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U.S. Route 23 (US 23) is a part of the U.S. Highway System that runs from Jacksonville, Florida to Mackinaw City, Michigan. In Virginia, the U.S. Highway runs 60.80 miles (97.85 km) from the Tennessee state line near Weber City north to the Kentucky state line near Pound. US 23, which is known as Orby Cantrell Highway for most of its course, is a four-lane divided highway that follows Corridor B of the Appalachian Development Highway System through Southwest Virginia. The U.S. Highway serves as the main east–west highway of Scott County and the primary north–south highway of Wise County. US 23 runs concurrently with US 58 from Weber City to Duffield and with US 58 Alternate between Big Stone Gap and the independent city of Norton.

U.S. Route 23 marker

U.S. Route 23
Route information
Maintained by VDOT
Length60.80 mi[1] (97.85 km)
Existedearly 1930s–present
Virginia Byway
Major junctions
South end US 23 near Weber City
  US 58 / US 421 in Weber City

SR 65 in Clinchport
US 58 / US 421 in Duffield

US 58 Alt. in Big Stone Gap

US 58 Alt. in Norton
North end US 23 near Pound
CountiesScott, Lee, Wise, City of Norton
Highway system
SR 22SR 24


Route descriptionEdit

View north along US 23 at SR 732 just north of the Tennessee state line south of Weber City

US 23 enters Scott County at the Tennessee state line south of Weber City immediately north of the northern end of the US 23 freeway that becomes Interstate 26 in Kingsport. At the state line, US 23 has a partial interchange with the northern end of SR-36 (Lynn Garden Drive) and SR-346 (Carters Valley Road). US 23 passes through a gap between Cloud Ridge and Long Ridge at the state line, then crosses the North Fork Holston River on the John M. Johnson Memorial Bridge. The U.S. Highway enters the town of Weber City as Main Street, which parallels Norfolk Southern Railway's Appalachia Division as a four-lane undivided highway. At the north edge of the town, US 23 intersects US 58 and US 421 (Hilton Road); the three highways run concurrently with the railroad through Moccasin Gap, where Moccasin Creek passes through Clinch Mountain. US 23, US 58, and US 421 enter the town of Gate City; U.S. Route 23 Business, U.S. Route 58 Business and U.S. Route 421 Business pass through the center of town while the mainline of the U.S. Highways follows the flank of Clinch Mountain to the south of town.[1][2]

US 23, US 58, and US 421 receive their three business routes at an interchange west of Gate City. The U.S. Highways parallel the railroad and Little Moccasin Creek west between Clinch Mountain to the south and Moccasin Ridge to the north. The highways curve north and parallel the Clinch River to Clinchport, where the road meets the southern end of SR 65 and begins to follow Stock Creek. US 23, US 58, and US 421 pass by Glenita, where the railroad splits north to pass through the Natural Tunnel, the centerpiece of Natural Tunnel State Park. After passing through the Devil's Racepath, US 58 and US 421 split from US 23 as Daniel Boone Trail just south of the town of Duffield. US 23 passes through the town, where the highway parallels the Appalachia Division rail line and the North Fork Clinch River through a gap between Powell Mountain and Cliff Mountain. The U.S. highway briefly enters Lee County while following the river between Powell Mountain and Walden Ridge to its source at Wildcat Summit at the Lee–Wise county line.[1][2]

Northbound US 23 near Duffield

US 23 follows Wildcat Creek and becomes a freeway adjacent to Mountain Empire Community College south of Big Stone Gap. The U.S. Highway has a partial cloverleaf interchange with US 23 Business and US 58 Alternate; the latter highway joins US 23 in a concurrency. The two highways have a diamond interchange with SR 610 (Powell Valley Road) before following the southern flank of Little Stone Mountain to Little Stone Gap, where the freeway enters the city of Norton. US 23 and US 58 Alternate have a partial cloverleaf interchange with Kentucky Avenue south of downtown Norton. The highways curve north over a rail line and SR 74 before reaching a partial cloverleaf interchange where US 58 Alternate splits east on Norton Coeburn Road, which heads west toward downtown Norton as SR 283. US 23 leaves the city of Norton and receives the other end of US 23 Business (Esserville Road) at Esserville. A short distance to the north, US 23 enters the town of Wise, where another US 23 Business splits northeast as Norton Road to serve the county seat of Wise County. The U.S. Highway receives the north end of its business route (Main Street) before the highway crosses the Tennessee Valley Divide at Indian Mountain. US 23 descends along Indian Creek to the southern end of its fourth business route, which heads into the town of Pound as Indian Creek Road. The U.S. Highway briefly enters the town limits while receiving the north end of the business route, Main Street. North of Pound, US 23 passes through Horse Gap and makes a curve to the west before entering Kentucky at Pound Gap in Pine Mountain. The U.S. Highway meets US 119 on the north side of the mountain; the two highways run concurrently north toward Pikeville.[1][2]

Much of US 23 in Virginia is part of Crooked Road, Virginia and The Crooked Road: Virginia's Heritage Music Trail.[3][4]


The road from Moccasin Gap (now Weber City) south to Tennessee towards Kingsport was added to the state highway system in 1923.[5] As a spur of State Route 10 (now U.S. Route 58), it was assigned the State Route 102 designation,[6] and was renumbered State Route 108 in the 1928 renumbering.[7]

Major intersectionsEdit

Scott0.000.00   US 23 south to I-26 – KingsportTennessee state line
Weber City2.924.70    US 58 east / US 421 south / SR 224 south (Wadlow Gap Highway) – Bristol, Abingdon, Hiltons, Carter FoldSouthern end of concurrency with US 58 and US 421
Gate City3.966.37      
     US 23 Bus. north / US 58 Bus. west / US 421 Bus. north (Kane Street) to SR 71 – Gate City
     US 23 Bus. south / US 58 Bus. east / US 421 Bus. south (West Jackson Street) / SR 870 (Daniel Boone Road) – Gate City
  SR 870 (Daniel Boone Road)
18.1829.26  SR 65 north (Clinch River Highway) – Dungannon, Clinchport, Rye Cove
  SR 600 (Fairview Road) – Fairviewformer SR 66 south; to SR 33 (TN)
  SR 871 (Natural Tunnel Parkway) – Natural Tunnel State Park
Duffield20.8533.55    US 58 west / US 421 north (Duff Patt Highway) / SR 871 (Natural Tunnel Parkway) – Pennington Gap, Jonesville, Cumberland Gap, Cumberland Gap National Historical ParkNorth end of concurrency with US 58 and US 421
No major junctions
   US 23 Bus. north / US 58 Alt. west – Big Stone Gap, Appalachia
interchange; south end of US 58 Alt. overlap
34.2655.142  SR 610 – Big Stone Gapinterchange
City of Norton41.4566.711   
    US 23 Bus. north / US 58 Alt. Bus. east (Kentucky Avenue) / SR 619 – Downtown Norton
interchange; former SR 73
    US 58 Alt. east / US 58 Alt. Bus. west to US 23 Bus. – Coeburn, Abingdon, Downtown Norton
interchange; signed as exits 2A (west) and 2B (east) southbound; north end of concurrency with US 58 Alt.
   US 23 Bus. south (Esserville Road) / SR 757 north
  US 23 Bus. north (Norton Road) – Wise, Lonesome Pine Airport
   US 23 Bus. south (West Main Street) / SR 823 (Indian Creek Road) – Wise
  SR 823 (Indian Creek Road)
   US 23 Bus. north (Indian Creek Road) to SR 83 east – Pound, Clintwood
  SR 671 (South Fork Road)former SR 83
   US 23 Bus. south (Main Street) / SR 630 – Pound, Clintwood
Pound Gap60.8097.85  US 23 north – Jenkins, PikevilleContinuation into Kentucky
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

Business routesEdit

In Virginia, US 23 has four business routes. From South to North, its first business route serves downtown Gate City. The second begins in Big Stone Gap and runs north to Appalachia, then turns east to Norton. Its third business route runs along portions of Norton Road and West Main Street in Wise. The fourth and northernmost route is located in Pound.


  1. ^ a b c d e "2009 Traffic Data". Virginia Department of Transportation. 2009. Retrieved 2011-08-22.
  2. ^ a b c Google (2011-08-22). "U.S. Route 23 in Virginia" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved 2011-08-22.
  3. ^ "The Crooked Road". The Crooked Road. Retrieved 2013-04-17.
  4. ^ Wildman, Sarah (2011-05-20). "On Virginia's Crooked Road, Mountain Music Lights the Way". New York Times. Retrieved 2013-04-17.
  5. ^ "Minutes of the Tenth Meeting of the State Highway Commission Held in Richmond, Va. March 26th, 27th, and 28th, 1923" (PDF). (321 KiB), pages 7 and 21
  6. ^ "Minutes of the Meeting of the State Highway Commission, Richmond, Va. April 10th, and 11th, 1924" (PDF). (176 KiB), page 2
  7. ^ "Minutes of the Meeting of State Highway Commission of Virginia, Held at Richmond, Virginia, September 5, 1930" (PDF). (318 KiB), page 5

External linksEdit

Route map:

KML is from Wikidata

  U.S. Route 23
Previous state:
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SR 101 Spurs of SR 10
SR 103 >
SR 115 Spurs of SR 11
SR 117 >
SR 118 Spurs of SR 11
SR 105 District 1 State Routes
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SR 107 District 1 State Routes
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SR 119 District 1 State Routes
SR 121 >