Interstate 79 marker

Interstate 79

I-79 highlighted in red
Route information
Maintained by WVDOH and PennDOT
Length343.46 mi[1] (552.75 km)
NHSEntire route
Major junctions
South end I-77 near Charleston, WV
Major intersections
North end PA 5 / PA 290 / Bayfront Parkway in Erie, PA
CountryUnited States
StatesWest Virginia, Pennsylvania
CountiesWV: Kanawha, Roane, Clay, Braxton, Gilmer, Lewis, Harrison, Marion, Monongalia
PA: Greene, Washington, Allegheny, Butler, Lawrence, Mercer, Crawford, Erie
Highway system
WV 78WV WV 80
PA 78PA PA 79
PA 178PA PA 179

Interstate 79 (I-79) is an Interstate Highway in the Eastern United States, designated from I-77 in Charleston, West Virginia, north to Pennsylvania Route 5 (PA 5) and PA 290 in Erie, Pennsylvania. It is a primary thoroughfare through western Pennsylvania and West Virginia and makes up part of an important corridor to Buffalo, New York, and the Canada–United States border. Major metropolitan areas connected by I-79 include Charleston and Morgantown in West Virginia and Greater Pittsburgh and Erie in Pennsylvania.

In West Virginia, I-79 is known as the Jennings Randolph Expressway, named for the West Virginia representative and senator. In the three most northern counties, it is signed as part of the High Tech Corridor. For most of its Pennsylvania stretch, it is known as the Raymond P. Shafer Highway, named for the 39th Pennsylvania governor.

Route description

  mi[1] km
WV 160.52 258.33
PA 182.94 294.41
Total 343.46 552.75

Except at its northern end, I-79 is located on the Allegheny Plateau. Despite the somewhat rugged terrain, the road is relatively flat. Most of the highway is at an elevation of about 1,000 to 1,200 feet (300 to 370 m) above sea level, with some lower areas near both ends and higher areas near Sutton, West Virginia. In the hillier areas, this flatness is achieved by curving around hills, along ridges, and in or partway up river valleys.[2] From Sutton north, I-79 generally parallels the path of U.S. Route 19 (US 19).

West Virginia

This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (April 2022)

I-79 begins at a three-way directional Y interchange with I-77 along the northwest bank of the Elk River just northeast of Charleston. For its first 67 miles (108 km) to a point just south of Flatwoods, I-79 is located in the watershed of the Elk River, which drains into the Kanawha River. It crosses the Elk River at Frametown and again at Sutton and never strays more than about 15 to 20 miles (24 to 32 km) from it.[2][3]


I-79 northbound past exit 7 in Whiteley Township, Pennsylvania

I-79 enters Pennsylvania from Morgantown, West Virginia. South of Washington, it traverses mostly rural Greene County.

Between milemarkers 34 and 38, I-79 overlaps I-70 in the Washington area before heading north toward Pittsburgh.

I-79 is carried over the Ohio River by the Neville Island Bridge, approximately eight miles (13 km) northwest of Pittsburgh.

The freeway into Pittsburgh requires drivers to use I-376 while I-79 completely bypasses the city. Beyond the Pittsburgh area, I-79 traverses more rural areas in Butler, Lawrence, Mercer, Crawford, and Erie counties before arriving at its termination point in Erie. In Erie, I-90 connects from I-79 to Buffalo, New York, and the Canadian border.

Around milemarker 100 on the northbound side are two ghost ramps that were specifically built for the Boy Scouts of America in order to have access to Moraine State Park without having to travel on US 422 for the 1973 and 1977 National Scout Jamborees, which were held at Moraine. The ramps were permanently closed after the 1977 event but remain visible under encroaching vegetation.[4][5]

I-79 was completely rebuilt in Greater Pittsburgh in the early 1990s.[6]


I-79 merging with I-70 in Washington, Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania General Assembly authorized the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission to build two extensions in the 1950s. The Northwestern Extension, authorized in 1953, was to stretch from the main Pennsylvania Turnpike north to Erie and would have included a lateral connection between Ohio and New York, what was later built as I-90.[7] The Southwestern Extension, authorized in 1955, was to run south from the main line near Pittsburgh to West Virginia, where it connects with an extension of the West Virginia Turnpike.[8] Except for the section between Washington and Greater Pittsburgh, which was included as part of I-70,[9] the first portion of I-79 to be added to the plans was north from Pittsburgh to Erie, along the US 19 corridor.

Interstate 179 marker

Interstate 179

ExistedNovember 12, 1958–1968

Interstate 279 marker

Interstate 279

Length13.5 mi (21.7 km)
ExistedSeptember 16, 1989–present

In September 1955, two short urban portions were designated:[10][11]

The number 79 was assigned in 1958,[13] and an extension south along I-70 to Washington and beyond to Charleston was approved on October 18, 1961.[14] This extension also paralleled US 19 to near Sutton, where it turned westerly to reach Charleston. (The part of US 19 from Sutton south to I-77 at Beckley, West Virginia, has since been four-laned as Corridor L of the Appalachian Development Highway System.)

On December 21, 1967, the first section of I-79 in West Virginia, between exits 125 (Saltwell Road) and 132 (South Fairmont), opened to traffic.[15] This five-mile (8.0 km) section bypassed part of West Virginia Route 73 (WV 73) between Bridgeport and Fairmont. Another five miles (8.0 km) opened in July 1968, extending the highway on a bypass of downtown Fairmont to exit 137 (East Park Avenue).[16] It was further extended 9.5 miles (15.3 km) toward Morgantown on October 15, 1970, bypassing more of WV 73 to exit 146 (Goshen Road) south of that city.[17][18][19]

On June 29, 1970, the swap of I-79 and I-279 was approved. At the same time, I-76 was extended west from Downtown Pittsburgh over former I-79 to the new location of I-79 west of Pittsburgh, so I-279 only ran north from Downtown Pittsburgh. On December 3, 1971, I-76 was rerouted to bypass Pittsburgh, and I-279 was extended to I-79 utilizing the former section of I-76.[20] The changes took effect on October 2, 1972.[21]

On June 29, 1973, I-79 was extended from West Virginia exit 146 to exit 148 (I-68), where, at one point, traffic was forced onto the newly opened west end of Corridor E (now I-68) to exit 1.[22] A further extension of six miles (9.7 km), including the Uffington Bridge over the Monongahela River southwest of Morgantown, was opened on August 30, 1973, leading north to exit 155 (Star City).[23][24] This completed I-79 from north of Bridgeport to north of Morgantown.

To the south of Bridgeport, the first two sections were both opened on December 22, 1971. One of these ran 10 miles (16 km) from exit 51 (Frametown) to exit 62 (Sutton), and the other from exit 105 (Jane Lew) to exit 115 (Nutter Fort).[25][26][27][28] On September 19, 1973, another 7.5-mile (12.1 km) stretch was opened, from exit 105 (Jane Lew) south to exit 99 (Weston).[29]

In 1973, significant portions of the Interstate were completed.[19] I-79 opened from exit 62 to exit 99. Another 23.9 miles (38.5 km), from exit 67 (Flatwoods) north to exit 91 (Roanoke), opened on November 28, 1973, along with the section from exit 115 north to exit 117 (Anmoore), completing the route between Frametown and Morgantown except in the Bridgeport area.[30][31]

A 5.5-mile (8.9 km) extension from exit 51 south to exit 46 (Servia) opened on February 1, 1974,[32] and County Route 11 to WV 4 near Duck was widened to handle the increased load.[33] On the same day, two lanes opened from exit 155 (Osage) north to the state line.[citation needed]

On October 16, 1974, two pieces of I-79 were opened: the other two lanes[citation needed] of the 6.6 miles (10.6 km) from exit 155 to the state line and 7.1 miles (11.4 km) between exits 117 (Anmoore) and 125 (north of Bridgeport). On the same day, the eastern end of Corridor D and the western end of Corridor E, both connecting to I-79 (at exits 119 and 148), were opened. This completed I-79 in West Virginia north of exit 46 (Servia);[34][35][36] it was extended south to exit 25 (Amma) in late November[37] and to US 119 north of Clendenin (exit 19) on November 13, 1975.[38] It was opened from exit 19 to exit 9 (Elkview) on November 18, 1977,[39] and finally completed to I-77 in 1979.[19]

On July 25, 1975, I-79 was opened between exits 1 and 14 in Pennsylvania.[40] The last piece of I-79 between West Virginia and Erie—the Neville Island Bridge over the Ohio River—opened on September 3, 1976.[41] In 1984, the route was extended about one mile (1.6 km) further to the north, with the opening of a new segment between US 20 and PA 5 in Erie.[42]

In late 2008, the missing ramps of the I-79/I-376 interchange (PA 60 was designated as the route for southbound traffic seeking to go to Pittsburgh International Airport and for airport traffic seeking to go northbound on I-79) were completed.[43]

In June 2009, I-376 was extended west and north of Downtown Pittsburgh, and I-279 was truncated back to the section only running from Downtown Pittsburgh north to I-79.

Exit list

StateCountyLocationmi[44]kmOld exit
New exit
West VirginiaKanawhaCharleston0.0000.000
I-77 to I-64 – Parkersburg, Charleston
Southern terminus; I-77 exit 104
1.8452.9691 US 119 – Mink ShoalsAccess to Coonskin Park
5.0478.1225 US 119 (WV 114) – Big ChimneyNorthern terminus of WV 114
Pinch9.46915.2399 CR 43 (Frame Road) – Elkview
Clendenin19.09130.72419 US 119 (CR 53) – Clendenin
RoaneAmma25.28140.68625 CR 29 – Amma
33.74154.30134 WV 36 – Wallback, Clay
Clay39.89964.21140 WV 16 – Big Otter
Braxton46.09974.18946 CR 11 (Servia Road)
Frametown51.56982.99251 WV 4 – Frametown
US 19 south – Beckley, Summersville
Southern end of US 19 concurrency; access to New River Gorge
Sutton61.46598.91862 WV 4 – Sutton, Gassaway
US 19 north (WV 4) / WV 15 – Flatwoods
Northern end of US 19 concurrency; access to Sutton Lake
Burnsville78.909126.99279 WV 5 – Burnsville, GlenvilleAccess to Glenville State College and Burnsville Dam
No major junctions
Lewis90.988146.43191 US 19 – Stonewall Resort, RoanokeAccess to Stonewall Jackson Lake State Park
Weston95.928154.38196 CR 30 – South WestonAccess to Stonewall Jackson Lake and Jackson's Mill
98.608158.69499 US 33 / US 48 / US 119 – Weston, BuckhannonAccess to West Virginia Wesleyan College and Davis and Elkins College
Jane Lew105.038169.042105 CR 7 – Jane LewAccess to Jackson's Mill
HarrisonLost Creek109.688–
110 WV 270 – Lost CreekEastern terminus of WV 270
Stonewood115.75186.28115 WV 20 – Stonewood, Nutter FortAccess to Alderson Broaddus University
Clarksburg118.13190.11117 WV 58 – Anmoore
119.63192.53119 US 50 (Corridor D) – Clarksburg, BridgeportAccess to Salem International University
Bridgeport121.7195.9121 CR 24 (Meadowbrook Road)

WV 279 to US 50 east
Access to North Central West Virginia Airport, Tygart Lake State Park, and United Hospital Center
125.36201.75125 WV 131 (Saltwell Road) – Shinnston
MarionWhitehall132.086212.572132 US 250 – Fairmont, Whitehall
Fairmont133.356214.616133 CR 641 (Kingmont Road)
134.926217.142135 CR 64 (Pleasant Valley Road)
136.006218.880136 WV 273 – Downtown FairmontSouthern terminus of WV 273; exit fully opened on December 22, 2010.[46]
136.660219.933137 WV 310 (East Park Avenue)Access to Valley Falls State Park
138.79223.36139 CR 33 (Pricketts Creek Road) – East FairmontAccess to Prickett's Fort State Park
Monongalia145.62234.35146 CR 77 (Goshen Road)
I-68 east – Cumberland
Western terminus of I-68; access to Mountaineer Field and Tygart Lake State Park
152.502245.428152 US 19 – Westover, MorgantownAccess to Granville
153.4246.9153 CR 467 (University Town Centre Drive)
154.836249.184155 WV 7 – West Virginia UniversityAccess to Star City, Osage, and Mountaineer Field
Mason–Dixon Line160.52
West Virginia–Pennsylvania state line
PennsylvaniaGreenePerry Township0.81.311
To US 19 – Mount Morris
Whiteley Township6.810.927Kirby, Garards Fort
Franklin Township14.022.5314 PA 21 – Masontown, WaynesburgAccess to Waynesburg University
Washington Township19.431.2419 US 19 / PA 221 – Ruff Creek, Jefferson
WashingtonWest Bethlehem Township23.437.7523Marianna, Prosperity
Amwell Township30.649.2630 US 19 – Amity, Lone Pine
32.952.9733 US 40 – Laboratory
South Strabane Township34.455.434 (NB)
21 (SB)

I-70 east – New Stanton
Southern end of I-70 concurrency
35.457.0820 PA 136 (Beau Street)Access to Washington & Jefferson College
36.458.6719 US 19 (Murtland Avenue)Diverging diamond interchange
37.961.018 (NB)
38 (SB)

I-70 west – Wheeling
Northern end of I-70 concurrency
40.364.98A40Meadow Lands
41.166.1841Race Track RoadAccess to Hollywood Casino at The Meadows
North Strabane Township43.469.8943 PA 519 – Eighty Four, Houston
To PA 980 – Canonsburg
Cecil Township48.277.610A48Southpointe, HendersonvilleAccess to Pennsylvania Western University, California's Southpointe Campus and to the National Cemetery of the Alleghenies
PA Turnpike 576 west – Pittsburgh International Airport
Eastern terminus of PA 576; E-ZPass or toll-by-plate
AlleghenyBridgeville54.687.91154 PA 50 – Bridgeville
South Fayette Township55.288.81255 PA 50 – Heidelberg, Collier TownshipFormerly designated as "Heidelberg / Kirwan Heights"
Scott Township57.492.41357Carnegie
Pennsbury Village59.395.41459 I-376 (US 22 / US 30) – Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh International AirportI-376 exit 59; signed as exits 59A (east) and 59B (west)
Robinson Township60.497.21660 PA 60 – Crafton, Moon RunSigned as exits 60A (south) and 60B (north) southbound
Coraopolis64.1103.21764 PA 51 – Coraopolis, McKees RocksNo southbound exit
Ohio RiverNeville Island Bridge
Neville Township64.8104.31865
Yellow Belt to PA 51 – Neville Island
Southern terminus of Yellow Belt concurrency
Ohio RiverNeville Island Bridge
Glenfield66.5107.01966 PA 65 – Emsworth, Sewickley
Ohio Township68.0109.42068 Yellow Belt (Mount Nebo Road)Northern terminus of Yellow Belt concurrency
Franklin Park72.1116.02172
I-279 south – Pittsburgh
Southbound exit and northbound entrance; northern terminus of I-279
PA 910 east / Orange Belt – Wexford
Western terminus of PA 910
Marshall Township75.7121.82375

Red Belt to US 19 south – Warrendale
Northbound exit and southbound entrance
US 19 north – Cranberry
Northbound left exit and southbound entrance
ButlerCranberry Township77.2124.277 I-76 / Penna Turnpike – Harrisburg, Youngstown OHI-76 / Penna Turnpike exit 28 (Cranberry)
78.7126.72578 PA 228 – Seven Fields, Mars, Cranberry
Jackson Township83.1133.72683 PA 528 – Evans CityNorthbound exit and southbound entrance
To PA 528 (US 19)
Southbound exit and northbound entrance
87.3140.52787 PA 68 – ZelienopleNorthbound exit and southbound entrance

To US 19 / PA 68 – Zelienople
Signed as Little Creek Road northbound; promoted as access to Seneca Valley School District
Muddy Creek Township95.8154.22896 PA 488 – Portersville, Prospect
Muddy Creek Township99.6160.32999 US 422 – New Castle, ButlerAccess to Moraine State Park and McConnells Mill State Park
Worth Township105.4169.630105 PA 108 – Slippery RockAccess to Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania; interchange partially located in Lawrence County
No major junctions
MercerSpringfield Township113.7183.031113 PA 208 / PA 258 – Grove CityAccess to Grove City College and Westminster College
Findley Township116.5187.5116 I-80 – Clarion, SharonSigned as exits 116A (east) and 116B (west); I-80 exit 19
Jackson Township121.1194.933121 US 62 – Mercer, Franklin
New Vernon Township130.6210.234130 PA 358 – Greenville, Sandy LakeAccess to Thiel College
CrawfordGreenwood Township141.5227.735141 PA 285 – Geneva, Cochranton
Vernon Township147.4237.236147 US 6 / US 19 / US 322 – Meadville, Conneaut LakeSigned as exits 147A (north/east) and 147B (south/west); access to Conneaut Lake Park and Allegheny College, to PA 102
Hayfield Township153.9247.737154 PA 198 – Conneautville, Saegertown
ErieWashington Township166.5268.038166 US 6N – Albion, EdinboroAccess to Pennsylvania Western University, Edinboro
McKean Township174.7281.239174McKean
178.6287.4178 I-90 – Buffalo, ClevelandSigned as exits 178A (east) and 178B (west); I-90 exits 22; former southern terminus of I-179
Millcreek Township180.5290.541180
To US 19 – Kearsarge
Access to Millcreek Mall and PA 99
Erie182.7294.043182 US 20 (26th Street)Access to Erie International Airport
PA 5 / PA 290 east (12th Street)
Northbound exit and southbound entrance; signed as exits 183A (east) and 183B (west); access to Presque Isle State Park, Waldameer Park, and Gannon University; western terminus of PA 290
183.8295.8Bayfront Parkway / Lincoln AvenueNorthern terminus; at-grade intersection; former northern terminus of I-179
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

Auxiliary routes

See also


  1. ^ a b Starks, Edward (January 27, 2022). "Table 1: Main Routes of the Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways". FHWA Route Log and Finder List. Federal Highway Administration. Retrieved March 31, 2023.
  2. ^ a b United States Geological Survey topographic maps and aerial photos, accessed via Terraserver-USA
  3. ^ National Atlas of the United States, Hydrologic Units (Watersheds) GIS dataArchived May 4, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Ghost Ramps". June 5, 2005. Retrieved August 8, 2017.[self-published source]
  5. ^ Google (August 8, 2017). "Ghost ramps around the 100 mile marker" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved August 8, 2017.
  6. ^ Grata, Joe (March 31, 1991). "PennDOT to Restrict I-79 Lanes This Year". Road Report. The Pittsburgh Press. p. A14 – via Google News Archive Search.
  7. ^ Pennsylvania Turnpike Northwestern Extension Act, P.L. 706, No. 229, passed July 28, 1953
  8. ^ Pennsylvania Turnpike Southwestern Extension Act, P.L. 174, No. 52, passed June 14, 1955
  9. ^ Public Roads Administration (August 14, 1957). Official Route Numbering for the National System of Interstate and Defense Highways, as adopted by the American Association of State Highway Officials (Map). Scale not given. Washington, DC: Public Roads Administration – via Wikimedia Commons.
  10. ^ Bureau of Public Roads (September 1955). "Erie" (Map). General Location of National System of Interstate Highways Including All Additional Routes at Urban Areas Designated in September 1955. Scale not given. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office. p. 74. OCLC 4165975 – via Wikimedia Commons.
  11. ^ Bureau of Public Roads (September 1955). "Pittsburgh and environs" (Map). General Location of National System of Interstate Highways Including All Additional Routes at Urban Areas Designated in September 1955. Scale not given. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office. p. 77. OCLC 4165975 – via Wikimedia Commons.
  12. ^ "3-digit Interstates from I-79".[self-published source]
  13. ^ Bureau of Public Roads (June 27, 1958). Official Route Numbering for the National System of Interstate and Defense Highways, as adopted by the American Association of State Highway Officials (Map). Scale not given. Washington, DC: Bureau of Public Roads – via Wikimedia Commons.
  14. ^ "Third Route Alters Interstate Picture, SRC Tells Mayors". Charleston Daily Mail. October 20, 1961.[page needed]
  15. ^ "5-Mile I-79 Link Will Open December 21". Charleston Daily Mail. December 7, 1967.[page needed]
  16. ^ "5 Miles of I-79 Opens in Marion". Charleston Daily Mail. July 20, 1968.[page needed]
  17. ^ "Gov. Moore Will Open I-79 Segment". Charleston Gazette. October 10, 1970.[page needed]
  18. ^ "Moore Opens I-79 Portion, Restates Vow". Charleston Gazette. October 16, 1970.[page needed]
  19. ^ a b c Release Date Report. West Virginia Department of Transportation. August 2003.
  20. ^ Weingroff, Richard (June 27, 2017). "Was I-76 Numbered to Honor Philadelphia for Independence Day, 1776?". Ask the Rambler. Federal Highway Administration.
  21. ^ "Interstates Renumbered". The Pittsburgh Press. February 24, 1972. p. 8. Retrieved November 30, 2017 – via
  22. ^ "5 More Miles of I-79 Being Opened Today". Charleston Daily Mail. June 29, 1973.[page needed]
  23. ^ "6-Mile Stretch of I-79 Open". Charleston Gazette. August 31, 1973.[page needed]
  24. ^ Charleston Gazette. September 5, 1973. ((cite news)): Missing or empty |title= (help)[page needed]
  25. ^ "Two I-79 Sections Opened". Dominion News. December 23, 1971.[page needed]
  26. ^ "40 Miles More of I-79 Open". Charleston Daily Mail. December 23, 1971.[page needed]
  27. ^ "I-79 Mileage Increased to 40". Charleston Gazette. December 23, 1971.[page needed]
  28. ^ Dominion News. January 23, 1972. ((cite news)): Missing or empty |title= (help)[page needed]
  29. ^ "I-79 Segment Opened by Governor Moore". Charleston Daily Mail. September 20, 1973.[page needed]
  30. ^ "More of I-79 to Be Opened Tomorrow". Charleston Daily Mail. November 27, 1973.
  31. ^ "Open I-79 Increasing by 25.17 Miles". Charleston Gazette. November 28, 1973.[page needed]
  32. ^ "Additional Interstates to Open". Charleston Gazette. January 30, 1974.[page needed]
  33. ^ "Highway Project Bids to Be Opened". Charleston Gazette. March 8, 1972.[page needed]
  34. ^ "Moore Will Open 22 New Miles". Charleston Gazette. October 8, 1974.[page needed]
  35. ^ "22 Miles of Roads Opened". Charleston Gazette. October 17, 1974.[page needed]
  36. ^ "W. Va. to Open Over 22 Miles of Highways". Daily Courier. Prescott, Arizona. October 10, 1974.[page needed]
  37. ^ "Holiday Travelers to Find I-79 Nonstop from Amma". Charleston Gazette. November 28, 1974.[page needed]
  38. ^ "New I-79 Stretch Will Open Today". Charleston Gazette. November 13, 1975.[page needed]
  39. ^ Charleston Daily Mail. November 18, 1977. ((cite news)): Missing or empty |title= (help)[page needed]
  40. ^ "I-79 Opening Today in Greene County". Daily Courier. Prescott, Arizona. July 25, 1975.[page needed]
  41. ^ "Interstate 79 opened in Erie". Valley Independent. September 4, 1976.[page needed]
  42. ^ "Pennsylvania Highways: Interstate 79". Pennsylvania Highways. Retrieved March 22, 2022.[self-published source]
  43. ^ "'Missing links' take shape at I-79/Parkway West". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  44. ^ Federal Highway Administration, National Highway Planning Network GIS data version 2005.08
  45. ^ a b "Pennsylvania Exit Numbering" (PDF). Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. Retrieved October 2, 2007.
  46. ^ Panuska, Mallory (December 22, 2010). "Gateway Connector opens today". Times West Virginian. Fairmont, West Virginia. Retrieved December 22, 2010.
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