Interstate 470 travels south from I-70 near St. Clairsville, Ohio to the Elm Grove community in east Wheeling, West Virginia. The freeway takes a more linear path as compared to the older urban route along Interstate 70 to the north. It also provides the main trucking route across the area, as I-70 passes through the Wheeling Tunnel near Downtown, Wheeling.
2015 traffic counts peak at 44,456 vehicles per day (vpd) on I-470 across the Ohio River bridge. A comparable amount takes I-70 through Wheeling, with 46,626 vpd recorded by WVDOT in 2014. Within Ohio, ODOT recorded 30,810 vpd along I-470 to the north of Bellaire in 2012, while I-70 topped out at 27,540 vpd at a location just east of the split with Interstate 470.
The bypass loop around Wheeling was part of the statewide urban Interstate numerology submitted to the American Association of State Highway Officials (AASHO) by the Ohio Department of Highways. A map published by Ohio in March 1958 assigned Route D-70 to the loop. This eventually changed to Route 470, and was approved as part of the statewide plan by AASHO on November 10, 1958.
Interstate 470 was constructed through West Virginia between 1971 and 1978 at a cost of $142 million. The four mile long bypass of Wheeling includes a four level interchange with U.S. 250. It was the most expensive part of the West Virginia Interstate system constructed at the time.1
Wheeling Chamber of Commerce map, circa 1976, showing the projected path of Interstate 470 to the south.
The tied arch bridge carrying Interstate 470 across the Ohio River was constructed starting in 1975.2 I-470 in Ohio opened to traffic following a ribbon cutting ceremony attended by Governors Richard Celeste and Jay Rockefeller on November 18, 1983.3
The Ohio portion of the freeway closed on September 12, 1996 when voids were discovered beneath the roadway. The formations were the result of abandoned underground coal mines and shafts. Work to stabilize the roadway required the digging of a 1,700 foot long, 150 foot wide hole at a depth of 70 feet. Once filled in, the freeway reopened to traffic on December 20, 1996.4