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Interstate 77

 

Routing

Interstate 77 connects the eastern Great Lakes region with Appalachia and the Southeast. Cities it serves are Columbia, Charlotte, Charleston, Akron, and Cleveland. Largely following the original route of U.S. 21, Interstate 77 replaced the U.S. 21 through West Virginia and Ohio, and it closely parallels or overlaps U.S. 21 in Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

For a time in the 1980s, Interstate 77 ended at Interstate 20 rather than Interstate 26 near Columbia. The section between Interstates 20 and 26 had been proposed for several years, but it was not completed until the 1990s. Some 1980s era maps displayed the first five mile segment of Interstate 77 between Interstate 26 and South Carolina 48 as Interstate 326. However a visit to the area in 1988 revealed guide signs displaying "To South Carolina 48" with no indication of Interstate 326.

Parallel/Historic U.S. Routes

Interstate 77 largely follows U.S. 21 from Columbia north to Wytheville and replaces U.S. 21 from there north to Cleveland.

History

Interstate 77 was extended to the south on April 22, 1995, as a result of action by AASHTO. This extension brought Interstate 77 south from its former terminus at Interstate 20 to its new terminus at Interstate 26. Interstate 326, which was briefly in existence on the freeway section between Interstate 26 and South Carolina 48 southeast of Columbia, was subsumed by the extended Interstate 77. The gap between Interstate 20 and South Carolina 48 was closed prior to the renumbering. The temporary routing of Interstate 77, signed on Interstate 20 and Interstate 26 around Columbia, was also eliminated in 1995.

The two-lane West Virginia Turnpike opened to traffic on November 8, 1954; it was later added to the mileage of Interstate 77 and a portion of Interstate 64 in West Virginia. The project to upgrade the turnpike from two to four lanes was completed and opened to traffic on September 2, 1987.2

Planned Improvements

Construction is complete at Exit 82 in Rock Hill, South Carolina. The $36.3 million project sees improvements at the Cherry Road (Business U.S. 21) and Celenese Road interchanges. A folded diamond currently exists at Celenese Road while the junction with Cherry Road is a partial cloverleaf. To improve access to these arterials, a collector/distributor road system is being constructed between the two exits to improve access to both roadways. Also the northbound Interstate 77 bridge over the Catawba River is being widened. These projects are expected to be complete by September 2004.1

Another project underway is the reconstruction of Interstate 71, Interstate 77, and Interstate 90 in Cleveland as part of the Innerbelt Project.

Highway Guides

Southern Terminus - Interstate 26 - Cayce, South Carolina
Perspective from Interstate 77 south
The final mile of Interstate 77 southbound, just beyond the Exit 2 interchange with South Carolina 35. Interstate 20 and 95 trailblazers are affixed above the Interstate 26 panels. This practice is common in the city of Columbia area and can be found on associated Interstate 126 signs. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (06/08/03).
A good distance before Interstate 77 partitions into ramps for Interstate 26 east and west, Exit 1 departs for the U.S. 21/176/321 trifecta. The ramp is a connector of the Interstate 77 westward alignment to those highways. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (06/08/03).
The Exit 1 flyover in the background, an auxiliary guide sign is posted for the Columbia Airport via Interstate 26 west. The Metropolitan airport is situated along South Carolina 302/Airport Boulevard via Exit 113. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (06/08/03).
Westward view of the Interstate 26/77 and U.S. 21-176-321 stack interchange. The junction is quite pervasive with multiple level flyovers to allow for high-speed connections. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (08/5/00).
The southern terminus of Interstate 77 at the Interstate 26 ramp split. These ramps are not assigned an exit number and the associated signs have had their Interstate 20 and 95 trailblazers removed. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (06/08/03).
The Interstate 77 conclusion as seen from the Exit 1 ramp to U.S. 21-176-321 to the northeast. The flyover in the foreground is that of Interstate 77 south to Interstate 26 east. This ramp allows traffic from the Great Lakes region and western Mid-Atlantic to access Interstate 95 and points south. The flyover beyond this ramp is that of the Exit 1 connector from which this photo was taken. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (08/5/00).
A wider view of the expansive Interstate 26/77 interchange from the northeast. When the first five miles of Interstate 77 opened, it was disjointed from the mainline north of Interstate 20. This stretch was signed as "To South Carolina 48" until the gap was bridged. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (08/5/00).
Perspective from Interstate 26 east
Interstate 26 is six lanes wide as it straddles the western reaches of the Columbia metropolitan area. This southbound scene shows the two mile guide sign for Exit 116 to Interstate 77 north. Before Interstate 26 reaches that junction, Exit 115 for U.S. 21-176-321 is encountered at Exit 115. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (06/08/03).
Interstate 26 eastbound expands to four lanes in anticipation of the Interstate 77 northbound beginning. Ahead is the Exit 115 diamond interchange with U.S. 21-176-321. Before Interstate 77 was completed between Interstate 20 and South Carolina 48, Temp Interstate 77 shields were posted along Interstates 20 and 26. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (06/08/03).
The departure of the eastbound ramp to Exit 115. The overlapped U.S. routes serve the western suburb of Cayce to the north. Southward the three routes split in four miles, with U.S. 321 continue onward another 12 miles to Gaston. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (06/08/03).
Wintertime view of the Exit 115 eastbound sign bridge of Interstate 26. While U.S. 321 travels south toward Savannah, U.S. 21 and 176 continue in an overlapped fashion for 13 miles to their split north of Sandy Run. Eventually U.S. 21 migrates toward the city of Orangeburg. U.S. 176 continues to shadow Interstate 26 southeast to the town of Goose Creek outside of North Charleston. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (12/15/01).
A second reminder of the lane allotment for Interstate 77 north on Interstate 26 east. Interstate 26 and 77 compose two-thirds of the Columbia belt-line. Interstate 20 represents the northern third. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (06/08/03).
The departure of Interstate 77 northbound from the left-hand side of Interstate 26 east. The first interchange of Interstate 77 is Exit 2 with South Carolina 35. This diamond interchange opened to traffic during the year 2000. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (06/08/03).
Another wintertime perspective of the Interstate 77 southern terminus. The camera flash illuminates the guide signs here due to the dimness of the low winter sun-angle. Motorists continuing southward on Interstate 26 will encounter U.S. 21 and 176 again in four miles at Exit 119. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (12/15/01).
Perspective from Interstate 26 west
Entering the Columbia metropolitan area from the southwest, Interstate 26 nears the Exit 116 departure of the northbound beginning of Interstate 77. The beginning five mile segment of Interstate 77 was displayed on some maps as Interstate 326. This number was removed from maps with the extension of Interstate 77 southward from Dentsville and Fort Jackson. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (12/15/01).
Unlike the two lane ramp that Interstate 26 affords for Interstate 77 north, the westbound ramp for Interstate 77 includes only one lane. Within one half mile Interstate 26 meets U.S. 21-176-321, the Charleston Highway. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (12/15/01).
Exit 115 diverges from Interstate 26 westbound within the Interstate 77 stack interchange complex. The network of flyover ramps are completely visible from the Interstate 26 mainline. Downtown Columbia is 11 miles to the northeast via Interstate 26 and Interstate 126. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (12/15/01).
Northern Terminus - Interstate 90 - Cleveland, Ohio
Perspective from Interstate 77 north
Northbound Interstate 77 approaching Exit 162A, Woodland Avenue/East 30th Street, one-half mile. This overhead sign points to the end of Interstate 77 approaching in two miles in typical Ohio fashion. There are no "END Interstate 77" shields, and this is the only notification motorists are afforded that Interstate 77 is about to end. Traffic must take either Interstate 90 or enter downtown Cleveland, perhaps via 9th Street. Photo taken by Andy Field (05/25/02).
The northbound Exit 162A off-ramp departure for Woodland Avenue/East 30th Street. Displayed on this sign bridge are the last three exits of Interstate 77. The pull-through panel displays Interstate 90 in place of Interstate 77. This trend will continue through to the terminus. Photo taken by Tim Kubat (April-June 2006).
Brown recreational guide signage for the Cleveland Browns Stadium, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and Great Lakes Science Center via Interstate 90 with a connection to Ohio 2. Photo taken by Tim Kubat (April-June 2006).
The Cleveland Skyline dominates the horizon as Interstate 77 northbound nears Exit 162B for East 22nd and 14th Streets. The left-hand panel for Interstate 90 advises motorists to move into the left lane to access that freeway. Photo taken by Andy Field (05/25/02).
With the Cleveland Indians home Jacobs Field in the background, Interstate 77 sheds the Exit 162B off-ramp for East 22nd and 14th Streets. One exit remains, that of Exit 162B for East 9th Street into downtown Cleveland. Photo taken by Tim Kubat (April-June 2006).
At Exit 162B for East 9th Street, Interstate 77 splits into its respective ramps for Interstate 90. The mainline of Interstate 77 essentially defaults onto Interstate 90 east. Traffic utilizing the left lane will turn to the southwest via Interstate 90 west. Photo taken by Andy Field (05/25/02).
The final exit of Interstate 77, where Exit 163 exits onto East 9th Street into downtown Cleveland to access Jacobs Field and downtown areas. The left lane defaults onto Eastbound Interstate 90 toward Erie. The northwest Pennsylvania city is 96 miles to the northeast. Photos taken by Tim Kubat (April-June 2006) and Andy Field (05/25/02).
Perspective from Interstate 90/Inner Belt Freeway east
Shortly after Interstate 90 east and Interstate 71 north merge together, this sign bridge announces the pending interchange with Interstate 77 and East 9th Street (Exit 172A) on eastbound Interstate 90. Photos taken by Steve Hanudel (06/18/06) and Tim Kubat (April-June 2006).
Crossing the Cuyahoga River, eastbound Interstate 90 enters downtown Cleveland. The next exit is Exits 171A-B, Junction U.S. 422 and Ohio 14, followed by Exit 172A, Junction Interstate 77 south. Photo taken by Steve Hanudel (06/18/06).
After crossing the Cuyahoga River, Jacobs Field (home of Major League Baseball's Cleveland Indians) comes into view along with the Cleveland skyline. The right lane becomes exit only for U.S. 422 and Ohio 14 (Exits 171A-B). Exit 171A connects to U.S. 422 and Ohio 14 east via Broadway and Exit 171B connects to U.S. 422 and Ohio 14 west via Ontario Street to the sports facilities and downtown Cleveland. Photos taken by Steve Hanudel (06/18/06) and Tim Kubat (April-June 2006).
An Interstate 90 milepost (for Mile 171.8) is posted on the median jersey barrier as the freeway approaches the downtown Cleveland interchange. Photo taken by Steve Hanudel (06/18/06).
Eastbound Interstate 90 reaches Exit 171A, Junction U.S. 422 and Ohio 14 east, Broadway. The next exit is Exit 171B, Junction U.S. 422 and Ohio 14 west, Ontario Street. Photo taken by Steve Hanudel (06/18/06).
Shortly thereafter, eastbound Interstate 90 reaches Exit 171B, Junction U.S. 422 and Ohio 14 west, Ontario Street. This exit serves a variety of downtown attractions, sporting venues, and the financial district. Photos taken by Steve Hanudel (06/18/06) and Tim Kubat (April-June 2006).
Interstate 90/Inner Belt Freeway east meets Interstate 77 at Exit 172A. The ramp also features a connection to East 9th Street (Exit 162B of Interstate 77 north), which travels north into downtown Cleveland. Exits 172B and 172C for East 22nd Street and Carnegie Avenue depart in quick succession beyond the Interstate 77 interchange as Interstate 90 continues east. Photo taken by Steve Hanudel (06/18/06).
After the Interstate 77 interchange, eastbound Interstate 90/Inner Belt Freeway turns north toward the Ohio 2/Cleveland Memorial Shoreway interchange. A sharp, 35-mile-per-hour turn is embedded into this interchange for through traffic heading eastbound. Photo taken by Tim Kubat (April-June 2006).
Eastbound Interstate 90 meets Ohio 2 at the curve. Interstate 90 merges with Ohio 2 and continues northeast toward Erie, Pennsylvania, while Ohio 2 travels west toward Lakewood. Photo taken by Tim Kubat (April-June 2006).
Perspective from Interstate 90 west
While Interstate 90 eastbound sees off-ramps for East 22nd Street (Exit 172B) and Carnegie Avenue (Exit 172C), Interstate 90 westbound sees an exit at Prospect Avenue (Exit 173). There are no exits between this off-ramp and the southbound beginning of Interstate 77 at Exit 172. Photo taken by Jim Teresco (07/01).
Interstate 77 button copy overhead, 0.25 miles east of the northern terminus. The southbound control city is that of Akron, a municipality often referred to with Canton, situated 30 miles to the south. Photo taken by Kevin Vance (01/02).
Overheads at the southbound beginning of Interstate 77/Exit 173 on Interstate 90 westbound. Situated just 1.25 miles to the southwest is the southbound beginning of Interstate 71 and eastbound beginning of Interstate 490. Photo taken by Kevin Vance (01/02).
Perspective from Ohio 2/Cleveland Memorial Shoreway east
Traveling east on Ohio 2/Cleveland Memorial Shoreway, the freeway approaches its interchange with Interstate 90. Use Interstate 90 west (south) to Interstate 77 and Interstate 71. Photo taken by Tim Kubat (April-June 2006).
The left three lanes of eastbound Ohio 2/Cleveland Memorial Shoreway merge onto Interstate 90 east to Erie, while the right two lanes depart onto Interstate 90 west (south) to Interstate 77 and Interstate 71. Photo taken by Tim Kubat (April-June 2006).
Eastbound Ohio 2/Cleveland Memorial Shoreway meets Interstate 90 at this point. Stay right to connect to Interstate 90 west (south) to Interstate 77 and Interstate 71. Photo taken by Tim Kubat (April-June 2006).
Perspective from East 9th Street south
Now traveling south on East 9th Street, these overhead signs provide the lane allocations for Interstate 77 south and Interstate 90 west to Interstate 71 south. A ramp from East 9th Street connects directly to Interstate 77 south, forming one of the contributing lanes for the nascent freeway. Photo taken by Steve Hanudel (06/18/06).

Sources:

  1. "Officials: Interstate construction at halfway point." The Herald, South Carolina, October 5, 2003.
  2. Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Eisenhower Interstate Highway System: Previous Interstate Facts of the Day by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

Page Updated October 28, 2007.

 
Mileage

State South Carolina
Mileage 91.05
Cities Columbia, Rock Hill
Junctions Interstate 26, Interstate 20
State North Carolina
Mileage 102.31
Cities Charlotte, Mooresville, Statesville
Junctions Interstate 485, Interstate 277, Interstate 277, Interstate 85, Future Interstate 485, Interstate 40, Interstate 74
State Virginia
Mileage 69.40*
Cities Wytheville, Bluefield
Junctions Interstate 81
State West Virginia
Mileage 187.21
Cities Bluefield, Princeton, Beckley, Charleston, Parkersburg
Junctions Future Interstate 73/74, Interstate 64, Future Interstate 66, Interstate 64, Interstate 79
State Ohio
Mileage 160.13
Cities Marietta, Dover, Canton, Akron, Cleveland
Junctions Interstate 70, Interstate 277, Interstate 76, Interstate 76, Interstate 271, Interstate 80, Interstate 480, Interstate 490, Interstate 90
TOTAL 610.10
Source: October 31, 2002 Interstate Route Log and Finders List
* - 8.80 miles on I-81
Interstate 77 Annual Average Daily Traffic

State Location AADT Composite Year
Virginia Wytheville 50,000 2002
Virginia Bland 27,000 2002
Source: Virginia Department of Transportation 2002 AADT
Complete Interstate 77 AADT data.

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