US 60 in West Virginia
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US 60 is a US Highway in the US state of West Virginia. The road forms an east-west route through the west and south of the state, from the Kentucky border through Huntington and Charleston to the Virginia border. US 60 is 285 kilometers long in West Virginia.
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US 60 west of St. Albans.
US 60 mostly parallels Interstate 64, except between Charleston and Crawley, where US 60 takes an inland route that is shorter, but slower, than I-64. The route first follows the Ohio River valley, later the Kanawha River valley. The rest leads through a very hilly and very densely wooded area. There are quite a few towns on the route, there are relatively few roads east of Charleston, and US 60 is usually the only through route. From White Sulfur Springs on the Virginia border, US 60 merges onto I-64.
Western West Virginia
The Big Sandy River forms the boundary between Kentucky and West Virginia. US 60 in Kentucky comes from Catlettsburg and crosses the river to Kenova. US 60 then follows the Ohio River valley east to Huntington. Almost the entire riverbank has been urbanised. Interstate 64 runs parallel to US 60. East of Huntington, US 60 leaves the Ohio River valley, but heads east through one of West Virginia’s few larger valleys. This valley between Huntington and Charleston is relatively urbanized. Between Hurricane and Nitro, US 60 bypasses part of this valley via a route through the hills.
From St. Albans, US 60 crosses the bank of the Kanawha River. This valley is also urbanized, the US 60 leads mostly through built-up areas to the capital Charleston. In the west of Charleston, the river is crossed, after which the road continues through the center of Charleston and then parallels I-64 and I-77 for some time on the bank of the Kanawha River. Substantial parts of US 60 have 4 lanes here. At Chelyan, the routes split from US 60 and I-64.
Eastern West Virginia
The US 60 / Midland Trail.
US 60 then cuts off part of the route from I-64 through the Kanawha River valley. This is one of the few larger river valleys in West Virginia, and the immediate vicinity of US 60 is therefore somewhat urbanized, with village after village, driving long distances through semi-built-up areas. However, the wider region is much more sparsely populated. US 60 takes on a more secondary character from Gauley Bridge. The road here becomes much more winding and has more height differences.
About 80 kilometers east of Charleston it crosses US 19. The road then follows a 60-kilometer stretch through the forested mountains to I-64 at Sam Black Church. This section is winding and leads through narrow valleys with few flat and open areas. The easternmost portion of the route again parallels I-64. The mountains get higher here, but the valleys also get wider. After White Sulfur Springs, US 60 merges into Interstate 64, then the Virginia border follows. US 60 in Virginia then continues to Lexington.
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The predecessor of US 60 was the Midland Trail, an auto trail that ran from Washington to Los Angeles. It was one of the first marked transcontinental routes in the United States.
US 60 was created in 1926. The route in West Virginia has not changed significantly since then, but its throughput declined sharply with the construction of I-64 between 1960 and 1988. The section between Beckley and US 60 in eastern West Virginia was missing for a long time, making US 60 of ongoing importance for a long time to come.
US 60 runs through the Ohio River and Kanawha River valleys, the only parts of West Virginia that are somewhat flatter, providing much more activity and places than elsewhere. Nearly the entire western half of US 60 runs continuously through small and somewhat larger towns. US 60 was once the main thoroughfare of many places. Partly because of this, I-64 was constructed parallel to US 60. However, in the middle of the state I-64 coincides with I-77 and runs via the West Virginia Turnpike, the reason that US 60 was not followed here is that the highway could then open up the larger regional city of Beckley, while US 60 on this section does not pass through important places. US 60 is shorter, but I-64 is significantly faster.