U.S. Route 50 (Virginia)
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U.S. Route 50 Virginia

U.S. Route 50 marker

U.S. Route 50
Route information
Maintained by VDOT
Length86.0 mi[1][2] (138.3 km)
Major junctions
West end near Capon Bridge, WV
  in Winchester

/ in Winchester
in Winchester
near Boyce
at Gilberts Corner
near Fairfax
in Fairfax

in Annandale
East end / in Arlington Washington DC
CountiesFrederick, City of Winchester, Clarke, Fauquier, Loudoun, Fairfax, City of Fairfax, Arlington
Highway system

U.S. Route 50 (US 50) is a transcontinental highway which stretches from Ocean City, Maryland to West Sacramento, California. In the U.S. state of Virginia, US 50 extends 86 miles (138 km) from the border with Washington DC at a Potomac River crossing at Rosslyn in Arlington County to the West Virginia state line near Gore in Frederick County.


U.S. Route 50, also known in modern times for most of its mileage in Virginia as the John Mosby Highway and for a part as the Lee-Jackson Highway, is steeped in history as a travelway. Native Americans first created it as they followed seasonally migrating game from the Potomac River to the Shenandoah Valley. As English colonists expanded westward in the late 17th and 18th centuries, the Indian trail gradually became a more clearly defined roadway. First on horseback, and then in stage coaches and wagons, in colonial times, travelers from the ports of Alexandria and Georgetown (then in Maryland) followed it to Winchester at the lower end of the Shenandoah Valley for trade. Along the way, small settlements sprang up which provided lodging and provisions for travelers and trade centers for local farmers.

During the American Civil War, the roads which became US 50 were an important travelway for troops, and were the site of significant battles and skirmishes. Among these, the Battle of Chantilly, the Battle of Aldie, as well as Arlington National Cemetery were all located close by.

During the 19th century, the Virginia Board of Public Works encouraged and helped finance internal transportation improvements such as canals, turnpikes, and some of the earlier railroads. In 1806, the Little River Turnpike opened 34 miles (55 km) of macadamized "paved" road from Alexandria to Aldie and the Aldie and Ashby's Gap Turnpike was formed in 1810 to operate a toll road westward to the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains at Ashby's Gap. The Winchester and Berry's Ferry Turnpike extended from the Ashby's Gap to Winchester.

In 1922, these three privately owned turnpikes were taken over by the Commonwealth of Virginia and became State Route 36. Then in November 1926 the route became part of US Route 50 as designated in the United States Numbered Highway System. At Winchester, the northern end of the Valley Pike, another historic trail, turnpike and toll road pathway steeped in history, intersected US 50 and several other important older roads. (The Valley Pike ran up the Shenandoah Valley southward and was operated in its later years by future Virginia governor and U.S. Senator Harry Flood Byrd before it too was acquired by the state and became U.S. Route 11).

US Route 50 was one of the major east–west transcontinental highways in the grid system of the lower 48 states planned in the 1920s as a successor to the National Auto Trails System. It extended from San Francisco, California to Annapolis, Maryland (later extended to Ocean City, Maryland). Route 50 crosses Virginia near the state's northern borders with Maryland and West Virginia. The east–west major routes in the 1920s national grid system were those with two digit numbers ending with a zero (i.e. US 10, US 20, etc.). Virginia's other east–west highway of this type is US 60, which extends in modern times from Virginia Beach across the middle section of the state to exit west of Covington.

Route description

The eastern two-thirds of US 50 in Virginia is substantially paralleled by Interstate 66, although the newer highway gradually diverges to the south to Front Royal and meets Interstate 81 at Strasburg, about 15 miles (24 km) south of Winchester, where US 50 meets I-81.

Frederick County and Winchester

U.S. Route 50 enters the state from the West Virginia border, descending from the Appalachian Mountains in Frederick County, the most northwestern Virginia county, and carrying the name of Northwest Turnpike. It is on a winding, two lane road until it passes the former lumbering town of Gore, at which point it widens to a four-lane highway. It eventually crosses State Route 37 and enters the independent city of Winchester.

Winchester was long the transportation hub of the lower Shenandoah Valley in Virginia. Today, US 50 meets Interstate 81 there, as well as US 11, US 522, and State Route 7. U.S. Route 17 joins US 50 here from its national northern terminus as the route exits the city to the east and crosses the Shenandoah River.

Paris, Ashby Gap, Clarke County

After crossing the Shenandoah River, the divided four-laned roadway which serves as combined U.S. Routes 17 and 50 ascends into Clarke County and crosses US 340 close to Boyce <Google Maps,State of Va.>, a few miles south of Berryville, the county seat.

Just west of Paris, the highway crosses a ridge of the Blue Ridge Mountains at a place known as Ashby Gap. Named for Thomas Ashby, this wind gap was a strategic point for both sides in the American Civil War because whichever side controlled the Gap also controlled access to the northern end of the Shenandoah Valley from the east. In those days before modern communications, Ashbys Gap was also an important location for the military Signal Corps to send and receive visual communications. A few miles west of Upperville, U.S. Route 17 finally separates from US 50 at Paris.

View east along US 50 at SR 629 in Stoke, Loudoun County

Fauquier and Loudoun counties

West of Fairfax County, US 50 in Virginia is generally known as the John Mosby Highway. During the American Civil War, Colonel John Singleton Mosby was a Confederate partisan who operated with great success in this region, gaining status as a local folk-hero. The roadway reaches the Town of Upperville, straddles a county line and dipping into Loudoun County along the way. It then passes into the northern edge of Fauquier County.

In Loudoun County, the highway passes across the southeastern portion through the Town of Middleburg, and the communities of Aldie (birthplace of Stonewall Jackson's mother, Julia Beckwith Neale), Gilberts Corner, Arcola, and South Riding. Starting in Aldie, the highway becomes a 17-mile straightaway until it intersects U.S. 29 in Fairfax City.

Fairfax County, City of Fairfax, Arlington County

View east along US 50 from SR 28 in Chantilly

Continuing east from the border with Loudoun County, US 50 travels along the historic Little River Turnpike route; west of the City of Fairfax it is designated and signed Lee-Jackson Memorial Highway. It passes by the southern edge of Washington Dulles International Airport and the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center and through the communities of Chantilly and Fair Oaks. US 50 passes through the independent city of Fairfax as Fairfax Boulevard (a new designation, concurrent with the old names Main Street, Lee Highway, and Arlington Boulevard). In Arlington, it serves as the dividing line for addresses in the county. Known in Arlington County and in eastern Fairfax County as Arlington Boulevard, the roadway travels roughly across the center of both counties. Finally, the route passes near Rosslyn, a high-density business area of Arlington on its trek toward the Theodore Roosevelt Bridge, where it exits Virginia and passes into Washington, D.C. concurrent with Interstate 66.

Major intersections

Frederick0.000.00 west - RomneyContinuation into West Virginia
2.974.78 south (Carpers Pike) - WardensvilleNorthern terminus of SR 259
Hayfield8.0112.89 (Hayfield Road) - Gainesboro, Mountain Falls
11.4018.35 (Wardensville Grade) - Mount Williams
14.1822.82 to / / north - Martinsburg, Berkeley Springs, RoanokeInterchange
City of Winchester16.3026.23 north / north / south (South Cameron Street)Western end of US 11 / US 522 / US 17 concurrency; northern terminus of US 17
16.6926.86 south (Gerrard Street) - Winchester Historic DistrictEastern end of US 11 concurrency
Frederick17.8928.79 - Martinsburg, RoanokeI-81 exit 313
18.0229.00 south (Front Royal Pike) - Winchester Regional Airport, Front RoyalEastern end of US 522 concurrency
ClarkeWaterloo25.1240.43 (Lord Fairfax Highway) - Berryville, White Post, Front Royal, Shenandoah National Park, Skyline Drive
27.9544.98 north (Bishop Meade Road) / (Red Gate Road) - MillwoodSouthern terminus of SR 255
31.6350.90 (Mount Carmel Road)Former SR 276 north
FauquierParis34.4355.41 south to  - Warrenton, Sky Meadows State ParkEastern end of US 17 concurrency
Upperville37.8560.91 (Delaplane Grade Road) - Delaplane
42.7768.83 (St. Louis Road) - Purcellville
LoudounMiddleburg46.1474.26 (Plains Road) - The Plains
Aldie50.8381.80 (Snickersville Pike) - Philomont, Bluemont
Gilberts Corner52.5384.54 (James Monroe Highway) to  - Leesburg, WarrentonRoundabout
52.9085.13 Howsers Branch Drive to Roundabout
South Riding58.7594.55 (Loudoun County Parkway) - Herndon
FairfaxPleasant Valley61.6899.26 (Pleasant Valley Road)
Chantilly63.57102.31 - Dulles Airport, CentrevilleInterchange
64.06103.09 (Centreville Road / Walney Road)
65.13104.82 (Lees Corner Road) / Western end of SR 645 concurrency
65.59105.56 (Stringfellow Road) / Eastern end of SR 645 concurrency
Greenbriar-Fair Oaks line66.94107.73 (Fairfax County Parkway) to Interchange
Fair Oaks68.05109.52 (West Ox Road)Interchange
Fair Oaks Shopping CenterInterchange; no westbound entrance
69.15111.29 to  - Washington, Gainesville, Front RoyalI-66 exit 57A/B
69.80112.33 (Waples Mill Road) to south - Virginia International University, George Mason University
City of Fairfax70.60113.62 south (Lee Highway) / east (Main Street) - Old Town FairfaxWestern end of US 29 concurrency, western terminus of SR 236
71.47115.02 (Chain Bridge Road) to  - Old Town Fairfax, George Mason University
73.26117.90 / north (Lee Highway) to / Old Lee HighwayFairfax Circle (traffic circle with cut-through); eastern end of US 29 concurrency, western end of SR 237 concurrency
73.54118.35 south (Pickett Road) to east to (Blake Lane)Eastern end of SR 237 concurrency
FairfaxWoodburn-Merrifield line75.83122.04 (Gallows Road) - MerrifieldInterchange, access to Inova Fairfax Hospital
76.23122.68 to  - Tysons Corner, RichmondInterchange; I-495 exit 50
West Falls Church76.57123.23 To (Lee Highway) / Fairview ParkInterchange
78.71126.67 (Annandale Road) - Falls Church, Annandale
Seven Corners79.73128.31 (E Broad Street / Leesburg Pike) to (Hillwood Avenue) to (Sleepy Hollow Road / Wilson Boulevard) - Falls Church, Alexandria, Clarendon, East Falls ChurchInterchange
ArlingtonArlington81.32130.87Carlin Springs RoadInterchange
82.50132.77George Mason Drive - NFATCInterchange
82.85133.33 (Glebe Road) - BallstonInterchange
83.83134.91 east to / Washington Boulevard - Clarendon, PentagonInterchange, western terminus of SR 27
south (10th Street North) / North Courthouse Road / Fairfax DriveInterchange; left exit and entrance eastbound; eastern terminus of SR 237
Rosslyn85.00136.79North Rhodes Street / North Rolfe Street / North Queen Street / 14th Street / Fairfax DriveInterchange; no westbound entrance
85.40137.44North Lynn Street / North Meade Street, Francis Scott Key Bridge - Rosslyn - Joint Base Myer–Henderson HallInterchange
85.60137.76 south / Memorial Bridge - No trucksInterchange, eastbound exit and westbound entrance; no access to/from GW Pkwy. northbound
Potomac River85.96138.34 east to east (Theodore Roosevelt Bridge) - WashingtonContinuation into the District of Columbia
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi


Route map:

KML is from Wikidata
  1. ^ a b "2011 Traffic Data". Virginia Department of Transportation. 2011. Retrieved 2013.
  2. ^ Google (January 25, 2013). "U.S. Route 50 in Virginia" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved 2013.

U.S. Route 50
Previous state:
West Virginia
Virginia Next state:
District of Columbia

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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