the Powhite Pkwy was.
Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: cpzilliacus on May 21, 2020, 11:16:27 AM
There would likely be more support for a US-29 freeway upgrade near Charlottesville since they would have no access, unlike today where they don't seem to care for anything besides I-64, opposing and rejecting any US-29 freeway concept, whereas Lynchburg on a southern I-64 may not have as much support for a north-south freeway, unlike today where they have supported a US-29 freeway concept from Lynchburg to North Carolina, and had little opposition to the 2005 Madison Heights Bypass.

IIRC, a lot of the opposition to U.S. 29 improvements near Charlottesville was egged-on and encouraged by the Piedmont Environmental Council, which as a matter of routine has opposed most highway improvements in its self-proclaimed "service area" and nearby jurisdictions.
Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: Jmiles32 on May 21, 2020, 09:48:21 PM

A limited-access highway along US-460 with a posted speed limit of 70 mph between I-81 north of Roanoke and the VA-288 beltway would decrease about 30 minutes of travel time off of the US-460 routing, resulting in being about 10 to 15 minutes faster than present-day I-64.

It would, however, eliminate connections from I-64 West to I-81 North, and I-64 East to I-81 North that would have to be handled by arterial corridors.

Was a potential southern I-64 route largely following US-501 from Lynchburg to Lexington ever considered? This to me would seemingly be more direct and less out of the way than following US-220 between Roanoke-ish and Clifton Forge and still serve populated areas such as Lynchburg, Appomattox, and Farmville. Obviously, the mountainous terrain US-501 goes through may have been an issue, however, with the James River nearby there may have been enough room to make it work. A short concurrency with I-81 south from Lexington to just north of Natural Bridge theoretically could have saved enough money to potentially build a more direct tunnel or two to bypass some of the more windy stretches of US-501. Would also largely keep intact the current I-64 west/east to I-81 north connections.

If a US-460 routing was chosen for I-64, US-250 would've likely been dualized to a non-limited-access 4 lane highway in the manner that US-460 and US-360 were throughout the 1960s and 1970s, with freeway bypasses near Charlottesville and Waynesboro (or rather a traffic light infested bypass near Waynesboro, and either a substandard 55 mph (like US-29) freeway near Charlottesville, or higher quality 65 mph freeway (like US-460 near Lynchburg)), a twisty, narrow typical Virginia 4 lane through Afton Mountain, and a toll road / freeway built out to at least Short Pump in the manner that the Powhite Pkwy was.

I wonder that if without I-64, US-250's crossing of Afton Mountain would have been upgraded/ built any differently than that of its current setup (two lanes going up, one lane going down).
Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: sprjus4 on May 21, 2020, 09:52:25 PM
I wonder that if without I-64, US-250's crossing of Afton Mountain would have been upgraded/ built any differently than that of its current setup (two lanes going up, one lane going down).
Given VDOT dualized many arterial corridors not on interstate corridors to provide 4 lanes of traffic throughout the 1960s and 1970s, a parallel carriageway wouldíve likely been built with the existing road being converted to one-way without much modification.
Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: sprjus4 on May 21, 2020, 09:55:47 PM
Would also largely keep intact the current I-64 west/east to I-81 north connections.
Yes, but then it would eliminate the more important I-64 West to I-81 South connection. That connection today provides access from the I-81 corridor heading to/from the southwest to I-64 bound to Richmond and Hampton Roads.

With I-64 intersecting I-81 the way it does in both places today, it maximizes the connections between I-81 and I-64, only leaving out the least important I-64 East to I-81 South movement that is covered by US-220.
Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: Jmiles32 on May 21, 2020, 10:27:08 PM
Would also largely keep intact the current I-64 west/east to I-81 north connections.
Yes, but then it would eliminate the more important I-64 West to I-81 South connection. That connection today provides access from the I-81 corridor heading to/from the southwest to I-64 bound to Richmond and Hampton Roads.

With I-64 intersecting I-81 the way it does in both places today, it maximizes the connections between I-81 and I-64, only leaving out the least important I-64 East to I-81 South movement that is covered by US-220.

Solid point. However, it would be interesting to see that if I-64 was built following this US-501 route and US-460 was kept the way it was, exactly how many drivers would still use it for I-64 west to I-81 south movements. A rough estimate using google maps currently shows that Lynchburg to Roanoke via Natural Bridge (US-501 and I-81) is only about 20ish miles longer than via US-460. A higher speed limit and some more direct routing and tunnels via the Natural bridge route could theoretically shave down this millage difference and potentially make the time difference very close too. Essentially, upon closer examination, I don't think this currently less direct I-64 west to I-81 south route would have necessarily been a deal-breaker.

I do, however, agree that the current I-64 route was definitely the best choice in terms of maximizing connections.
Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: VTGoose on May 22, 2020, 08:45:14 AM
Would also largely keep intact the current I-64 west/east to I-81 north connections.
Yes, but then it would eliminate the more important I-64 West to I-81 South connection. That connection today provides access from the I-81 corridor heading to/from the southwest to I-64 bound to Richmond and Hampton Roads.

With I-64 intersecting I-81 the way it does in both places today, it maximizes the connections between I-81 and I-64, only leaving out the least important I-64 East to I-81 South movement that is covered by US-220.

If I-64 had been put on the southern route, it would still intersect with I-81, somewhere between Troutville and Lexington. There may not have been as much overlap (or none, if it followed the U.S. 220 corridor to Clifton Forge) but it would eliminate the current situation for anyone from Roanoke and beyond of having to drive north to Staunton, then southeast to Richmond.
Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: sprjus4 on May 22, 2020, 08:55:35 AM
Would also largely keep intact the current I-64 west/east to I-81 north connections.
Yes, but then it would eliminate the more important I-64 West to I-81 South connection. That connection today provides access from the I-81 corridor heading to/from the southwest to I-64 bound to Richmond and Hampton Roads.

With I-64 intersecting I-81 the way it does in both places today, it maximizes the connections between I-81 and I-64, only leaving out the least important I-64 East to I-81 South movement that is covered by US-220.

If I-64 had been put on the southern route, it would still intersect with I-81, somewhere between Troutville and Lexington. There may not have been as much overlap (or none, if it followed the U.S. 220 corridor to Clifton Forge) but it would eliminate the current situation for anyone from Roanoke and beyond of having to drive north to Staunton, then southeast to Richmond.
It would intersect with I-81, but it would become out of the way for traffic from I-64 East to I-81 North, eliminating the ability to adequately provide that connection.

The current northern routing wouldíve only been reduced by 10 or 15 minutes if it was built along US-220 and US-460, and wouldíve added significant new construction mileage.

I-64 still provides the most direct, fastest connection from the I-81 corridor and points southwest into Tennessee along I-40 and further south from I-75 bound to Richmond and Hampton Roads.

US-58 and US-460 provide alternate arterial corridors that provide shorter mileage, but are slower overall with lower speed limits, traffic signals, developed areas, etc despite having 4 lanes and bypassing most towns.
Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: sparker on May 22, 2020, 12:24:47 PM
Question to those who may know:  Was there ever any thought given to simply extending I-64 over US 60 between I-81 and Richmond?  Obviously, it wouldn't have served any significant interim city, but it would have been the most direct path between the two endpoints.  My initial guess is that VA never even submitted this route, preferring to engage, for internal political reasons, in the "shootout" between advocates of the two paths that did end up as "finalists"!
Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: sprjus4 on May 22, 2020, 12:46:04 PM
Question to those who may know:  Was there ever any thought given to simply extending I-64 over US 60 between I-81 and Richmond?  Obviously, it wouldn't have served any significant interim city, but it would have been the most direct path between the two endpoints.  My initial guess is that VA never even submitted this route, preferring to engage, for internal political reasons, in the "shootout" between advocates of the two paths that did end up as "finalists"!
If it did follow the US-60 corridor, it could've routed about 10 miles south of the existing US-60 near Amherst, and served the city of Lynchburg.
Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: sparker on May 22, 2020, 10:14:16 PM
Question to those who may know:  Was there ever any thought given to simply extending I-64 over US 60 between I-81 and Richmond?  Obviously, it wouldn't have served any significant interim city, but it would have been the most direct path between the two endpoints.  My initial guess is that VA never even submitted this route, preferring to engage, for internal political reasons, in the "shootout" between advocates of the two paths that did end up as "finalists"!
If it did follow the US-60 corridor, it could've routed about 10 miles south of the existing US-60 near Amherst, and served the city of Lynchburg.

Or -- a short spur down US 29 or nearby could have served the city. 
Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: sprjus4 on May 22, 2020, 10:18:23 PM
Question to those who may know:  Was there ever any thought given to simply extending I-64 over US 60 between I-81 and Richmond?  Obviously, it wouldn't have served any significant interim city, but it would have been the most direct path between the two endpoints.  My initial guess is that VA never even submitted this route, preferring to engage, for internal political reasons, in the "shootout" between advocates of the two paths that did end up as "finalists"!
If it did follow the US-60 corridor, it could've routed about 10 miles south of the existing US-60 near Amherst, and served the city of Lynchburg.

Or -- a short spur down US 29 or nearby could have served the city.
That also, though there would've likely been some push to get the main interstate as close as possible to the city.
Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: froggie on May 22, 2020, 11:41:02 PM
Topography in the US 60 area over the Blue Ridge was probably a show-stopper for that, just as the narrowness of the gap US 501 takes through the Blue Ridge would have made a routing there problematic.

US 460 has perhaps the easiest path through the Blue Ridge...an Interstate route through that corridor wouldn't have had many topography issues.  Afton Mountain (US 250) was no picnic, but not nearly as bad as US 60 or US 501.
Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: sparker on May 23, 2020, 02:02:44 AM
Topography in the US 60 area over the Blue Ridge was probably a show-stopper for that, just as the narrowness of the gap US 501 takes through the Blue Ridge would have made a routing there problematic.

US 460 has perhaps the easiest path through the Blue Ridge...an Interstate route through that corridor wouldn't have had many topography issues.  Afton Mountain (US 250) was no picnic, but not nearly as bad as US 60 or US 501.

That actually makes sense.  US 501 through the James River gap between Lynchburg and Glasgow is shared with the main CSX (ex-Chesapeake & Ohio) coal-conduit line; there's little or no room for any facility expansion there.  The only other places south of Front Royal where a railroad line crossed were at Afton, Blue Ridge, and Vinton (SE of Roanoke) where the old C & O passenger line, the Norfolk & Western (now NS), and the Virginian rail lines respectively surmounted the ridge.   Those grades were staked out by the various railroad companies in the 19th and early 20th centuries as reasonably efficient crossings; it's no wonder that they also became the original potential Interstate routes.  The approaches to Afton are a bit steep, but it's a straightforward up-one-side-and-down-the-other situation; but the steepness meant that lighter trains such as passenger service and short fast freights were appropriate for the approximately 2.05% grade westbound up the hill (EB it was more like 1.8%).  Heavy coal drags were relegated to the line alongside the James River, which was the only river emptying into the Atlantic watershed that actually cut through the Blue Ridge.  Eastbound trains there essentially ran downhill all the way from Iron Gate to Richmond on a very gentle gradient -- although following every curve of the river made that route about 70% longer than the Afton-Charlottesville route -- but any time losses via that line were offset by considerably lowered fuel use -- a tradeoff the regional railroads, with their sheer volume of coal movement, were more than willing to make.  Both the N & W and Virginian lines made use of the broad "saddle" across the Blue Ridge east of Roanoke, probably the most natural location to locate facilities intended to function as a virtual coal conveyor belt to the export facilities in Hampton Roads.   
Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: Mapmikey on May 23, 2020, 09:09:44 AM
FWIW, the initial interstate corridor assignments in Sept 1945 had I-64 following US 250 to Staunton, then US 11 to Lexington and US 60 to West Virginia.

See pdf page 12 at http://www.ctb.virginia.gov/meetings/minutes_pdf/CTB-09-1945-01.pdf

Also of note in the 1945 designations besides US 13 being approved by CTB as one is that I-66 was originally supposed to follow US 211 and there was no I-95 corridor south of Petersburg as US 1 was assigned border to border.

Also of note is that the southern route via Lynchburg was not on the table at all until late 1957 or early 1958.  Pdf pages 19-23 of http://www.ctb.virginia.gov/meetings/minutes_pdf/CTB-04-1958-01.pdf have a lengthy discussion on Virginia's interstates including the first assignment of the 2di numbers (where I-79 first showed up) and assignment without number of the 3dis.  The Southern route was an idea of area citizens and not VDOH or the CTB.

I agree that topography made the US 250 and US 460 crossings the only truly viable ones (The I-66 reroute was described in the 1958 minutes cited above as being for both ease of grade and shorter distance).  The US 60 crossing itself was barely 10 years old in 1945 as the original route used by VA 13 was further north at FR 76s crossing (originally US 60 used US 501's crossing).
Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: cpzilliacus on May 25, 2020, 04:49:18 AM
Heavy coal drags were relegated to the line alongside the James River, which was the only river emptying into the Atlantic watershed that actually cut through the Blue Ridge.

That's not correct.  Admittedly well to the north of the James River, the Baltimore and Ohio (CSX now) went through the Blue Ridge at Harpers Ferry, Virginia (now West Virginia) at the gap that the Potomac River cut in the Blue Ridge (the range extends north into southern Pennsylvania, coming to an end near Dillsburg).
Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: sparker on May 25, 2020, 06:03:38 PM
Heavy coal drags were relegated to the line alongside the James River, which was the only river emptying into the Atlantic watershed that actually cut through the Blue Ridge.

That's not correct.  Admittedly well to the north of the James River, the Baltimore and Ohio (CSX now) went through the Blue Ridge at Harpers Ferry, Virginia (now West Virginia) at the gap that the Potomac River cut in the Blue Ridge (the range extends north into southern Pennsylvania, coming to and end near Dillsburg).

Sorry -- forgot that the Blue Ridge technically extends into PA (and includes Camp David in MD), although very few commercial maps indicate that north of Front Royal;  USGS and Forest Service maps would, of course, be the exceptions.  That being said, what I had in mind as an indicator for this particular topic were the coal-ferrying tracks that served the Hampton Roads tidewater rather than ports outside the state of VA.   
Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: cpzilliacus on May 25, 2020, 11:18:07 PM
Sorry -- forgot that the Blue Ridge technically extends into PA (and includes Camp David in MD), although very few commercial maps indicate that north of Front Royal;  USGS and Forest Service maps would, of course, be the exceptions.  That being said, what I had in mind as an indicator for this particular topic were the coal-ferrying tracks that served the Hampton Roads tidewater rather than ports outside the state of VA.

The Port of Baltimore has long been a major export point for coal mined in the U.S. (maybe not larger than Hampton Roads, which once had three railroads transporting to coal to dockside for export (N&W, C&O and Virginian) but Baltimore did have B&O and Western Maryland hauling coal to be shipped out (these days the port is served by CSX and NS, not sure if NS transports coal to Baltimore).

Not sure where the coal exported from Baltimore comes from these days but there is still much of it to be seen along I-895 near the northern portal to the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel and near the I-95 northern portal to the Fort McHenry Tunnel (not really that visible from I-95) here (https://www.google.com/maps/place/Canton,+Baltimore,+MD/@39.2620795,-76.5691259,1094m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x89c8038a31c715cd:0xb12e3d38582f6f20!8m2!3d39.2821834!4d-76.5762756).

Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: Black-Man on June 06, 2020, 10:05:40 PM
I can't believe no one has mentioned the political implications. I-79/I-64 were a package deal. It was initially decided I-79 would go south to Beckley, I-64 would follow the alignment of US60 to Charleston. When it was decided I-79 was going to Charleston instead, the southern WV politicians had a fit and Arch Moore (needing support as he was a (R) in a (D) state) compromised with I-64 to Beckley and Corridor L being constructed on the former I-79 alignment. The initial I-64 alignment chosen was more southerly towards Shady Spring and eliminated the Glade Creek and Piney Creek gorge bridges and hence cheaper to construct. Once again, politics stepped in (by this time Rockefeller's decision) and the alignment was changed to provide direct access to Beckley from I-64.

Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: vdeane on June 06, 2020, 10:23:39 PM
Interesting.  I wonder why I-79 was moved.  While it certainly served to make Charleston a hub on the interstate system, it meant that traffic from Pittsburgh north heading further south of Morgantown would need to take Corridor L instead of remaining on the interstate (which takes more than half an hour longer).  Meanwhile, it only saves about 15 minutes for traffic between Charleston and Pittsburgh, and made I-64 less efficient as well.  It would seem that the original routes would have been better for the interstate system as a whole.
Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: sprjus4 on June 06, 2020, 11:21:54 PM
I wonder why I-79 was moved.
Another textbook example of politics gaining more leverage than common sense.
Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: Roadgeekteen on June 06, 2020, 11:23:39 PM
I wonder why I-79 was moved.
Another textbook example of politics gaining more leverage than common sense.
I feel like Charleston is important enough, being the state capital, to justify a connection to the northeast. Really routing it to Beckley only really benefits long distance travel, not sure if WV would be to excited to build that.
Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: Alps on June 07, 2020, 01:47:32 AM
I wonder why I-79 was moved.
Another textbook example of politics gaining more leverage than common sense.
I feel like Charleston is important enough, being the state capital, to justify a connection to the northeast. Really routing it to Beckley only really benefits long distance travel, not sure if WV would be to excited to build that.
I'm not convinced I-64 would have been built along US 60 regardless. Its routing toward Beckley puts travelers onto the WV Turnpike for more revenue. Similarly, I-79 to Charleston puts that traffic on the WV Tpk. instead of on a free route along US 19. (Some use 19 anyway, of course.) But that may have been a factor.
Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: sparker on June 07, 2020, 02:26:34 AM
I wonder why I-79 was moved.
Another textbook example of politics gaining more leverage than common sense.
I feel like Charleston is important enough, being the state capital, to justify a connection to the northeast. Really routing it to Beckley only really benefits long distance travel, not sure if WV would be to excited to build that.
I'm not convinced I-64 would have been built along US 60 regardless. Its routing toward Beckley puts travelers onto the WV Turnpike for more revenue. Similarly, I-79 to Charleston puts that traffic on the WV Tpk. instead of on a free route along US 19. (Some use 19 anyway, of course.) But that may have been a factor.

Aside from the Summersville speed trap (its reputation fortunately preceded my first trip through there), Corridor "L"/US 19 is a far more scenic way to effect a N-S trip through the area -- for the New River bridge if nothing else.  And it does save about 20-25 minutes (even with the necessary slowdowns) over a I-79/77 routing.   But our fearless mod is probably not too far off with the assumption that one of the purposes of the various reroutings were to funnel traffic to as much of the turnpike as possible while fulfilling political debts.  It'll be interesting to watch what happens when & if the Coalfields (US 121) expressway is completed west of Beckley -- to see if at even such a late date there might be renewed interest in Corridor "L" as part of a continuous corridor from I-79 near Sutton to the US 23 (and I-26 farther south) corridors in far western Virginia -- maybe some upgrades (grade separations for town bypasses) would be considered. 
Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: amroad17 on June 07, 2020, 07:13:57 AM
I can't believe no one has mentioned the political implications. I-79/I-64 were a package deal. It was initially decided I-79 would go south to Beckley, I-64 would follow the alignment of US60 to Charleston. When it was decided I-79 was going to Charleston instead, the southern WV politicians had a fit and Arch Moore (needing support as he was a (R) in a (D) state) compromised with I-64 to Beckley and Corridor L being constructed on the former I-79 alignment. The initial I-64 alignment chosen was more southerly towards Shady Spring and eliminated the Glade Creek and Piney Creek gorge bridges and hence cheaper to construct. Once again, politics stepped in (by this time Rockefeller's decision) and the alignment was changed to provide direct access to Beckley from I-64.
Is this why the WV Turnpike's median is fairly wide west of Shady Spring (possible I-64 connection) or is it this way because this was how the upgrade of the Turnpike was planned?
Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: vdeane on June 07, 2020, 09:56:09 PM
I wonder why I-79 was moved.
Another textbook example of politics gaining more leverage than common sense.
I feel like Charleston is important enough, being the state capital, to justify a connection to the northeast. Really routing it to Beckley only really benefits long distance travel, not sure if WV would be to excited to build that.
I feel like the amount the long-distance traffic is getting screwed outweighs the marginal benefit local traffic has for taking I-79 over I-77/I-70.  Had I-79 been built to Beckley, I doubt people would be thinking much about "I really wish there was a direct interstate from Charleston to Morgantown", but the current situation leaves a very obvious Corridor L-shaped gap in the interstate system.
Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: hbelkins on June 07, 2020, 11:35:08 PM
I can't believe no one has mentioned the political implications. I-79/I-64 were a package deal. It was initially decided I-79 would go south to Beckley, I-64 would follow the alignment of US60 to Charleston. When it was decided I-79 was going to Charleston instead, the southern WV politicians had a fit and Arch Moore (needing support as he was a (R) in a (D) state) compromised with I-64 to Beckley and Corridor L being constructed on the former I-79 alignment. The initial I-64 alignment chosen was more southerly towards Shady Spring and eliminated the Glade Creek and Piney Creek gorge bridges and hence cheaper to construct. Once again, politics stepped in (by this time Rockefeller's decision) and the alignment was changed to provide direct access to Beckley from I-64.

Never heard this take before. SP Cook, care to weigh in on this?

I wonder why I-79 was moved.
Another textbook example of politics gaining more leverage than common sense.
I feel like Charleston is important enough, being the state capital, to justify a connection to the northeast. Really routing it to Beckley only really benefits long distance travel, not sure if WV would be to excited to build that.
I feel like the amount the long-distance traffic is getting screwed outweighs the marginal benefit local traffic has for taking I-79 over I-77/I-70.  Had I-79 been built to Beckley, I doubt people would be thinking much about "I really wish there was a direct interstate from Charleston to Morgantown", but the current situation leaves a very obvious Corridor L-shaped gap in the interstate system.

There is very obviously an in-state need for a good connection between the state capital (Charleston) and the second-largest city (Huntington), and the state's large land-grant and research university.
Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: Roadgeekteen on June 08, 2020, 12:38:26 AM
Put it this way: the current I-79 route is better for West Virginia, the corridor L route would be better for the overall system.
Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: sprjus4 on June 08, 2020, 01:27:45 AM
There is very obviously an in-state need for a good connection between the state capital (Charleston) and the second-largest city (Huntington), and the state's large land-grant and research university.
Which would still exist...

I-64.
Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: sprjus4 on June 08, 2020, 01:31:53 AM
IMO, Corridor L or equivalent 4-lane highway should've been built to Charleston and I-79 should've followed current Corridor L down to Beckley.

Both routes carry about 10,000 - 12,000 AADT, and the southern corridor to Beckley has the distinct advantage of serving long-distance traffic.

Long distance traffic from Pittsburgh and points north to I-64 West would simply follow I-70 and I-77 to I-64 at Charleston. Around the same travel time and distance today, obviously I-70 / I-77 would be slightly faster if the connection from I-79 to Charleston was 65 mph divided highway vs. 70 mph I-79.
Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: sparker on June 08, 2020, 01:52:41 AM
One of the things to consider is that regardless of whether I-64 took its originally-planned route following US 60 east from Charleston or the revised southern route via Beckley, there was going to be some hellacious construction in that neck of the woods.  Since the Kanawha and New River canyons host much of the economic drivers in WV, uprooting them with an Interstate facility (not easy, since rail lines flanked both sides of the valleys) would be politically infeasible as well as exceptionally expensive -- so a cut-and-fill alternative through the adjacent hills would have likely been the route of choice.  That -- and the US 60 alignment would have involved about 50% more mileage than the route eventually selected (although some of that would be offset, cost-wise, by the expansion of the WV Turnpike).  Internal WV politics and infighting notwithstanding, the decision to change the I-64 routing was likely informed by a simple criterion -- minimizing both the cost and timeframe required to deploy the connection from I-77 to the VA state line.  Cutting down the aggregate new-terrain mileage via the Beckley option -- and the fact that expansion of the turnpike to accommodate both Interstates could be itself substantially offset by tolls -- would have likely rendered it the final choice.           
Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: VTGoose on June 08, 2020, 09:14:42 AM
There is very obviously an in-state need for a good connection between the state capital (Charleston) and the second-largest city (Huntington), and the state's large land-grant and research university.
Which would still exist...

I-64.

The "state's large land grant and research university" is in Morgantown, with Clarksburg just to the south. Pre-I-79, there was no good way to get from those cities to Charleston, while at least Beckley and Bluefield had "the modern two-lane highway" in the West Virginia Turnpike and I-77 took care of Parkersburg and that part of the state. I-79, even though it was a long time coming, filled the need to improve travel from the northeast/central (actual northeast is the panhandle that now has I-68) to the capital.

Would I-79 to Beckley be a good thing? As someone who traveled between Blacksburg and Pittsburgh from the mid '70s on, it would have been great. At first there were two alternatives to drive -- I-81 to Winchester, U.S. 522 to I-70 and on to the Pennsylvania Turnpike, then west to the 'Burgh or U.S. 460 to the WVA Turnpike to Charleston, I-77 north to I-70 in Ohio, then east to I-79 and home. As I-79 extended further into West Virginia it had potential, but for a while there was no good way to get from its end in the middle of nowhere to Charleston. Even when almost complete, it required using surface roads to get from I-77 to I-79 until that junction was finally completed. Once construction started on U.S. 19 from Sutton, the trip became a little easier (unless one got stuck in the wrong section of two-lane with no passing and slow traffic). It still took some interesting back roads to get from U.S. 60 to Virginia (I tried just about all of them) until the New River Gorge bridge was completed, and even then, it still required travel through Beckley to get to the Turnpike (another project that took a while, completing the short connector from Bradley to the turnpike).

Bruce in Blacksburg (but a native of the 'Burgh)
Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: hbelkins on June 08, 2020, 02:39:12 PM
There is very obviously an in-state need for a good connection between the state capital (Charleston) and the second-largest city (Huntington), and the state's large land-grant and research university.
Which would still exist...

I-64.

I-64 doesn't go to Morgantown. I-79 does. Without I-79, there would be no good way to get from the "Advantage Valley" to WVU.
Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: Alps on June 08, 2020, 06:57:20 PM
There is very obviously an in-state need for a good connection between the state capital (Charleston) and the second-largest city (Huntington), and the state's large land-grant and research university.
Which would still exist...

I-64.

I-64 doesn't go to Morgantown. I-79 does. Without I-79, there would be no good way to get from the "Advantage Valley" to WVU.
You had said Huntington...
Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: froggie on June 08, 2020, 09:47:56 PM
^ You missed the comma.  HB was referring to a good connection from both Huntington and Charleston to Morgantown.
Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: Alps on June 08, 2020, 11:00:14 PM
^ You missed the comma.  HB was referring to a good connection from both Huntington and Charleston to Morgantown.

I clearly wasn't the only one, but there we go, thanks.
Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: CanesFan27 on November 28, 2020, 09:20:39 AM
I can't believe no one has mentioned the political implications. I-79/I-64 were a package deal. It was initially decided I-79 would go south to Beckley, I-64 would follow the alignment of US60 to Charleston. When it was decided I-79 was going to Charleston instead, the southern WV politicians had a fit and Arch Moore (needing support as he was a (R) in a (D) state) compromised with I-64 to Beckley and Corridor L being constructed on the former I-79 alignment. The initial I-64 alignment chosen was more southerly towards Shady Spring and eliminated the Glade Creek and Piney Creek gorge bridges and hence cheaper to construct. Once again, politics stepped in (by this time Rockefeller's decision) and the alignment was changed to provide direct access to Beckley from I-64.



You are correct - 79 was lobbied by Underwood in the late '50s to be extended to Beckley.  When they decided in October 1961 to authorize the 79 extension, it went to Charleston and 64 was moved south.  The official reason was "mileage allocation" and better access to a greater population.  The Beckley folks still cried foul and politics.

Beckley then asked for an interstate grade connector to I-79 and Sutton which eventually evolved into Corridor L.  Here's a map that was in the Beckley Paper showing an early idea of 79 to Beckley.  It pretty much followed 19 exactly.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50656719967_f7e328603b_z.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/2kbmVZz)i79beckley (https://flic.kr/p/2kbmVZz) by Adam Prince (https://www.flickr.com/photos/adamontheroad/), on Flickr

(I'm currently working on a feature on this subject for gribblenation.)
Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: Tom958 on November 29, 2020, 10:59:27 AM
I was thinking that the decision to put the south end of I-79 in Charleston instead of Beckley was the correct one, but then I decided to try to find some traffic counts (https://data-wvdot.opendata.arcgis.com/datasets/d064df4106e0471296b3d046b4dfcbd4). I-79 carries 18-19k vehicles per day north of the junction with US 19, but only 10-11k south of there, building slowly to over 20k nearer to Charleston. US 19 carries under 10k just south of I-79, building to 25k or so at I-77. So, IMO, the choice could've gone either way.
Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: hbelkins on November 29, 2020, 03:34:09 PM
But doing things the way they did enabled the Summersville Police Department to operate a cash cow. I-79 between Charleston and Sutton doesn't run through any incorporated areas the way Corridor L (US 19) does.
Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: Alps on November 29, 2020, 03:45:58 PM
I was thinking that the decision to put the south end of I-79 in Charleston instead of Beckley was the correct one, but then I decided to try to find some traffic counts (https://data-wvdot.opendata.arcgis.com/datasets/d064df4106e0471296b3d046b4dfcbd4). I-79 carries 18-19k vehicles per day north of the junction with US 19, but only 10-11k south of there, building slowly to over 20k nearer to Charleston. US 19 carries under 10k just south of I-79, building to 25k or so at I-77. So, IMO, the choice could've gone either way.
If I-79 ran to Beckley, would some other road have been built as a cutoff to Charleston? I don't know that it would have. Now you get two improved corridors instead of one.
Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: Tom958 on November 29, 2020, 04:06:59 PM
If I-79 ran to Beckley, would some other road have been built as a cutoff to Charleston? I don't know that it would have. Now you get two improved corridors instead of one.

Not really. Most of US 19/ Corridor L is on new alignment, though much of it was built as two lanes. The same could've been done with the link to Charleston had I-79 gone to Beckley. I may be cursed and reviled for saying this, but I think the public interest would've been better served if the southernmost 25 miles of each corridor were freeway and the rest lesser facilities. You can have an Interstate highway ending arbitrarily at Canfield WV, though.
Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: CanesFan27 on November 29, 2020, 06:37:37 PM
But doing things the way they did enabled the Summersville Police Department to operate a cash cow. I-79 between Charleston and Sutton doesn't run through any incorporated areas the way Corridor L (US 19) does.

And that matters how?

If I-79 ran to Beckley, would some other road have been built as a cutoff to Charleston? I don't know that it would have. Now you get two improved corridors instead of one.

Not really. Must of US 19/ Corridor L is on new alignment, though much of it was built as two lanes. The same could've been done with the link to Charleston had I-79 gone to Beckley. I may be cursed and reviled for saying this, but I think the public interest would've been better served if the southernmost 25 miles of each corridor were freeway and the rest lesser facilities. You can have an Interstate highway ending arbitrarily at Canfield WV, though.
I was thinking that the decision to put the south end of I-79 in Charleston instead of Beckley was the correct one, but then I decided to try to find some traffic counts (https://data-wvdot.opendata.arcgis.com/datasets/d064df4106e0471296b3d046b4dfcbd4). I-79 carries 18-19k vehicles per day north of the junction with US 19, but only 10-11k south of there, building slowly to over 20k nearer to Charleston. US 19 carries under 10k just south of I-79, building to 25k or so at I-77. So, IMO, the choice could've gone either way.
If I-79 ran to Beckley, would some other road have been built as a cutoff to Charleston? I don't know that it would have. Now you get two improved corridors instead of one.

If 64 stayed on its original route - I don't think there would have.   If 79 and 64 would have met 77 in Beckley, then yes I do think there would be either a Corridor L (maybe a different letter) that followed what is now 79 to Charleston.  Or US 60 or even a WV 39/60 combo from Summersville may have become an ARC corridor.  Or possibly Corridor G would have continued further north and US 119 would have a different route between Charleston and Weston.

It's amazing how much that decision changed the highway network in West Virginia.  I'm still in my early stages in researching in how the decision to go to Charleston vs. Beckley was made.
Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: Bitmapped on November 29, 2020, 08:44:56 PM
If I-79 ran to Beckley, would some other road have been built as a cutoff to Charleston? I don't know that it would have. Now you get two improved corridors instead of one.

Not really. Most of US 19/ Corridor L is on new alignment, though much of it was built as two lanes. The same could've been done with the link to Charleston had I-79 gone to Beckley. I may be cursed and reviled for saying this, but I think the public interest would've been better served if the southernmost 25 miles of each corridor were freeway and the rest lesser facilities. You can have an Interstate highway ending arbitrarily at Canfield WV, though.

I do agree that US 19 should have been built (or upgraded now) to a full freeway south of the New River Gorge Bridge. Thankfully there is the freeway section through Oak Hill, but the rest of this section is becoming littered with traffic signals.
Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: Dirt Roads on November 29, 2020, 09:33:55 PM
I do agree that US 19 should have been built (or upgraded now) to a full freeway south of the New River Gorge Bridge. Thankfully there is the freeway section through Oak Hill, but the rest of this section is becoming littered with traffic signals.

Amazingly, the Oak Hill Expressway is the oldest section of freeway in West Virginia.  Before the Turnpike was completed around the west side of Beckley, the city of Oak Hill was considered the most important town in the Southern coal mining region (except perhaps Bluefield, which was on the N&W mainline).  They still have a television station there (WOAY-4).
Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: hbelkins on November 30, 2020, 01:53:33 PM
But doing things the way they did enabled the Summersville Police Department to operate a cash cow. I-79 between Charleston and Sutton doesn't run through any incorporated areas the way Corridor L (US 19) does.

And that matters how?

It matters to Summersville's bottom line that the routing decisions were made the way they were. There were no similar opportunities for places like, say, Clay to generate revenue from passing motorists, since I-79 doesn't run through the city limits there. If there was a freeway bypass of Summersville, it wouldn't be the speed trap it is known for being.
Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: Bitmapped on November 30, 2020, 03:00:54 PM
Amazingly, the Oak Hill Expressway is the oldest section of freeway in West Virginia.  Before the Turnpike was completed around the west side of Beckley, the city of Oak Hill was considered the most important town in the Southern coal mining region (except perhaps Bluefield, which was on the N&W mainline).  They still have a television station there (WOAY-4).

The part of US 50 through central Clarksburg predates the Oak Hill bypass by a couple years. US 19 was built 1960-1965ish. US 50 was built 1955-1960.
Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: sprjus4 on November 30, 2020, 05:09:49 PM
The segment of US-19 through Summersville needs to have a few interchanges and overpass bridges constructed, and the speed limit increased to 65 mph. Not a cheap project, but it should be looked into. US-19 should at least be upgraded to a free-flowing corridor between I-79 and I-64 / I-77, with signals replaced with interchanges.

It would increase the safety factor their so worried about it that requires their strict enforcement. It's totally not about revenue at all...
Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: CanesFan27 on November 30, 2020, 06:22:45 PM
But doing things the way they did enabled the Summersville Police Department to operate a cash cow. I-79 between Charleston and Sutton doesn't run through any incorporated areas the way Corridor L (US 19) does.

And that matters how?

It matters to Summersville's bottom line that the routing decisions were made the way they were. There were no similar opportunities for places like, say, Clay to generate revenue from passing motorists, since I-79 doesn't run through the city limits there. If there was a freeway bypass of Summersville, it wouldn't be the speed trap it is known for being.

The regional tourism in Summersville and surrounding areas has had more of an impact than any monies from speed enforcement.  If you made that correct point; then yes, Summersville along with Fayetteville to the south has seen a positive impact from Corridor L.

Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: Alps on November 30, 2020, 07:02:35 PM
If I-79 ran to Beckley, would some other road have been built as a cutoff to Charleston? I don't know that it would have. Now you get two improved corridors instead of one.

Not really. Must of US 19/ Corridor L is on new alignment, though much of it was built as two lanes. The same could've been done with the link to Charleston had I-79 gone to Beckley. I may be cursed and reviled for saying this, but I think the public interest would've been better served if the southernmost 25 miles of each corridor were freeway and the rest lesser facilities. You can have an Interstate highway ending arbitrarily at Canfield WV, though.
I was thinking that the decision to put the south end of I-79 in Charleston instead of Beckley was the correct one, but then I decided to try to find some traffic counts (https://data-wvdot.opendata.arcgis.com/datasets/d064df4106e0471296b3d046b4dfcbd4). I-79 carries 18-19k vehicles per day north of the junction with US 19, but only 10-11k south of there, building slowly to over 20k nearer to Charleston. US 19 carries under 10k just south of I-79, building to 25k or so at I-77. So, IMO, the choice could've gone either way.
If I-79 ran to Beckley, would some other road have been built as a cutoff to Charleston? I don't know that it would have. Now you get two improved corridors instead of one.

If 64 stayed on its original route - I don't think there would have.   If 79 and 64 would have met 77 in Beckley, then yes I do think there would be either a Corridor L (maybe a different letter) that followed what is now 79 to Charleston.  Or US 60 or even a WV 39/60 combo from Summersville may have become an ARC corridor.  Or possibly Corridor G would have continued further north and US 119 would have a different route between Charleston and Weston.

It's amazing how much that decision changed the highway network in West Virginia.  I'm still in my early stages in researching in how the decision to go to Charleston vs. Beckley was made.
I think I agree with you on that one. I was looking at the originally proposed map. That said, 77 to 70 really isn't that much worse than 79, such that perhaps you wouldn't have needed that corridor anyway if it wasn't politically motivated.
Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: Dirt Roads on November 30, 2020, 07:53:23 PM
Amazingly, the Oak Hill Expressway is the oldest section of freeway in West Virginia.  Before the Turnpike was completed around the west side of Beckley, the city of Oak Hill was considered the most important town in the Southern coal mining region (except perhaps Bluefield, which was on the N&W mainline).  They still have a television station there (WOAY-4).

The part of US 50 through central Clarksburg predates the Oak Hill bypass by a couple years. US 19 was built 1960-1965ish. US 50 was built 1955-1960.

The factoid about the Oak Hill Expressway as the first four-lane freeway in the states comes from the West Virginia History textbook from the early/mid-1970s.  I can't remember what the date was (nor can I find a date), but the state archives has a right-of-way map from 1960.  But you are technically correct that the Clarksburg Expressway is older.  However, there weren't any exits on the original section of the Clarksburg Expressway (US-50) or its sister Camden Expressway (unposted WV-81, now WV-95).  The freeway section of Camden Avenue is still that way (but unlike Clarksburg, the Camden Expressway never got tied into US-50 as planned).  I'm pretty sure that the exits for the Clarksburg Expressway were all constructed as part of Corridor D (and the downtown exits were some of last pieces of Corridor D completed on the east end).  The Clarksburg inset on the 1973 official state map still shows both ends of the Clarksburg Expressway tied back in to Pike Street (but I'm pretty sure that there were some new exits east of there just off the inset).

I suspect that there was a political reason to proclaim that Oak Hill was first (as opposed to Clarksburg, Parkersburg or I-64 for that matter).  Interstate highways in West Virginia were being constructed at the same time:  I-64 between East Huntington and Ona (now Huntington Mall) was also completed in 1960; I-77 from Fairplain to south of Sissonville was completed shortly after.  The first sections of I-70 and I-81 weren't completed until 1963.  The race was on, and someone judged that Oak Hill was the first.  Regardless, it's still a useless factoid taking up space in my memory banks.
Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: seicer on November 30, 2020, 08:57:58 PM
My open date reports for all interstates and corridors in WV are in storage, so I need to dig up specific dates later - but the NBI has 1958-ish build dates for the US 50 freeway through Clarksburg (with the ramp through the parking garage being added in 1980). This would include exits for 3rd Street (eastbound), 13th Street and Chestnut/Broddus. For a -very- brief time prior to the entire downtown segment opening, the expressway existed between Oak Street and 3rd Street.

The US 21 freeway through Oak Hill was built in 1960.

The WV 16 freeway in Beckley was built in 1958-60 and has two interchanges.

Technically, the Fort Henry Bridge for US 40/250 in Wheeling contained ramps for Main Street before terminating at Market Street. That opened in 1955.
Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: Dirt Roads on November 30, 2020, 10:55:19 PM
The WV 16 freeway in Beckley was built in 1958-60 and has two interchanges.

Ooh, forgot about that one.  Wasn't this stretch of Valley Drive (now named after Robert C. Byrd, like everything else) originally divided with Botts Dots?  It's now undivided, except over the railroad.
Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: 18 wheel warrior on December 07, 2020, 12:56:05 PM
Quote

I was surprised by how few heavy commercial vehicles were on that segment of the system.   I would think that there were would be at least some commercial vehicles headed to and from the Ports of Virginia around Hampton Roads, and some of that traffic would use I-64 from states like West Virginia, Kentucky and Indiana.  Or are all of the trucks going to the Virginia Inland Port in Front Royal instead?

There are PLENTY of trucks running from the Port of Virginia along I-64. I'm one of them! My company runs shipping containers to points in Kentucky all the time! I've gone to Kentucky, Indiana, Illlinois, Missouri and Kansas via I-64.
Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: cpzilliacus on December 07, 2020, 06:03:57 PM
There are PLENTY of trucks running from the Port of Virginia along I-64. I'm one of them! My company runs shipping containers to points in Kentucky all the time! I've gone to Kentucky, Indiana, Illlinois, Missouri and Kansas via I-64.

I agree.  But compared to other Interstates in Virginia, these generally have higher truck percentages, such as I-81 (especially), I-95, I-66 (I-81 to I-495), I-64 (Hampton Roads to I-81) and I-77.  Maybe not I-85, which is remarkably empty of all traffic between South Hill and Petersburg.
Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: sprjus4 on December 08, 2020, 02:32:21 AM
Maybe not I-85, which is remarkably empty of all traffic between South Hill and Petersburg.
Itís empty portion seems to really stretch all the way from Petersburg to Durham. This long segment is adequate at 4 lanes and will likely never need to be widened. The portion between the Virginia state line and Henderson was recently rehabilitated without new lanes with new mainline bridges and increased vertical clearances, along with increasing the speed limit from 65 mph to 70 mph to provide a consistent 70 mph limit for the entire Durham to Petersburg stretch.

US-58 at South Hill is a traffic generator from Hampton Roads, but the volumes arenít that high in the grand scheme, and doesnít congest I-85 south of there.
Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: Alps on December 08, 2020, 03:53:15 PM
Maybe not I-85, which is remarkably empty of all traffic between South Hill and Petersburg.
Itís empty portion seems to really stretch all the way from Petersburg to Durham. This long segment is adequate at 4 lanes and will likely never need to be widened. The portion between the Virginia state line and Henderson was recently rehabilitated without new lanes with new mainline bridges and increased vertical clearances, along with increasing the speed limit from 65 mph to 70 mph to provide a consistent 70 mph limit for the entire Durham to Petersburg stretch.

US-58 at South Hill is a traffic generator from Hampton Roads, but the volumes arenít that high in the grand scheme, and doesnít congest I-85 south of there.
You say this, but it's not really all that empty, and it does get congested approaching Petersburg. The northern several miles ought to be 6-laned now.
Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: sprjus4 on December 08, 2020, 04:01:42 PM
^

Near Petersburg is a different story, Iím talking about south of US-460 relatively.

And Iím not saying itís empty, but even on peak weekends, it still usually flows free-flow with little interruption, and can get relatively empty off-peak.
Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: Alps on December 08, 2020, 11:32:14 PM
^

Near Petersburg is a different story, Iím talking about south of US-460 relatively.

And Iím not saying itís empty, but even on peak weekends, it still usually flows free-flow with little interruption, and can get relatively empty off-peak.
I'll agree with you. It's free-flow, though I've never found it to be as empty as, say, WV corridor expressways. 460 is where I'd like to pick up a lane.
Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: sprjus4 on December 08, 2020, 11:57:43 PM
^

Ultimately, I'd like to see 6 lane widening as well between US-460 and I-95, along with an overhaul of the I-95 interchange, though given budget constraints, traffic usually flows along there adequately at or above the 60 mph speed limit (which could reasonably be 65 mph, but that's another story), albeit heavy, during peak times, enough to the point where widening is not currently a priority or something that would come any time soon.
Title: Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
Post by: cpzilliacus on December 09, 2020, 02:06:25 PM
You say this, but it's not really all that empty, and it does get congested approaching Petersburg. The northern several miles ought to be 6-laned now.

Agree regarding I-85 at and north of U.S. 460 (Exit 61) in Dinwiddie County. Four good reasons related to truck trip producers and attractors for widening I-85 between there and I-95:

- Big WalMart distribution center at Sutherland (west of I-85 on U.S. 460);
- Aldi distribution center on U.S. 1 (Boydton Plank Road) just south of I-85 Exit 61.
- Large Vulcan quarry on VA-226 less than 2 miles from Exit 61; and
- Amazon fulfillment center less than a miles from Exit 61.

And all of these have employees, so there are non-truck trips involved too.