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Author Topic: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia  (Read 2065 times)

hbelkins

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Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
« Reply #50 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.
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Roadgeekteen

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Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
« Reply #51 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.
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sprjus4

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Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
« Reply #52 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.
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sprjus4

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Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
« Reply #53 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.
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sparker

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Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
« Reply #54 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.           
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VTGoose

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Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
« Reply #55 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)
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hbelkins

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Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
« Reply #56 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.
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Alps

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Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
« Reply #57 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...

froggie

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Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
« Reply #58 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.
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Alps

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Re: I-64 Route West Virginia/Virginia
« Reply #59 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.

 


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