Four truths about Interstate 79

A column by Matt Harvey, assistant managing editor of The Exponent Telegram

Traveling from Charleston to Morgantown used to be pretty much stress-free back then for the first 100-125 miles, unless it was the morning of a Mountaineer game day.

Now, even the most remote stretch, encompassing the Amma, Wallback, Big Otter, Servia Road and Frametown exits between Clendenin and Sutton, is busy.

And the area between Jane Lew and Morgantown stays hoppin’ even after dark.

This indicates at least four truths about I-79 as it closes in on its 50th birthday in West Virginia (in 2017).

First, a lot of travelers are using Interstate 79 as a thoroughfare. Anyone who pays attention to the license plates can see that, especially in the late spring, summer and early autumn. A lot of license plates on the four lane are from out of state (including many from Canada).

Second, the development of the Marcellus and Utica shales has had a tremendous impact on vehicle traffic along the interstate.

A convoy of water trucks heading up the interstate early in the morning is a common sight.

And pickup trucks sporting oil-and-gas-field business placards, informal window decorations or Texas, Louisiana, Wyoming, North Dakota or Oklahoma plates also are commonplace.

Third, the interstate is showing signs either of growing pains or old age…

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