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  1. #1

    Default US 19 in central West Virginia?

    Friends,

    The quickest of looks by me indicates US 19 from I-77 at Prosperity, WV to I-79 northeast of Charleston is 4-lane limited access and looks to be of fairly recent construction. It would thus appear to be a good route to run from I-77 starting in western NC to reach I-79 and pass by Pittsburgh to Erie and on to Buffalo NY.

    Any recent experiences on US 19 east of Charleston, WV?

    Other routes from Raleigh, NC to Buffalo appear involve I-95 and a load of two-lane roads through north-central PA. Mapquest shows I-99 and US 219 from the PA Turnpike all the way to Buffalo being around 60 miles shorter, but with a plethora of small towns and much in the way of 2-lane roads. Besides that, reaching the PA Turnpike at Breezewood via Falmouth and Winchester, VA, is a fairly lousy run from Raleigh to begin with, in my humble opinion.

    Any thoughts?

    Foy

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    I think your initial look appears to be correct.

    Last Summer, I drove the section of US-19 between I-77 and the New River Gorge Bridge, and that was 4 lane the whole way. There were a few cross streets and stop lights, but still a reasonably fast route. It looks like you are correct that it remains 4 lanes all the way to I-79.

    My roadtrip vehicle also has a set of new tires from the Walmart right along that highway, after taking a corner a bit too sharp and puncturing a sidewall on a high curb in the town of Fayetteville. Not usually my first choice for a place to get new tires... but I could easily limp there on my spare, and I was back on the road in about an hour.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    From what I can find, it's not freeway-grade, it's "expressway-grade" but it's heavily used for exactly what you are looking for. Watch out for Summersville, it used to be known as the world's largest speed trap, the cops set up in the Walmart lot. Speed limit drops from 65 to 50 at the city limits.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default My Preferred 'Back' Roads

    While it's admittedly been a few years since I've driven consistently on the east coast, I did live in central New York, with family in Virginia and North Carolina. And I see no good reason to use Interstates when there are other roads available that require driving but still have decent speed limits and bypasses around most major towns. So, if you're resigned to the fact that the drive from Raleigh to Buffalo is going to require an overnight stop (At 635 miles by the most 'efficient' route, that should be a given.) then here's what I would do. Your choice(s) may vary.

    The two main routes to use are US-29 in Virginia and US-15 in Maryland and Pennsylvania. Both are four-lane divided highways for the most part and go through some comfortably scenic areas, but certain non-obvious connecting roads make them even better. From Raleigh, head up NC-86 to Danville VA where you'd get on US-29. Fortunately, the bypass around Danville is on your side of the city. Follow US-29 up to Culpepper VA where you'll switch over to US-15 and stay on that through Maryland and into Pennsylvania. Just north of Gettysburg PA is your first back road to the back road - to avoid much of the surface traffic through Harrisburg. At York Springs PA, leave US-15 and take PA-94/PA-34 up through Mount Holly Springs towards Carlisle and get on I-81 north. Cross the Susquehanna river and take US-22/US-322 north. This is a bit faster than using US-11/US-15 up the west side of the river. When US-22 takes you back over to the west side of the river, switch back to following US-15 north. When US-11 and US-15 split and go their separate ways, take US-11. Again this is just to set you up to avoid some towns and traffic. Just a couple of miles after the two highways split, make a left onto PA-147 north which will become I-180 into Williamsport where you will once again return to US-15 north into New York. At Corning hop on I-86 west and then I-380 north. For the final run into the Buffalo area, leave I-380 at Exit 7 and take NY-408/NY-36 west and north to US-20A.

    I think you'd find such a routing to your liking, but as always the choice is yours.

    AZBuck
    Last edited by AZBuck; 05-14-2015 at 08:50 AM.

  5. #5

    Default Nice drive after all

    Following our discussion here, I did some more checking around on the Interwebs and found a plethora of forum entries decrying the horrific "speed trap" in Summersville. I also have neighbors who are WV natives and they cautioned me about Summersville and had in fact been cited there themselves. The consensus said "stay away".

    Well, that's the best way to get me to try something--imply it shouldn't be done. We took the 46 mile shortcut on both legs of the trip and it worked out fine. Arrived at the south end in the early morning, stopped for breakfast and fuel in Summersville, ran up to the I-79 end without incident or worry. On the return trip, we stopped in Summersville again for lunch and fuel, again traversing the segment without incident.

    The speed limit is 65, it's 4-lane all the way, some grade crossings and stoplights scattered about Beckley, Fayetteville, and Summersville, but wide open north of Summersville. We judiciously observed the 50 mph speed limit where posted, and we gave the ample warning signs of the change a 10 on a scale of 10. In short, you've got to work at it to miss them, which leads me to believe the various outcries about the whole matter are nothing but sour grapes.

    Thanks for the heads-up.

    Foy

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Well done!

    Foy,

    Thanks for checking that road and for the timely report about the enforcement issues. I've made a point over the years of driving through supposed speed-trap areas -- I've seen lots of people stopped -- but never happened to me. (I know I shouldn't temp fate... but I've never had a speeding infraction.)

    Mark

  7. #7

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Sedenquist View Post
    Foy,

    Thanks for checking that road and for the timely report about the enforcement issues. I've made a point over the years of driving through supposed speed-trap areas -- I've seen lots of people stopped -- but never happened to me. (I know I shouldn't temp fate... but I've never had a speeding infraction.)

    Mark
    The pleasure is all mine, Mark.

    For clarity, the stretch of US 19 from I-77 just north of Beckley, WV on the south end to I-79 near Sutton, WV on the north end is about 67 miles in length. Travelers choosing this route from the Pittsburgh, eastern Ohio, and points north (including plenty of Canadians) to reach I-77 to get to, among other destinations, Myrtle Beach, SC, save about 46 miles vs staying on I-79 to Parkersburg, WV before picking up I-77 through Charleston, WV and on down to Beckley from there.

    Part of my decision was some information suggesting I-77 approaching Charleston can be difficult during rush hour and is slow-going regardless. Plus, the segment of I-77 between Beckley and Charleston stuck in my memory from a 2002 trip as being awful in terms of the condition of the roadway, long grades, coal trucks, etc. So, I just decided to make my life easier altogether and take US 19 and take my time.

    The US 19 shortcut is also very scenic (particularly Summersville to I-79) and includes the New River Bridge and its observation area immediately off of US 19.

    Foy

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    It also saves on tolls.

  9. #9

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by glc View Post
    It also saves on tolls.
    Yes, sir, it does. I forgot to mention that. I believe I'd seen the I-77 tolls would amount to a shade over $20 each way, and I believe we ended up with $3.40 each way on I-77 by taking the US 19 shortcut. Makes me wonder if I correctly understood what the toll schedule would have been had I stayed on I-77 only to Charleston where I'd have picked up I-79. Perhaps the $20 level is only reached by staying on I-77 all the way through WV to Parkersburg.

    Foy

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    The only toll section of I-77 is from south of Beckley to south of Charleston, and the rate for cars and pickups under 7'6" tall is $6.00 - 3 mainline plazas at $2 each. Taller vehicles, big trucks, trailers, RV's are more, of course.

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