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Coalfields Expressway

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kevinb1994:

--- Quote from: noelbotevera on December 27, 2018, 04:05:12 PM ---I don't even see the point for this highway...connect I-64/I-77 to US 23, which goes...where?

Sure, it's scenic, but I don't see how building a full fledged 80 some mile expressway to nowhere is supposed to stimulate economic growth or be a better route for through traffic.

I guess if you're from Eastern Tennessee and want to get to the New River Gorge?

--- End quote ---

US 23 has its southern terminus at Jacksonville, FL (here, which is where we moved to from North Jersey in late September 2017). Mackinaw City (which we have no intent on visiting anytime soon), MI is the northern terminus of US 23. Portsmouth (which we also have no intent on visiting anytime soon), OH was the original southern terminus of US 23. It has never changed its route in Florida, though at one time it was planned to extend south, maybe to Fort Myers, FL (one of our possible Gulf Coast retirement spots) via US 17, SR 19, SR 33, US 98, US 17, and SR 31.

It should also be noted that Jacksonville, FL (here) was the original southern terminus of US 17, and that US 98 was originally an intra-state route entirely within the Sunshine State, running east-west between Apalachicola, FL and Pensacola, FL along the Florida Panhandle aka West Florida. As a matter of fact, both US 29 and US 98 once ended at or close to each other within the city limits of Pensacola, FL from 1935-1936 (when the old, original aka 1926 US 331 had a brief multiplex with US 29, with both original southern termini at or close to the original western terminus of US 98 at Pensacola, FL) to 1955, when US 98 was extended west to Natchez, MS. The same thing can and should be said about both US 98 and US 319 once ending at each other within the city limits of Apalachicola, FL from 1933-1952, which is approx. 20 years.

Jacksonville, FL (here) was also once the original eastern terminus of US 90, and at first both US 17 and US 90 ended at or near each other within the pre-1967-1968 city-county consolidation limits of Jacksonville, FL until in or about 1932.

I wonder if people will confuse US 121 (currently signed as WV 121, NOT to be confused with VA 121, which was formerly an extension of old, original aka 1926 US 121, now a part of US 52, as part of the 1933 Virginia State Route renumbering) with the tri-state (FL-GA-SC) SR 121, especially since some see it as a de facto auxiliary route from U.S. Route 21 (US 21) in Rock Hill, SC. Efforts to have the road upgraded to such status have failed, however.

seicer:
I used to be a supporter of both projects, but it's hardly justified given the area's rapid economic and population decline (which started back in the 1950's). No highway will solve the economic dilemma and what major industry will locate in Welch, West Virginia? A prison? (It already has one.) A school along the King Coal? (It just built one.) I don't see how it could be tolled, either. It's not on a major thoroughfare, either, and a curious look at traffic counts on the major roads that both highways would replace indicate falling traffic that's pretty much well below 10,000 VPD. The only place I could find above 10,000 VPD is near Bluefield and along US 52/119 north of Williamson.

Beltway:

--- Quote from: seicer on December 27, 2018, 06:11:11 PM ---I used to be a supporter of both projects, but it's hardly justified given the area's rapid economic and population decline (which started back in the 1950's). No highway will solve the economic dilemma and what major industry will locate in Welch, West Virginia? A prison? (It already has one.) A school along the King Coal? (It just built one.) I don't see how it could be tolled, either. It's not on a major thoroughfare, either, and a curious look at traffic counts on the major roads that both highways would replace indicate falling traffic that's pretty much well below 10,000 VPD. The only place I could find above 10,000 VPD is near Bluefield and along US 52/119 north of Williamson.

--- End quote ---

Buchanan and Dickenson and Wise counties (2010 populations 24,098 and 15,903 and 41,452 respectively) in Virginia could certainly warrant and benefit from this modern 4-lane highway of the Coalfields Expressway, which would have inter-regional highway status if connected to 4-lane US-23 on one end and I-77 in West Virginia on the other end.   That is a population of over 80,000 for those three Virginia counties.  Southwest Virginia counties generally have a lot more population than many people realize.

However, it will take $2.8 billion using coal synergy construction estimates to build the Virginia portion.  That is an enormous sum of money to spend for the traffic volumes that would use it.

Rothman:

--- Quote from: Beltway on December 27, 2018, 08:36:28 PM ---
--- Quote from: seicer on December 27, 2018, 06:11:11 PM ---I used to be a supporter of both projects, but it's hardly justified given the area's rapid economic and population decline (which started back in the 1950's). No highway will solve the economic dilemma and what major industry will locate in Welch, West Virginia? A prison? (It already has one.) A school along the King Coal? (It just built one.) I don't see how it could be tolled, either. It's not on a major thoroughfare, either, and a curious look at traffic counts on the major roads that both highways would replace indicate falling traffic that's pretty much well below 10,000 VPD. The only place I could find above 10,000 VPD is near Bluefield and along US 52/119 north of Williamson.

--- End quote ---

Buchanan and Dickenson and Wise counties (2010 populations 24,098 and 15,903 and 41,452 respectively) in Virginia could certainly warrant and benefit from this modern 4-lane highway of the Coalfields Expressway, which would have inter-regional highway status if connected to 4-lane US-23 on one end and I-77 in West Virginia on the other end.   That is a population of over 80,000 for those three Virginia counties.  Southwest Virginia counties generally have a lot more population than many people realize.

However, it will take $2.8 billion using coal synergy construction estimates to build the Virginia portion.  That is an enormous sum of money to spend for the traffic volumes that would use it.

--- End quote ---
That population is spread across hundreds of square miles. 

If building roads and highways was a major factor in economic development, Binghamton, NY would be the San Francisco of the East...

...but it isn't.  You do need an industry that is eager or able to expand in the area first.

SP Cook:
The economic development potential of that area is virtually zero, no matter how many roads they build.  Simple economic geography teaches us that. 

The key is in the name of the road.  "Coalfields".  That area has one product (well two, as there is also a lot of natural gas, which is not a labor intensive product) to offer.  Coal. 

Now, lets look at places without the blessing of coal, but with similar topography.  Plenty of such places exist.  And?  And these are unopulated.  Because there is very little economic value to the land.  Mostly lumber and marginal agriculture. 

In the 1850 Census, McDowell was the least populated county in Virginia.  The history of the next 160 years is really simple.  People moved there to mine the coal.   The coal is gone.  Responsible people moved away.  The rest need some nudging.  A part of that, IMHO, is to let things like the current road system fall into disrepair.  There are still WAY too many people living in SW WV, SW VA, and E KY.  WAY too many.

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