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Author Topic: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia  (Read 1079 times)

cpzilliacus

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Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
« Reply #25 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.
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Jmiles32

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Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
« Reply #26 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).
« Last Edit: May 21, 2020, 09:51:01 PM by Jmiles32 »
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sprjus4

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Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
« Reply #27 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 would’ve likely been built with the existing road being converted to one-way without much modification.
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sprjus4

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Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
« Reply #28 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.
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Jmiles32

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Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
« Reply #29 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.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2020, 10:30:55 PM by Jmiles32 »
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VTGoose

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Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
« Reply #30 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.
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sprjus4

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Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
« Reply #31 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 would’ve only been reduced by 10 or 15 minutes if it was built along US-220 and US-460, and would’ve 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.
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sparker

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Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
« Reply #32 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"!
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sprjus4

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Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
« Reply #33 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.
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sparker

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Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
« Reply #34 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. 
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sprjus4

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Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
« Reply #35 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.
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froggie

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Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
« Reply #36 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.
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sparker

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Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
« Reply #37 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.   
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Mapmikey

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Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
« Reply #38 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).
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cpzilliacus

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Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
« Reply #39 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 and end near Dillsburg).
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sparker

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Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
« Reply #40 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.   
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cpzilliacus

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Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
« Reply #41 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.

« Last Edit: May 25, 2020, 11:21:34 PM by cpzilliacus »
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