Skip to main content

The National Road - Ohio - Belmont County

US 40 - Bridgeport, OH (Doug Kerr)
Us 40 through Eastern Ohio traverses a changing landscape.  It enters the state at Bridgeport, a town with a strong industrial background.  It continues west into smaller cities like St. Clairsville and then onto the rural towns of Fairview and Old Washington.  This segment of the old National Road and US 40 has a little bit of everything from old alignments containing original brick pavement, stone 'S' Bridges, and a dead end at the foot of a modern Interstate 70.  US 40 is truly a backroad as it parallels and is often times forgotten by the hustling traffic along the Interstate.

The historic Belmont County Courthouse (Mike Austing)
St. Clairsville is one of the many Ohio towns that the old highway serves as 'Main Street'.  St. Clairsville is the Belmont County seat and the historic Belmont County Courthouse is located on US 40.  The visible landmark was built in the mid-1880s and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.  St. Clairsville is also home to the National Road Bikeway.  The bikeway is a 2.5 mile rail-trail that runs north-south and tunnels underneath Route 40.  The bike trail opened in 1998.

Belmont County Road 40W near Lloydsville. (Mike Austing)
Throughout Belmont County, there are numerous old alignments of the National Road and Route 40.  One of these old paths bears off of the highway near Ohio University's Belmont Campus.  Known as Belmont County Route 40W, this narrow and forgotten road leads to Lloydsville, a town younger than the road that runs by it.  Lloydsville was incorporated in 1962.  However, Lloydsville has at least been known of as far back as 1920. (1)  To reach this old alignment of US 40, leave I-70 at Exit 213  and head west on route 40.  About 1/4 mile past the OU-Belmont Campus, turn left towards Lloydsville, and you'll be on County Route 40W, former US 40! 

1964 Rand McNally showing an incomplete I-70.  Where the proposed I-70 meets US 40 west of Morristown is where US 40 dies into I-70.
Just west of Morristown, the original US 40 is literally stopped by a hillside and a pond.  When Interstate 70 was completed in the area in the 1960s, US 40 was moved onto the freeway from this location to Old Washington.   What is left of the four-lane US 40 is immediately disrupted by the hillside that carries the Interstate.  This Google Satellite image shows I-70, US 40, the retaining pond that sometimes floods the old alignment, and the old road ending into the embankment.  Below, a photo of the old and partially abandoned 4-lane US 40 ending at the hillside that carries I-70. 

Old US 40 west of Morristown. (Mike Austing)
The Interstate was built directly on top of I-40 to just east of the current-day OH 800/Hendrysburg interchange.  It is that point where the original US 40 can be found on the south shoulder of I-70 arcing its way to OH 800 where Route 800 meets I-70.  This Google Satellite image shows the old four lane US 40 just east of Hendrysburg.  The eastbound lanes still remain usable; however, the old westbound highway has been reduced to gravel or weeds or is used as a parking area for local residents and trailer loads.

Old US 40 Eastbound (Belmont County 102) at I-70. (Mike Austing)

The former westbound lanes of US 40 are now either overgrown or used for parking. (Mike Austing)

Old US 40 West approaching I-70 and Hendrysburg. (Mike Austing)
Old US 40 follows OH 800 on a two lane bypass of Hendrysburg.  The original National Road runs through the town.  Hendrysburg was founded in the 1820's by Charles Hendry, whose parents settled near the town in 1797.  William Boyd, better known as Hopalong Cassidy, was born in Hendrysburg in 1895.

A quiet National Road through Fairview. (Mike Austing)

If you were to exit of the Interstate at Exit 198, you are able to access the Village of Fairview.  Because of the heritage of the National Road, Fairview survives in spite of being bypassed by nearby Interstate 70.  The main thoroughfare through Fairview is the original National Pike and what once was Route 40.
 
Belmont County Road 967 - a true country gravel back road.  (Mike Austing)
It is easy to trace the National Road out of Fairview, east or west.  Continuing east, follow County Route 40-A.  County Route 967 takes you out of town to the west.  County Road 967 varies from gravel to paved.

Site Navigation:
Sources & Links:
  •  (1) Gibson, Denny. "The National Road in Ohio." Personal E-Mail. (Sept. 12, 2004)
  • Mike Austing
  • Doug Kerr

Comments

Jim Grey said…
First time I drove any of this was about 1990, before my inner roadgeek awakened. The four-lane section that runs into I-70 had a single steel guardrail down the middle at the time. I didn't realize it wasn't still in use as US 40. I remember reaching the intersection where the road opens up and being unclear from signage about which way US 40 went. I kept going forward and eventually found the I-70 hill. The guardrail ran right into the hill. At the time there was no water over the road, so I drove up onto the hill and came back down onto the eastbound lanes.

My Rand McNally atlas at the time showed that there was an exit onto I-70 here. Insert sad-trombone sfx.
Jim Grey said…
P.S.: Shaky video I shot of the Morristown alignments in 2011:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OfbPqjrZ-8U
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LaoW-AuyS94

Popular posts from this blog

California State Route 190; a Trans-Sierra Highway that could have been

This past week I decided to take a small scale road trip on California State Route 190 from CA 99 east to the unbuilt section over the Sierra Nevada Range.  While I was in for what turned out to be a fun drive following the course of the Tule River watershed what I found researching the back story of CA 190 was one of the most complex and unusual stories of any California State Highway.  Given that I had a ton of older photos of the eastern segment of CA 190 in the Mojave Desert of Inyo County I thought it was time to put something together for the entire route. The simplified story of CA 190 is that it is a 231 mile state highway that has a 43 mile unbuilt gap in the Sierra Nevada Range.  CA 190 is an east/west State Highway running from CA 99 in Tulare County at Tipton east to CA 127 located in Death Valley Junction near the Nevada State Line in rural Inyo County.  The routing CA 190 was adopted into the State Highway system as Legislative Route 127 which was adopted in 1933 acc

I-73/I-74 and NC Future Interstates, Year in Review 2022

Another year over, already? 2022 turned out to be quite the year if you are a fan of new interstate routes, and it wasn't bad for some long standing favorites. As per the tradition, I will review what happened with I-73 and I-74, and then the other new and future interstate routes in North Carolina... Work continued on the one segment of I-73 under construction, the I-73/I-74 Rockingham Bypass. As of the beginning of December, work was getting close to being 2/3 complete at 60.1%. Progress could be seen from US 74 on constructing of the future interchange at the Bypass's southern end. Here's a look from US 74 East in September from Google Maps Street View: Here's a photo from US 74 West taken last week by David Gallo: Work is now scheduled to be completed in October 2025, though the road itself could open earlier that year.  Progress on I-74 earned more publicity in 2022 with the opening of 7.5 more miles of the Winston-Salem Northern Beltway from US 311 (Exit 49) to NC

Interstate 605

Interstate 605 is a 27.4-mile freeway located in the Los Angeles Metropolitain Area.  Interstate 605 begins at Interstate 210 near Duarte and terminates at the Interstate 405/California State Route 22 junction to the south near the boundary to the city of Long Beach.  Interstate 605 is known as the San Gabriel River Freeway and has three unconstructed miles which would extend it south to California State Route 1 near Seal Beach.  Much of the corridor of Interstate 605 was built up from what was the original California State Route 35.  The blog cover photo is taken from the July/August 1964 California Highways & Public Works which featured the initial segment of Interstate 605 to open between Whittier Boulevard and Peck Road  Part 1; the history of the San Gabriel River Freeway and Interstate 605 The origin of what is now Interstate 605 begins during 1933 with the addition of Legislative Route Number 170 (LRN 170) to the State Highway System.  The original definition of LRN 170 was