Travel

I-77 and I-79 vs I-90

  • Last Updated:
  • Jul 12th, 2018 3:54 pm
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[OP]
Member
Feb 10, 2015
315 posts
4 upvotes
Hamilton, ON

I-77 and I-79 vs I-90

I took my familly to Boston last year and drive was great. We used I-90 on the way to Boston. We are planning a trip to Charleston in SC and according to Google Maps I-77 and I-79 is the way to go.
What i am interested is comparasion of these highways regarding curves. Reason I am asking is thaf 77,79 are very curvy and I dont want my kids to get motion sicness.
I guess I want to compare these 2 highways against I-90. I figured if they were able to handle I-90 on the way to Boston and curves are similar to 77,79 then great.
Anyway any feedback would be much appreciated.
20 replies
Deal Fanatic
Feb 7, 2017
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Eastern Ontario
I-77 and I-79 are definitely more hilly & curvey than I-90... the latter if you look at a map pretty much runs in a straight west to east line Buffalo to Boston

If you want straighter roads heading to Charleston out of the GTA you need to look at:

I-90 to Syracuse NY
Or the 401 to I-81 to Syracuse
Then I-81 south to I-64
I-64 east to the I-295 around Richmond VA (aka the Richmond Bypass)
Then onto the I-95 South to the I-26 which will take you on into Charleston

Have driven all of these
They are almost entirely straight lines, and good roads

The downside...
* It will take you longer to go this way
* The I-95 is pretty busy, as it is the major Eastern Seaboard North-South artery
* Don’t be fooled by your GPS... and end up going closer to Boston or Washington DC to pick up the I-95... the traffic anywhere near the major east coast cities is atrocious and a huge time sucker... even if your GPS tells you the route is shorter in length
Deal Fanatic
Nov 24, 2013
5139 posts
1748 upvotes
Kingston, ON
I haven’t done 79, but I did drive 77 from Charleston to Charlotte over a decade ago now. Driving through WV (or the mountainous parts of PA, for that matter) you can’t get around the fact that you’re driving through the Appalachian Mountains. It’s all Interstate highway, so they’ve straightened it out, made the curves as gentle as they can, but there’s going to be some curves where you’re slowing down to 50-55 mph instead of your typical 65-70 mph highway speed.

Motion sickness can be unpredictable. My wife gets it so I totally understand. I think you’ll be fine though. It’s not a tight, windy backroad; it’s an Interstate designed for truck traffic. Just stick to the right lane, go the speed limit or slower, and it should be smooth and imperceptible to passengers. Lower speed = lower lateral acceleration around curves.

Just came back from Maine and the stretch of A10 between Sherbrooke and Montreal wasn’t dissimilar. Just gentle curves on what’s still a high speed highway.
[OP]
Member
Feb 10, 2015
315 posts
4 upvotes
Hamilton, ON
PointsHubby wrote:
Jul 7th, 2018 9:19 am
I-77 and I-79 are definitely more hilly & curvey than I-90... the latter if you look at a map pretty much runs in a straight west to east line Buffalo to Boston

If you want straighter roads heading to Charleston out of the GTA you need to look at:

I-90 to Syracuse NY
Or the 401 to I-81 to Syracuse
Then I-81 south to I-64
I-64 east to the I-295 around Richmond VA (aka the Richmond Bypass)
Then onto the I-95 South to the I-26 which will take you on into Charleston

Have driven all of these
They are almost entirely straight lines, and good roads

The downside...
* It will take you longer to go this way
* The I-95 is pretty busy, as it is the major Eastern Seaboard North-South artery
* Don’t be fooled by your GPS... and end up going closer to Boston or Washington DC to pick up the I-95... the traffic anywhere near the major east coast cities is atrocious and a huge time sucker... even if your GPS tells you the route is shorter in length
How much in time is this route longer?
Deal Fanatic
Feb 7, 2017
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Eastern Ontario
Mike15 wrote:
Jul 7th, 2018 9:28 am
I haven’t done 79, but I did drive 77 from Charleston to Charlotte over a decade ago now. Driving through WV (or the mountainous parts of PA, for that matter) you can’t get around the fact that you’re driving through the Appalachian Mountains. It’s all Interstate highway, so they’ve straightened it out, made the curves as gentle as they can, but there’s going to be some curves where you’re slowing down to 50-55 mph instead of your typical 65-70 mph highway speed.

Motion sickness can be unpredictable. My wife gets it so I totally understand. I think you’ll be fine though. It’s not a tight, windy backroad; it’s an Interstate designed for truck traffic. Just stick to the right lane, go the speed limit or slower, and it should be smooth and imperceptible to passengers. Lower speed = lower lateral acceleration around curves.

Just came back from Maine and the stretch of A10 between Sherbrooke and Montreal wasn’t dissimilar. Just gentle curves on what’s still a high speed highway.
Agree with most of this.

But having also driven all these roads, I would say that although there are parts of I-77 that might compare to the Eastern Townships Autoroute 10 (say south of Charlotte NC) ... the bulk of I-79 and I-77 go thru hilly Western PA, and then cross thru the Appalacians... and that is NOTHING like Autoroute 10 Sherbrooke to Montreal (a quick look at Google Maps would prove this out).

More concerning, is that I-79 does not connect directly to I-77 ... there is a cross country bit on Hwy 19 for ~110 Kms.

DISTANCE / TIMING

Hamilton to I-90 West to I-79 South - I-79 to Hwy 19 - Hwy 19 to I-77 - I-77 to I-26 - I-26 to Charleston
Will run you ~ 15 Hours Driving Time and about 1500 Kms

Hamilton to I-90 East to Syracuse - I-81 South to I-64 to Richmond - Richmond Bypass I-295 to I-95 South - I-95 to I-26 to Charleston
Will run you ~ 19 Hours Driving Time and about 2000 Kms

Is it worth the extra time ?

Well that’s up to you.
Deal Fanatic
Nov 24, 2013
5139 posts
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Kingston, ON
It’s definitely windier through WV than A10 is aside from the bend I was thinking of by Eastman, but my point is there are other Interstates/Autoroutes/400-series where it’s not just a straight line and you do have to slow down in sections. I-81 through Syracuse and Bingo have that old ‘narrow interstate winding around a downtown’ thing going on too, and any route through PA south of Bingo gets windy & mountainous too, whether you stay on 81 to VA or cross over to 95.

I don’t know how Google Maps wants to route you, but I-79 does meet up with I-77 northeast of Charleston WV. 119 is a parallel road that OP would never have to get on.
Deal Fanatic
Feb 7, 2017
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Eastern Ontario
Mike15 wrote:
Jul 7th, 2018 7:10 pm
It’s definitely windier through WV than A10 is aside from the bend I was thinking of by Eastman, but my point is there are other Interstates/Autoroutes/400-series where it’s not just a straight line and you do have to slow down in sections. I-81 through Syracuse and Bingo have that old ‘narrow interstate winding around a downtown’ thing going on too, and any route through PA south of Bingo gets windy & mountainous too, whether you stay on 81 to VA or cross over to 95.

I don’t know how Google Maps wants to route you, but I-79 does meet up with I-77 northeast of Charleston WV. 119 is a parallel road that OP would never have to get on.
I-79 meets I-77 at Charleston WV on a Southwestern course, then one would need to drive Southeast on I-77 / I-64 to head onto Charlotte NC (so go west to go east) doesn’t really make a lot of sense... Hence why Google Maps suggests Hwy 19 (not 119 as you have referenced) to foreshorten the triangle affect
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Oct 23, 2008
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I'm heading down to Orlando, which passes by Charleston, the I-77 is the route I'm taking.

I-190 through buffalo to I-90 to I-79 to hwy-19 to I-64/77 to I-26 to I-95
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[OP]
Member
Feb 10, 2015
315 posts
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Hamilton, ON
Well what about avoiding taking I-79 altogether and go route I-90 West then I-77 South. It is only 23 min slower. How much curves will avoid going this way

Thanks for all suggestions so far
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Feb 7, 2017
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Stribor40 wrote:
Jul 8th, 2018 11:15 am
Well what about avoiding taking I-79 altogether and go route I-90 West then I-77 South. It is only 23 min slower. How much curves will avoid going this way

Thanks for all suggestions so far
Ya, I looked at that as an option too...

Ohio isn’t so much about the curves, as it is the traffic ... I-77 means you either got to go thru Cleveland, or around it... and onto Akron.

Plus then you are still left with the part of I-77 that twists it’s way thru WV & the Appalachians... the twistiest part of I-77 that you were looking to avoid to begin with.
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I get kids & long road trips. No fun. And the longer the worse it can be. Add in someone with motion sickness, and it can be a frickin nightmare just to get to Grammas 2 hours away. Truth is if you want straight roads then you are not going to get much straighter than interstates on flat land. I-90 is a classic... flat & straight most of the way from Boston in the east to Seattle In the West. Same is true for I-95, the major north south corridor in America connecting Maine thru to Florida. West of New England, and the geography changes... the Appalachian Highland Ridge extends on a northeast to southwest axis from Newfoundland to Alabama... if one is driving to the east coast, chances are high you are going to have to cross one of the Mountain Ranges and contend with some of its hilly sidelines as well.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appalachian_Mountains

Having driven extensively in NA, I would say the middle bits thru WV - TN - NC are the most rolling ... (mind you they are also some of the most scenic ... Allegheny Mountains - Blue Ridge Mountains - Great Smoky Mountains ... Tied with my personal faves farther to the north in NY - VT - NH ... and their Adirondacks, Green Mountains, and White Mountains). So it’s a big trade off. Take the route with the least amount of elevation and twists crossing south of the Adirondacks in NY and with just the tail end of the Poconos in PA, or go full on thru the foothills & Ridge PA - WV - NC).

Google Maps, says there is a 4 Hour difference. If you do decide to do the more westerly hilly route, ya might want to just plan more stops for the kids to cope / recover ... which in my mind negates any time saving. But ya, there’s no denying it’s more scenic.
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Stribor40 wrote:
Jul 8th, 2018 12:48 pm
Is this what you are decribing

That's not too bad... it's like driving on the DVP, just a hell a lot longer in time. Whoever that OP is, they a left lane hog. Thought you had to stay right unless passing.
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[OP]
Member
Feb 10, 2015
315 posts
4 upvotes
Hamilton, ON
Ok my last questioni guess would be at what point along I-77,79 curves are gone?

Thanks
Sr. Member
Jul 20, 2012
545 posts
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Toronto
I've done both I-77 and I-79. I liked I-79 better mainly because it was more scenic. The major curves were around Beckley VA and further south by the tunnels. It's less like the Parkway once you're in North Carolina. The view from one of the rest stops is worth stopping to look at.
Like others have said avoid I-95. I took that route to Virginia Beach and I was stuck in stop-go traffic around Washington for 3 hours. I was told it's normal.
Last edited by Brian71 on Jul 9th, 2018 8:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Feb 7, 2017
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Eastern Ontario
Stribor40 wrote:
Jul 8th, 2018 12:48 pm
Is this what you are decribing

Yup,that is pretty much how it looks

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interstate_77
Stribor40 wrote:
Jul 8th, 2018 6:35 pm
Ok my last questioni guess would be at what point along I-77,79 curves are gone?

Thanks
Hills and curves dissipate once you are in N.C. approaching Charlotte.

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