Interstate 79

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Interstate 79 marker

Main route of the Interstate Highway System
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Interstate 79 (abbreviated I-79) is an Interstate Highway in the eastern United States, designated from Interstate 77 in Charleston, West Virginia to Pennsylvania Route 5 and Pennsylvania Route 290 in Erie, Pennsylvania. It is a primary thoroughfare through western Pennsylvania and West Virginia, as well as an important corridor to Buffalo, New York, and the Canadian border.

In West Virginia, Interstate 79 is known as the Jennings Randolph Expressway. In the three most northern counties it is signed as part of the High Tech Corridor. Through most of Pennsylvania, it is known as the Raymond P. Shafer Highway.


Route description

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 1000 to 1200 feet (300 to 360 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]

I-79 begins at a three-way directional Y interchange with Interstate 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 twice — at Frametown and Sutton - and never strays more than about 15 to 20 miles (25 to 30 km) from it.[2][3]

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