Scenic USA - West Virginia
Each day Scenic USA presents a new and interesting photo feature from somewhere in the United States. Chosen from a wide variety
of historic sites, city scenes, backcountry byways, points of interest and America's best parklands, this site offers the viewer hundreds
of unique vacation destinations and photographic subjects. Each feature is coupled with a brief explanation. For further detailed
information, links to other sites are provided, but are never to be considered an endorsement.
Not long after the New River Gorge Bridge was completed, east coast travelers soon discovered a short cut between West Virginia's I-79 and I-77. Saving about 35 minutes on this north-south route between Sutton and Beckley, U.S. Route 19 experienced a 10 fold jump in traffic during its first 20 years.
Before Corridor L was completed, this region of West Virginia remained isolated because of its rugged terrain and lack of major roads. In 1964, the Presidents Appalachian Regional Commission emphasized area roads were narrow, winding, very slow and unsafe. Dubbed Corridor L, the route between Sutton and Beckley became the focus of the Appalachian Development Highway System. The 75 mile link, costing 175 million dollars, was completed in 1978.
In this view, among autumn's bright foliage on Route 19, it's easy to spot the huge scars where the four-lane highway takes a straighter course through the mountains. A large portion of state and federal highway funds were used to construct the New River Gorge Bridge. A modern marvel in itself, the bridge is one of the world's longest steel single-span arch bridges in existance, becoming a focal point along the highway since its completion.
Upgrades to the corridor continued, widening to four lanes over the entire 75 miles. Because the highway passes of a string of towns and speed limits fluctuate between 35 and 65 mph, this route has earned the moniker, world's greatest speed trap.
Although it's unofficial, the scenic drive along Corridor L leads West Virginia travelers to some of the state’s most scenic wonders. Along with the New River Gorge Visitor Center, US Route 19 passes Summersville Lake (inset), plenty of Gauley River Whitewater, Carnifex Ferry Battlefield, Babcock State Park (and its grist mill - inset), the Thurmond ghost town, the New River Gorge National River, Little Beaver State Park and Hawks Nest State Park.
Sutton to Beckley - Map
Copyright © 2012 Benjamin Prepelka
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