|Length||1,438 mi (2,315 km)|
/ in Memphis, FL
|North end||in Erie, PA|
|States||Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania|
U.S. Route 19 (US 19) is a north–south U.S. Highway in the Eastern United States. Despite encroaching Interstate Highways, the route has remained a long-haul route, connecting the Gulf of Mexico with Lake Erie.
The highway's southern terminus is at Memphis, Florida, which is just south of St. Petersburg at an intersection with U.S. Route 41. Its northern terminus is in Erie, Pennsylvania, at an intersection with U.S. Route 20 about two miles (3 km) from the shores of Lake Erie.
US 19 runs 264 miles (425 km) along Florida's west coast from an interchange with US 41 in Memphis, south of St. Petersburg, and continues to the Georgia border north of Monticello. US 19 remains independent of I-75, even as the routes converge in the Tampa Bay Area. The route is co-signed with I-275 over the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, a cable-stayed bridge over the mouth of Tampa Bay, US 98 between Chassahowitzka and Perry, US 27 Alt. between Chiefland and Perry, and US 27 between and Perry and Capps.
According to a 2005 Dateline NBC report, part of US 19 in Florida may be the most dangerous road in the United States. A Highway Patrol test period beginning in 1998 and ending in 2003, as mandated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, showed the stretch of US 19 from Pasco County to Pinellas County to average approximately 52 deaths a year, or 262 deaths in the five-year duration of the study; 100 of these deaths were pedestrian related, making US 19 the worst road to walk on in these two counties. Multiple efforts to improve US 19 have been suggested to the FDOT, among them, an overpass strictly for left-turn lanes.
US 19 enters Georgia just south of Thomasville, concurrent with SR 3. It continues north, passing through Albany, Americus, Ellaville, Butler, Thomaston, and Zebulon. It becomes concurrent with US 41 in Griffin. It then proceeds through the western tip of Henry County, passing through Hampton, home of the Atlanta Motor Speedway, and continues north through Clayton County and Jonesboro, entering Atlanta.
US 19/US 41 travels through the south side of Atlanta as Metropolitan Parkway (formerly Stewart Avenue) and through Downtown Atlanta as Northside Drive. The concurrencies with US 41 and SR 3 end when US 19 turns east onto 14th Street in Midtown, beginning a concurrency with SR 9. It then turns north on Peachtree Street until it intersects with SR 141 in Buckhead and becomes Roswell Road. US 19 then continues north through Sandy Springs until it reaches I-285's north side. There, the concurrency with SR 9 ends and US 19 is briefly concurrent with I-285, for about 1.5 miles (2.4 km).
US 19 leaves I-285 to travel through the northern suburbs of Atlanta along SR 400. Most of this section is a limited-access road with four lanes in each direction, becoming two lanes in each direction as the highway continues away from the northern suburbs of Atlanta. It arrives in Dahlonega, where it is no longer concurrent with SR 400, before about 37 miles (60 km) of extremely curvy road, which includes a concurrency with US 129. The last major town it travels through in Georgia is Blairsville.
US 19 is co-signed with US 129 from the Georgia line to Murphy, then is co-signed with US 74, as well as US 129 as far as Graham County. US 19 and US 74 are co-signed as far as Ela, after which US 74 veers south, leaving US 19 to head into the Great Smoky Mountains. US 19 passes through the Eastern Cherokee Indian Reservation. For a brief time, US 19 is co-signed with US 276. Then US 19 is co-signed with US 23 from Lake Junaluska to Mars Hill (and with US 70 in Asheville), which closely parallels I-40 and then Future I-26.
Traversing 75.9 miles (122.1 km) from Cane River, North Carolina to Bluff City, Tennessee, US 19E first goes east to Burnsville and Spruce Pine, then north along the banks of the North Toe River to Cranberry and Elk Park, before crossing the North Carolina/Tennessee state line. Heading northeast, it goes through Roan Mountain, Hampton and Elizabethton, rendezvousing with US 19W in Bluff City.
Traversing 62.6 miles (100.7 km) from Cane River, North Carolina to Bluff City, Tennessee, US 19W goes immediately north along the banks of the Cane River to the communities of Ramseytown and Sioux, then northwest through the Unaka Range, crossing the North Carolina/Tennessee state line. At Ernestville, US 19W joins with I-26/US 23 and proceeds through Erwin, Unicoi and Johnson City. In Johnson City, it switches partners to US 11E along Bristol Highway, rendezvousing with US 19E in Bluff City.
US 19 starts again in Bluff City, heading northeast along the Volunteer Parkway (and concurrency with US 11E) to Bristol. In downtown Bristol, US 19 crosses the Tennessee/Virginia state line on State Street.
US 19 goes northeast from Bristol, parallel to I-81, until Abingdon. It then heads north to Lebanon, through the Clinch Mountains, then northeast again through the towns of Claypool Hill, Tazewell, and then finally to Bluefield, where it enters West Virginia.
US 19 enters West Virginia as a four-lane highway in Bluefield, where it narrows to two lanes as it winds northward. It later parallels I-77/I-64 until it reaches Beckley, where it goes northeasterly on an expressway-grade four-lane highway. Crossing the New River via the New River Gorge Bridge near Fayetteville, it passes through Summersville and Birch River before arriving at I-79, 5-mile (8.0 km) south of Sutton. From there, it runs concurrent with I-79 from exit 57 to exit 67 at Flatwoods. Then, it exits and reverts to a two-lane highway, more or less following the route of I-79 as it passes through Weston, Clarksburg, Fairmont, and Morgantown before crossing into Pennsylvania. The distance from Beckley from I-79 is also known as ADHS Corridor L. It allows traffic to the Pittsburgh area to bypass Charleston, and is thus part of a main link from Charlotte and Myrtle Beach to Pittsburgh.
US 19 is closely paralleled by I-79 for its entire length. From the state line, it goes north to Washington and then through Pittsburgh. In downtown Pittsburgh, US 19 crosses the Ohio River via West End Bridge. In Cranberry Township, north of Pittsburgh, US 19 shares a major junction between I-76 (Pennsylvania Turnpike) and I-79, via the Cranberry Connector. US 19 crosses I-80 in the East Lackawannock Township. Near Erie, it crosses I-90 before going through the downtown area, ending at US 20 (26th Street).
US 19 overlaps with three corridors that are part of the Appalachian Development Highway System (ADHS), which is part of Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC). Passed in 1965, the purpose of ADHS is to generate economic development in previously isolated areas, supplement the interstate system, connect Appalachia to the interstate system, and provide access to areas within the Region as well as to markets in the rest of the nation.
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US 19 first entered Florida in 1929. It underwent two route shifts, the first in 1933 and the second in 1946, which adjusted it to its current alignment. US 19 was extended to its southern terminus of Memphis in September 1954, when the original Sunshine Skyway Bridge opened to traffic.
Starting around 1956 US19 was 4-laned, initially in the Perry area, working north toward the Georgia border. The entire route in Florida was 4-laned by 1972.
The planned St. Petersburg-Clearwater Expressway, or Pinellas Beltway, would have followed the current alignment of "Alt 19" from I-275 to Clearwater, Florida. The intersection of Seminole Boulevard and Bay Pines Boulevard is a remnant of this proposed road. The beltway road was proposed in 1974, but it was dead by 1980.
In North Carolina, US 19 was NC 10 from the Georgia state line to Asheville, NC 29 from Asheville to Madison County, NC 69 to a point near the Tennessee state line, and either NC 194 or NC 694 for a short distance south of the Tennessee state line.
The original US 19 in Yancey, Mitchell, and Avery Counties mostly followed the route now designated US 19E. US 19W in Yancey County was US 19-23 in 1935, and what is now US 19E was US 19A. The US 19E and US 19W designations have been used since 1930.
Prior to 1948, US 19 between Ela and Waynesville essentially followed the route of present-day US 74. Then, this road was called US 19 Alternate (US 19-A) and the section of NC 28 From Ela to Cherokee and the section of NC 293 from Cherokee to near Waynesville became US 19. Improvements were made, including a new section of highway west of Lake Junaluska.
Around 1956, US 19-23 was widened to four lanes from Lake Junaluska to Canton.
In January 1983, after improvements to US 19-A had made it similar to an Interstate Highway, the state proposed designating US 19-A as US 19 Bypass. At one point, changing US 19-A to US 19 was considered, but businesses in Maggie Valley opposed the idea of their highway being changed to US 19-A. US 19-A became the Great Smoky Mountains Expressway.
For many years the Venango Path was a Native American trail between the Forks of the Ohio (present day Pittsburgh) and Presque Isle, Pennsylvania, United States of America. Some of the modern US 19 follows the same path as this ancient trail. If you take U.S. 19 from Pittsburgh across the Allegheny and follow it to Perrysville, then you are on the old Venango trail path. Continue to Wexford and cross Brush Creek at Warrendale. Here, the path and modern road separate for a time. The path goes across fields while the road parallels it - from a distance of 3/4 mile to the west - for about 3 1/2 miles to Ogle. (From "Indian Paths Of Pennsylvania).
US 19 in Pennsylvania has maintained a similar alignment for much of its history. In 1928, US 19 was moved to its current route between Pittsburgh and Meadville. The West End Bridge in Pittsburgh was completed in 1932, and US 19 was realigned to cross the bridge. In 1936, US 19 was moved to its current alignment between Zelienople and Harmony. Through the 1940s and 1950s, different parts of US 19 were widened.
In 1987, the Phase One project started to connect two sections of Ohio River Boulevard near Western Avenue and Chateau Street. Phase Two of the project included a new interchange between the PA 65 expressway (concurrent with US 19 west of the interchange) and the West End Bridge. The bridge was closed for two years for construction, but reopened in 1991, while construction finished in 1992.
In 2003, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) started a project to build a US 19 tunnel under the Norfolk Southern Railway, as well as align the West End Bypass with the West End Circle, the intersection of US 19, PA 51, PA 60, and PA 837. The project was completed in 2010.
In 2016, a diverging diamond interchange was built at the intersection of US 19 and I-70/79 in South Strabane Township.
PennDOT has started construction on a multi-lane roundabout at the intersection of US 19, US 6, US 322, and PA 98 in Vernon Township, near Meadville. Construction is expected to be completed in October 2019.
PennDOT has also started construction on an intersection improvement project at the northern intersection of US 19 and PA 97. PA 97 will be realigned to meet US 19 at a 90 degree angle, and new left turn lanes and traffic signals will be installed. Construction is expected to be completed in October 2019.