Interstate 470 Ohio / West Virginia

Interstate 470 Ohio
Interstate 470 West Virginia


Interstate 470 travels south from I-70 near St. Clairsville, Ohio to the Elm Grove community in east Wheeling, West Virginia. The freeway takes a more linear path as compared to the older urban route along Interstate 70 to the north. It also provides the main trucking route across the area, as I-70 passes through the Wheeling Tunnel near Downtown, Wheeling.

2015 traffic counts peak at 44,456 vehicles per day (vpd) on I-470 across the Ohio River bridge. A comparable amount takes I-70 through Wheeling, with 46,626 vpd recorded by WVDOT in 2014. Within Ohio, ODOT recorded 30,810 vpd along I-470 to the north of Bellaire in 2012, while I-70 topped out at 27,540 vpd at a location just east of the split with Interstate 470.


The bypass loop around Wheeling was part of the statewide urban Interstate numerology submitted to the American Association of State Highway Officials (AASHO) by the Ohio Department of Highways. A map published by Ohio in March 1958 assigned Route D-70 to the loop. This eventually changed to Route 470, and was approved as part of the statewide plan by AASHO on November 10, 1958.

Interstate 470 was constructed through West Virginia between 1971 and 1978 at a cost of $142 million. The four mile long bypass of Wheeling includes a four level interchange with U.S. 250. It was the most expensive part of the West Virginia Interstate system constructed at the time.1

Wheeling, WV - 1976

Wheeling Chamber of Commerce map, circa 1976, showing the projected path of Interstate 470 to the south.

The tied arch bridge carrying Interstate 470 across the Ohio River was constructed starting in 1975.2 I-470 in Ohio opened to traffic following a ribbon cutting ceremony attended by Governors Richard Celeste and Jay Rockefeller on November 18, 1983.3

The Ohio portion of the freeway closed on September 12, 1996 when voids were discovered beneath the roadway. The formations were the result of abandoned underground coal mines and shafts. Work to stabilize the roadway required the digging of a 1,700 foot long, 150 foot wide hole at a depth of 70 feet. Once filled in, the freeway reopened to traffic on December 20, 1996.4

Route Information

  • East End – Wheeling, WV

  • West End – Blaine, OH

  • Total Mileage – 10.63

Ohio – 6.69

  • Cities – none

  • JunctionsI-70

West Virginia – 3.94

  • Cities – Wheeling

  • JunctionsI-70

Source: December 31, 2021 Interstate Route Log and Finders List

Wheeling, WV - 1978

Initial construction for Interstate 470 focused on the freeway west from Elm Ridge to Bethlehem, West Virginia.

Wheeling, WV - 1980

Wheeling inset on the 1980 Official West Virginia Highway Map

I-470 Ohio - 1982 Map

Interstate 470 under construction on the 1982 Official Ohio Highway Map. The 1983 edition showed the route complete.

 Photo Guides

East End I-70 – Wheeling, West Virginia

I-70 East at I-470

I-70 east at I-470 - Blaine, OH

The initial sign for the I-70/470 split appears at Exit 218 / Mall Road for Ohio Valley Mall just outside the city of St. Clairsville. Photo by Ian Ligget (05/14/11).

I-70 east at I-470 - Blaine, OH

Button copy sign posted at the Banfield Road overpass for Interstate 470 east (Exit 219). I-470 connects with SR 7 at the Ohio River and northern reaches of the Bellaire village limits. Washington, Pennsylvania is where I-70 east merges with I-79 in 38 miles. Photo by Ian Ligget (05/14/11).

I-70 east at I-470 - Blaine, OH

Interstate 70 continues east with three lanes from Mall Road to the wye interchange (Exit 219) with I-470 east. Photo by Ian Ligget (05/14/11).

I-70 east at I-470 - Blaine, OH

Two lanes of traffic part ways with Interstate 70 east for I-470 at Exit 219. The Wheeling bypass elevates onto High Ridge to the Ohio River while I-70 parallels both U.S. 40 (National Road) and Wheeling Creek to Bridgeport. Photo by Ian Ligget (05/14/11).

Throwback – I-470 west at I-70

I-470 west at Banfield Rd/I-70 - 2004

The west end of I-470 partitions with two lanes joining I-70 west ahead of St. Clairsville and a long off-ramp to Banfield Road. The half diamond interchange (Exit 1) at Banfield Road was originally accessible from the I-70 mainline, but now motorists headed to Ohio Valley Mall must continue west to Exit 218 (Mall Road). This set of button copy signs was replaced by 2008. 10/15/04

West End I-70 – near Blaine, Ohio

I-70 West at I-470

I-70 west at I-470 - 2011

Winding southwest by Tridelphia, I-70 advanced two miles from a button copy sign to Exit 5 A with Interstate 470. A sign bridge replaced this ground level assembly by 2015. Photo by Ian Ligget (05/12/11).

I-70 west at I-470 - 2011

Also replaced by 2015 was this diagrammatic sign for the upcoming wye interchange (Exit 5 A) with I-470 west. I-70 continues west into the Wheeling city limits in the next half mile. Photo by Ian Ligget (05/12/11).

I-70 west at I-470 - 2011

Interstate 70 west reaches the folded diamond interchange (Exit 5) with U.S. 50 and WV 88 a half mile ahead of the left exit for I-470. This sign bridge at Elm Grove in Wheeling was removed by 2015. Photo by Ian Ligget (05/12/11).

I-70 west at I-470 - 2011

Interstate 70 angles northwest from Elm Grove to parallel Wheeling Creek into Wheeling. The area topography results in I-470 departing from the left onto a long viaduct spanning U.S. 40, Wheeling Creek and Wheeling Heritage Trail. I-470 bypasses the city center to the south through the village of Bethlehem. Photo by Ian Ligget (05/12/11).

I-70 west at I-470 - 2011

I-70 continues northwest with two lanes to the Wheeling Tunnel. A lane drop for WV 2 reduces traffic to a single lane across the Ft. Henry Bridge into Ohio. I-470 maintains two westbound through lanes, but with a steep grade descending into the Ohio River valley. Photo by Ian Ligget (05/12/11).

Throwback – I-470 east at I-70

I-470 east at I-70/US 40 - 2004

I-470 east converges with I-70 east ahead of the loop ramp (Exit 5) for U.S. 40 at Elm Grove in Wheeling. The freeway lowers past the J.B. Chambers I-470 baseball and softball Complex and spans Wheeling Creek and U.S. 40 at the wye interchange with Interstate 70. This set of signs was replaced by 2007. 10/15/04


  1. “back to the road future Interstate system paved way for progress, travel in W.Va.” Charleston Daily Mail, May 29, 2006.
  2. Wheeling I-470 Ohio River Bridge. Structurae.
  3. “Two-state handshake.” Akron Beach Journal (OH), November 19, 1983.
  4. “Interstate Reopens After Crews Fill Old Mines Under Roadway.” Plain Dealer, The (Cleveland, OH), December 22, 1996.

Page updated February 3, 2020.