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Regional Boards => Ohio Valley => Topic started by: seicer on December 12, 2013, 01:47:37 PM

Title: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: seicer on December 12, 2013, 01:47:37 PM
King Coal Highway / Unsigned Route / Future US 52 at Crum, W.Va. from a few weeks ago. This segment opened circa 2003.
Map (http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=37.90898,-82.43349&z=15&t=S)

When I first traveled this segment, you were able to drive on the (future) southbound carriageway. It was essentially one lane southbound on the southbound carriageway and one lane southbound on the northbound carriageway, and one lane northbound on the northbound carriageway. The southbound carriageway has since been closed. I'm not sure why this isolated segment was built - it connects nothing to nothing.

(http://i.imgur.com/HzEczfC.jpg) (http://imgur.com/HzEczfC)

(http://i.imgur.com/qOwGVtT.jpg) (http://imgur.com/qOwGVtT)

(http://i.imgur.com/7BYtuDi.jpg) (http://imgur.com/7BYtuDi)

(http://i.imgur.com/B0ADawt.jpg) (http://imgur.com/B0ADawt)
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: NE2 on December 12, 2013, 04:39:23 PM
Yay elevation modeling.
http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=37.90381,-82.43096&z=18&t=S
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: Alps on December 12, 2013, 07:03:35 PM
Actually, that's sorta what the access road does. Adventure in suspension-land.
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: hbelkins on December 12, 2013, 09:59:14 PM
I've been up there but I don't know what I did with the pictures I took.

Maybe S.P. knows more about this segment of highway.
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: NE2 on December 12, 2013, 10:15:01 PM
So I searched for Crum bypass and holy crap hicks: http://www.topix.com/forum/city/crum-wv/T4HU82DR3E1E5FQHK
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: hbelkins on December 13, 2013, 10:24:01 AM
Good lord, it's Topix.
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: US 41 on December 13, 2013, 10:47:11 AM
Isn't this supposed to eventually be I-73/74?
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: Henry on December 13, 2013, 11:40:51 AM
Isn't this supposed to eventually be I-73/74?
Technically yes, but there are no plans to build I-73 in WV, OH or MI, nor extend I-74 east from Cincinnati.
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: seicer on December 13, 2013, 11:46:38 AM
Isn't this supposed to eventually be I-73/74?

There are some old signs that read "I-73/74 High Priority Corridor," but the roadways are being built to corridor standards - with intersections and interchanges.
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: Bitmapped on March 10, 2014, 09:11:21 AM
According to WVDOH commissioner's orders and the Mingo County map, US 52 was officially moved onto the King Coal Highway between WV 65 and WV 44 in August 2013.  The old road is CR 252/57.

I was through on the eastern end (CR 8 to WV 44) over Labor Day weekend and didn't really notice and major changes in signage but it was also dusk so I wasn't really looking too closely.
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: hbelkins on March 10, 2014, 11:47:27 AM
It's been more than a year since I have been there, but signage at the WV 44 end definitely indicated US 52 was being routed onto the new highway. There's also a heck of a base or pavement failure on the connector between the old end of WV 44 and the new route.

Is that Mingo County map currently online? The last time I looked at WVDOT's county maps on their site, they were woefully out of date.
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: Bitmapped on March 10, 2014, 04:37:19 PM
Is that Mingo County map currently online? The last time I looked at WVDOT's county maps on their site, they were woefully out of date.

They've updated the maps at http://www.transportation.wv.gov/highways/programplanning/gti/GIS/MAPS/Pages/WVCountyMaps.aspx
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: dave19 on March 15, 2014, 10:17:31 PM
I picked up a copy of the new official map at the I-68 welcome center a couple weeks ago; it appears to show 52 on the new alignment. US 48 appears for the first time, shown as complete up to WV 42. It does not show the proposed route between there and Kerens, though.

This map uses different fonts from previous editions and shows physical relief. Overall, it seems to be a nicer looking map, and the city insets on the back are easier to read. However, I think that the font they used for the smallest towns is too small and doesn't show up well against the gray relief.

I also noticed a few errors, which surprised me. In Wyoming County, the road between Oceana and Pineville is marked WV 85 where it should be WV 10. Corridor H is shown as a 2-lane highway on the Elkins bypass section of the route. There are two WV 27s with no ALT indication for the alternate one (ALT 27 needs a different number, IMHO). PA 281 ends at the state line and becomes MD 42 - it should become WV 26. There is no "closed in winter" notation for WV 150 like there used to be.

Speaking of WV 150, it looks like the cover photo was taken somewhere along its length.

Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: Grzrd on October 08, 2014, 09:55:32 PM
Isn't this supposed to eventually be I-73/74?
There are some old signs that read "I-73/74 High Priority Corridor," but the roadways are being built to corridor standards - with intersections and interchanges.

This article (http://www.bdtonline.com/opinion/article_6f4e8420-4e69-11e4-aa41-6b5539598557.html) reports that Bluefield's "bridge to nowhere" (https://www.google.com/maps/@37.2836193,-81.1718288,1654m/data=!3m1!1e3), interstate-grade bridges sitting unused for seven years, may have construction for an extension to Route 123 around 2019 by virtue of the King Coal Highway being included in the recent STIP:

Quote
So the King Coal Highway — or at least the Christine West Bridge section of the future Interstate 73/74 corridor — is finally in the state’s six-year plan. The six-year plan is officially known as the Statewide Transportation Improvement plan. The placement of the King Coal Highway into this six-year plan is a significant and positive development for the region.
This action puts Bluefield’s bridge-to-nowhere on a path toward construction by at least 2019 — if not earlier. This move also places the project into consideration for state funding, as well as future TIGER, or Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grants ....
As folks across the region know, the twin interstate bridges that span high above Stoney Ridge were completed back in 2007. The bridge and road itself comes to an abrupt end at a mountain near the Mercer Mall.
No traffic has traveled across the bridge since its completion more than seven years ago.
Instead, the impressive span of steel and concrete goes directly into a mountain — hence the “bridge to nowhere” title ....
Getting the King Coal Highway to the area of Route 123 and the Mercer County Airport would at least create a usable segment of the future I-73/74 corridor, and that is what local officials are trying to do — even if it means building two lanes initially as opposed to four — in order to expedite the creation of a useable segment of the road. The remaining two lanes would then be constructed as soon as additional state or federal dollars are available.

Here is a snip showing the "bridge to nowhere", the mountain, Mercer Mall, Route 123, and the airport:

(http://i.imgur.com/8gbT6oO.jpg)

I assume the extension will (if construction actually occurs) be built to corridor standards.
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: rickmastfan67 on October 09, 2014, 08:07:08 PM
Does anybody know if WV-44 is multiplexed with US-52 on the connector road, or has it been shortened back to it's original Southern end?
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: hbelkins on October 09, 2014, 08:49:25 PM
Been two years since I've been there, but when I was there, both routes were signed.
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: billtm on October 09, 2014, 09:29:20 PM
I personally don't think four lanes are necessary, the second carriageway seems like a waste of money to me. (I-73/74 is total bovine fecal matter.) Though I do like how they are making 52 more direct. Also, this project seems to be coming along at a snail's pace. Any big reason why? :hmmm:
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: hbelkins on October 09, 2014, 10:14:14 PM
Funding. And I think a union filed suit against West Virginia because they were constructing the grade by having mining companies strip mine the area and then building the rough grade of the road, instead of using highway contractors to do it.
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: rickmastfan67 on October 10, 2014, 02:16:12 AM
Been two years since I've been there, but when I was there, both routes were signed.

But US-52 wasn't officially moved to the King Coal until the last year.  Thus, why I'm asking about WV-44 if it was re-shortened with the official re-route of US-52 for now, or if it's posted with it.  Need picture proof before I go and update CHM for this.
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: MikeSantNY78 on October 10, 2014, 01:52:27 PM
I personally don't think four lanes are necessary, the second carriageway seems like a waste of money to me. (I-73/74 is total bovine fecal matter.) Though I do like how they are making 52 more direct. Also, this project seems to be coming along at a snail's pace. Any big reason why? :hmmm:
I could see (understand) I-74 being extended and connected, but if MI, OH, and WV don't care about I-73, could the establishing law be amended to change the routing so it'd take, say, Continental 1/US 219's designation from Roanoke to Buffalo? Curious...
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: NE2 on October 10, 2014, 02:37:35 PM
Continental 1 is probably worse than I-73/74 wrt indirectness. Their website outright lies about it being "the 1,500-mile direct route from Toronto to Miami". Ahem, guys? Toronto to Miami is currently 1485 miles via mostly Interstate and all four-lanes. Detouring east at Morgantown adds distance.
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: Bitmapped on October 10, 2014, 11:50:50 PM
Been two years since I've been there, but when I was there, both routes were signed.

But US-52 wasn't officially moved to the King Coal until the last year.  Thus, why I'm asking about WV-44 if it was re-shortened with the official re-route of US-52 for now, or if it's posted with it.  Need picture proof before I go and update CHM for this.

I was on the Mingo County segment last month.  WV 44 is signed the full length of the connector.  Actually, they took the US 52 signs down along the King Coal Highway and connector.  US 52 is signed back on its old route again now.
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: hbelkins on October 11, 2014, 12:18:17 AM
Is the King Coal signed as anything now?
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: NE2 on October 11, 2014, 02:00:45 AM
Actually, they took the US 52 signs down along the King Coal Highway and connector.  US 52 is signed back on its old route again now.
Strange. County maps show that old US 52 is now CR 252/57.
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: rickmastfan67 on October 11, 2014, 05:03:36 AM
Actually, they took the US 52 signs down along the King Coal Highway and connector.  US 52 is signed back on its old route again now.
Strange. County maps show that old US 52 is now CR 252/57.

Maybe they did this because they never got approval from the AASHTO to do it?  The mystery deepens.
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: NE2 on October 11, 2014, 12:39:32 PM
Actually, they took the US 52 signs down along the King Coal Highway and connector.  US 52 is signed back on its old route again now.
Strange. County maps show that old US 52 is now CR 252/57.

Maybe they did this because they never got approval from the AASHTO to do it?  The mystery deepens.

Except for the straddling of the Kentucky line with US 119, AASHTO hasn't approved anything on US 52 in WV since 1980 (the relocations at I-64 and I-77; 1978 was the move onto the new Ohio River bridge). This means that the Prichard bypass was never submitted. Many states don't seem to bother AASHTO with minor relocations that don't substantially change mileage or control points.
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: hbelkins on October 11, 2014, 10:17:02 PM
Well, it really doesn't make sense to put thru traffic -- if such exists on US 52 -- on the King Coal right now. Southbound traffic has to use a section of WV 65 that used to be a county road 15 or so years ago until the designation was extended to Matewan, and that route involves climbing a mountain with a bunch of switchbacks. Then you have to go back over to the old route on the WV 44 connector. The hill climb to the top of Horsepen Mountain southbound on existing US 52 isn't that bad; it's an easier climb than using WV 65. So it really make sense to keep US 52 on the shorter route for now. Basically, the new road is there to serve the new Mingo County Central High School.
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: SP Cook on October 12, 2014, 07:39:00 AM
Well, it really doesn't make sense to put thru traffic -- if such exists on US 52 -- on the King Coal right now.

 Basically, the new road is there to serve the new Mingo County Central High School.

I cannot imagine anyone, other than a road geek or county collector or whatever, actually taking US 52 for true thru puropses.  If you start at the 52-64 JCT at west Huntington and take 52, and I take 64 and 77, I will be at the next JCT at the East River Mountain Tunnel hours ahead of you.    Even if Tolsia and King Coal were ever actually finished (doubtful) it is dubious as an alternative to the existing road.

MCHS is the correct answer.  In addition to the road, the school likewise was built on land the coal company donated.  The state took over Mingo county's awful schools and ditctated consolidation.  The only way to get the kids to the school was to get this section of the road built. 
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: hbelkins on October 12, 2014, 11:54:06 AM
I cannot imagine anyone, other than a road geek or county collector or whatever, actually taking US 52 for true thru puropses.  If you start at the 52-64 JCT at west Huntington and take 52, and I take 64 and 77, I will be at the next JCT at the East River Mountain Tunnel hours ahead of you.    Even if Tolsia and King Coal were ever actually finished (doubtful) it is dubious as an alternative to the existing road.

As a toll-free alternative to the WV Turnpike, it will certainly have an amount of attraction. It would also be a good way to bypass any congestion in Charleston.
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: seicer on January 17, 2017, 11:39:02 AM
Interesting. When the the circa 1930 US 52 bridge over Gragston Creek was replaced in 2012, it was built with provisions for a parallel span. The southbound shoulders are full-width while the northbound shoulders are not.

Aerial: http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=38.27004,-82.57226&z=19&t=S
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: The Ghostbuster on January 18, 2017, 04:24:12 PM
Will the King Coal/Tolsia Highway be completed as proposed? It seems to be taking forever to construct, just like the Coalfields Expressway (US 121).
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: Buck87 on January 18, 2017, 10:09:00 PM
Where does the name "Tolsia" come from?

I tried googling it, but all I could find was a Tolsia High School on US 52, which was founded in 1988. I want to assume that both the highway and the high school are named after the same thing/person......or are one of these 2 things named after the other? 
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: NE2 on January 18, 2017, 10:33:56 PM
Good question, for which I just found the answer: "The TOLSIA Highway derived its name from the first initials of the Tug, Ohio, Levisa, Sandy Improvement Association."
http://books.google.com/books?id=jrw2AQAAMAAJ&pg=PP7
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: Bitmapped on January 19, 2017, 02:43:35 PM
Will the King Coal/Tolsia Highway be completed as proposed? It seems to be taking forever to construct, just like the Coalfields Expressway (US 121).

Probably not. There's not really that much traffic and the population continues to decline in that area. There isn't the demand for it and WVDOH has more pressing needs for their very limited funding stream.

There are programmed projects in the STIP to extend construction from its current end up to WV 123. That section makes some sense as it will function as a bypass of Bluefield, where traffic has to drive on city streets and through downtown for 4 miles. Nothing else is programmed from there into McDowell County and I don't expect anything further will be constructed.

Over along the Mingo/Logan line, there is a section under construction immediately east of WV 44. That part is going to be completed to Gilbert Creek Road. That section is useful as it bypasses the eastern approach to Horsepen Mountain which is the worst remaining section on US 52 in West Virginia.

WVDOH has been doing planning and permitting to extend the current King Coal section around Delbarton. This is tied to a mountaintop removal coal mine. If the mine happens, it'll probably get built. If it doesn't, it won't.

On the Tolsia Highway section, there's a decent chance the 4-laning will eventually extend from its current end at WV 75 down to Prichard especially if traffic picks up at the intermodal terminal there. I could possibly see it being extended to Fort Gay. Beyond that, I don't see WVDOH doing anything. Most of the road is reasonably high speed 2-lane already and traffic counts are fairly low.
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: hbelkins on January 19, 2017, 09:31:26 PM
Tolsia High School came long before construction on US 52.
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: NE2 on January 19, 2017, 10:49:02 PM
Tolsia High School came long before construction on US 52.
http://tolsiarebelswv.org/
"Tolsia High School, a consolidation of Crum High School and Fort Gay High School, opened its doors on January 18, 1988 in Glen Hayes, WV."
I'm right. You're wrong.
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: hbelkins on January 20, 2017, 09:11:31 PM
Tolsia High School came long before construction on US 52.
http://tolsiarebelswv.org/
"Tolsia High School, a consolidation of Crum High School and Fort Gay High School, opened its doors on January 18, 1988 in Glen Hayes, WV."
I'm right. You're wrong.

The Prichard bypass came later than 1988.
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: NE2 on January 20, 2017, 09:56:28 PM
The Prichard bypass came later than 1988.
What does that have to do with anything? The Tolsia Highway name was given to the US 52 relocation that left WV 152 behind: http://books.google.com/books?id=jrw2AQAAMAAJ&pg=PP7
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: hbelkins on January 20, 2017, 10:46:05 PM
The Prichard bypass came later than 1988.
What does that have to do with anything? The Tolsia Highway name was given to the US 52 relocation that left WV 152 behind: http://books.google.com/books?id=jrw2AQAAMAAJ&pg=PP7

Interesting. I'd never heard the term "Tolsia Highway" until the Prichard bypass was built and discussion started on the route from Huntington to Bluefield via Fort Gay, Williamson, Gilbert and Welch.
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: seicer on July 08, 2018, 09:51:45 AM
King Coal Highway (http://www.bdtonline.com/opinion/editorials/king-coal-highway/article_3a5f1050-c2cf-504c-9384-6328200fa38d.html)

The West Virginia Department of Highways is now hoping to begin construction before the year’s end on a new section of the King Coal Highway in Mercer County. The project will extend 3.8 miles from the so-called “Bridge to Nowhere” at Stoney Ridge to the area of Route 123 and the Mercer County Airport.

Once completed it will create a usable section of the local Interstate 73/74/75 corridor near Bluefield. Jimmy Wriston, DOH chief engineering adviser, told Delegate John Shott, R-Mercer, last week that work on the project will begin later this year if bonds are sold this summer and the contractor can get started.
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: VTGoose on July 09, 2018, 09:18:33 AM
King Coal Highway (http://www.bdtonline.com/opinion/editorials/king-coal-highway/article_3a5f1050-c2cf-504c-9384-6328200fa38d.html)

The West Virginia Department of Highways is now hoping to begin construction before the year’s end on a new section of the King Coal Highway in Mercer County. The project will extend 3.8 miles from the so-called “Bridge to Nowhere” at Stoney Ridge to the area of Route 123 and the Mercer County Airport.

Once completed it will create a usable section of the local Interstate 73/74/75 corridor near Bluefield. Jimmy Wriston, DOH chief engineering adviser, told Delegate John Shott, R-Mercer, last week that work on the project will begin later this year if bonds are sold this summer and the contractor can get started.

So is this a "make work" project just to keep the highway on line to continue to receive funding? That's some "useable section" that will be built, providing an alternative route to get to two-lane WV 123 -- and then where? That isn't exactly a major airport (or even a minor airport). Interesting to see how this has gone -- a news report from back in February said work on this vital connection would take place this year, then an April report pushed construction to 2019 "if the bonds sell."

Quote
The $40 million to $50 million project to extend the bridge for 3.8 miles to the Airport Road area, finally opening it up to traffic from Rt. 460 to Bluewell and McDowell County, was in the state Department of Highway’s six-year plan for work to begin in 2019.

With more money available for highways, speculation had grown the project would break ground in early 2019.

However, state Sen. Chandler Swope said the money for the project is included in proceeds from bond sales.

“The first bond levy won’t happen for another few months,” he said, adding that he had hoped the project would be ready for bids this spring and work would be under way early next year. “But they can’t award a contract until the bonds are sold.”

Swope said the process of selling bonds takes time, but it could happen by May or June and, if not, should happen later this year.

“The road to nowhere project is not as good (as far as a timeline) as I had hoped it would be,” he said. “It’s not what we hoped for, but that’s what it is.”

Swope said the important part is that the money will be there, the project will go out for bids and it should start sometime in 2019.
http://www.bdtonline.com/news/going-nowhere-fast-work-on-portion-of-king-coal-highway/article_721f3f2e-3eb5-11e8-85b2-13cbee635c37.html

Given the myriad problems of West Virginia, it would seem that there are other projects that should have priority over a project that will expand the "Bridge to Nowhere" to the "Road to Nowhere."

Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: Henry on July 09, 2018, 09:40:52 AM
Since when does I-75 go to Bluefield? They probably mean I-77?

In any case, this is good to hear, and I'm hoping that they get it done ASAP.
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: hbelkins on July 09, 2018, 10:33:47 AM
I would think they'd tie this in to existing US 52 somehow, the way that US 35's new construction was tied into the old route northwest of I-64. This would allow through US 52 traffic to bypass downtown Bluefield and those right-angle turns that are required -- and would also create a situation where two routes that formerly had a concurrency (US 19 and US 52) would not not even have an intersection.
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: SP Cook on July 09, 2018, 10:48:00 AM
It is all well and good, but there is no real "through traffic" involved here.  Certainly no in the inter-regional sense.  Now for people who are living along US 52 in Mercer or McDowell counties trying to get to I-77, the current best way is Cherry St. to Maryland Ave, entering US 460 just at the first entrance from the state line (and not to stay on US 52 as signed through Bluefield's one-time business district.  So that group of people would take WV 123 to this new road.  That is a really small group of people and less every day.

Any construction north of WV 123 would be a total waste.
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: sparker on July 09, 2018, 01:22:35 PM
This project seems like an attempt to show that the US 52 corridor project isn't dead and buried as of yet (I hesitate to bestow it with any Interstate monicker!).  But 3.8 miles of what is at best a local SIU as the first corridor work in this decade probably isn't a good indication that general or continuing interest in the King Coal/Tolsia corridor as a whole is on the uptick.  Absent a dedicated funding stream, it just isn't going to happen in most of our lifetimes.  If I-73 can't even get up to Roanoke, how is 150+ miles through some of the most difficult terrain in that region going to be rationalized?  As coal diminishes as the driving factor for area projects, the reasons for pumping money into corridors that are mostly duplicative dissipate.     
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: Bitmapped on July 10, 2018, 11:31:47 AM
The I-73/I-74 Corridor thing is all marketing. It's never going to be an Interstate. WVDOH has been building it as at-grade, in some cases just 2 lanes (like west of WV 44).

Completing the highway up to WV 123 would form a Bluefield bypass (taking WV 123 back to US 52), which would be useful. I also support the other project in the works, finishing the section from WV 44 to Gilbert Creek Road to replace the current Horsepen Mountain crossing, which is the worst piece of the current route. Other than that, aside from some spot improvements here and there, the existing alignment is adequate.
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: SP Cook on July 10, 2018, 01:56:49 PM
The I-73/I-74 Corridor thing is all marketing. It's never going to be an Interstate. WVDOH has been building it as at-grade, in some cases just 2 lanes (like west of WV 44).

Completing the highway up to WV 123 would form a Bluefield bypass (taking WV 123 back to US 52), which would be useful. I also support the other project in the works, finishing the section from WV 44 to Gilbert Creek Road to replace the current Horsepen Mountain crossing, which is the worst piece of the current route. Other than that, aside from some spot improvements here and there, the existing alignment is adequate.

Add in completion from Prichard to I-64 and 100% agree.  Building an actual 4 lane, interstate or at-grade, the entire length simply serves no purpose.
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: hbelkins on July 10, 2018, 02:39:26 PM
The I-73/I-74 Corridor thing is all marketing. It's never going to be an Interstate. WVDOH has been building it as at-grade, in some cases just 2 lanes (like west of WV 44).

Completing the highway up to WV 123 would form a Bluefield bypass (taking WV 123 back to US 52), which would be useful. I also support the other project in the works, finishing the section from WV 44 to Gilbert Creek Road to replace the current Horsepen Mountain crossing, which is the worst piece of the current route. Other than that, aside from some spot improvements here and there, the existing alignment is adequate.

Add in completion from Prichard to I-64 and 100% agree.  Building an actual 4 lane, interstate or at-grade, the entire length simply serves no purpose.

They need to do something to bypass Williamson and connect to the west side of the new route on the ridgetop, and some improvements to the hill going into (southbound) or coming out of (northbound) Iaeger.
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: Bitmapped on July 10, 2018, 03:34:41 PM
The I-73/I-74 Corridor thing is all marketing. It's never going to be an Interstate. WVDOH has been building it as at-grade, in some cases just 2 lanes (like west of WV 44).

Completing the highway up to WV 123 would form a Bluefield bypass (taking WV 123 back to US 52), which would be useful. I also support the other project in the works, finishing the section from WV 44 to Gilbert Creek Road to replace the current Horsepen Mountain crossing, which is the worst piece of the current route. Other than that, aside from some spot improvements here and there, the existing alignment is adequate.

Add in completion from Prichard to I-64 and 100% agree.  Building an actual 4 lane, interstate or at-grade, the entire length simply serves no purpose.

They need to do something to bypass Williamson and connect to the west side of the new route on the ridgetop, and some improvements to the hill going into (southbound) or coming out of (northbound) Iaeger.

Williamson already has a bypass for through traffic: WV 65.

It's a longer grade coming north of out of Iaeger at 3 miles, but I don't recall there being anything particularly bad about it. The upper half of the grade has a climbing lane for northbound traffic.
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: seicer on August 17, 2018, 09:48:08 PM
The upcoming bond release by the state as part of the Roads to Prosperity Program will impact the Tolsia Highway, especially the portion from Prichard north to US 52.

It appears that US 52 will follow the ridge top for a bit south of WV 75 before transitioning to the existing alignment. The new bridge at Gragston Creek (https://goo.gl/maps/bADiRqN3xo12) is built to be the future southbound lanes, so the transition will happen north of there. The highway is in the design phase.

From 10/16/2017: "State Project U350-52-5.80 00, WV 75 - Prichard, located in Wayne County, West Virginia.  This project shall consist of the development of a Preliminary Investigation & Engineering (PIE) Study for a new section of 4-lane roadway that shall become a segment of the greater Tolsia Highway.  This project is approximately 9 miles in length and shall extend the existing 4-lane section of United States (US) Route 52 from north of West Virginia (WV) Route 75 to the vicinity of Prichard.  At a minimum, the PIE Study shall consist of the incorporation/modification of existing metric roadway plans and any further surveying/engineering work necessary to develop preliminary plans to be utilized as the basis for a Design-Build contract.  Also included in the PIE Study is the development of Request for Qualification (RFQ) and Request for Proposal (RFP) documents.  In addition, NEPA services, plan review services, and Quality Assurance Management (QAM) services for the construction and material inspection may be required as directed by the Department."

I did find the EIS (https://books.google.com/books?id=FLg2AQAAMAAJ&lpg=SL265-PA38&ots=66vgs1lbSP&dq=wvdoh%20tolsia%20highway&pg=PP1#v=onepage&q=wvdoh%20tolsia%20highway&f=false) for the Kenova (I-64) to Nolan (US 119) segment, which is a good read.
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: Super Mateo on August 27, 2018, 07:18:22 PM
The I-73/I-74 Corridor thing is all marketing. It's never going to be an Interstate. WVDOH has been building it as at-grade, in some cases just 2 lanes (like west of WV 44).

Completing the highway up to WV 123 would form a Bluefield bypass (taking WV 123 back to US 52), which would be useful. I also support the other project in the works, finishing the section from WV 44 to Gilbert Creek Road to replace the current Horsepen Mountain crossing, which is the worst piece of the current route. Other than that, aside from some spot improvements here and there, the existing alignment is adequate.

Add in completion from Prichard to I-64 and 100% agree.  Building an actual 4 lane, interstate or at-grade, the entire length simply serves no purpose.

They need to do something to bypass Williamson and connect to the west side of the new route on the ridgetop, and some improvements to the hill going into (southbound) or coming out of (northbound) Iaeger.

Williamson already has a bypass for through traffic: WV 65.

It's a longer grade coming north of out of Iaeger at 3 miles, but I don't recall there being anything particularly bad about it. The upper half of the grade has a climbing lane for northbound traffic.

Then they should just switch the alignments of US 52 and WV 65.  Going southbound on US 52 in Williamson felt like driving down an alley for a few blocks.  I can't imagine northbound would be any better.  That one way pair has no business being a US Highway, to the point where even Street View hasn't bothered to photograph it.  And yet, the Bluefield section was even worse.  There were no alley-like roads, but there are too many turns (with the quick right-left combo to join US 460 as the worst) and a good portion is on two lane arterials.  There are many better ways to route US 52 there.  Pick one.

I also agree I-73/74 probably will never happen, but I do know that it would be very helpful to me to connect the I-74 segments when I am going from Chicagoland to the Sand Hills region of North Carolina.  That would also take me off the Turnpike (even though that was quite the enjoyable drive), which is a situation WV probably wants to avoid (that is, losing toll money to another road).
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: hbelkins on August 28, 2018, 09:55:21 PM
Best solution for US 52 in Bluefield would be to route it on Cherry Street/Maryland Avenue out to US 460, and let the old route be Business US 52. That's probably how most local traffic goes anyway.
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: Bitmapped on August 30, 2018, 12:33:52 AM
Best solution for US 52 in Bluefield would be to route it on Cherry Street/Maryland Avenue out to US 460, and let the old route be Business US 52. That's probably how most local traffic goes anyway.

Aside from WV not doing Business routes, Maryland Avenue is a narrow residential side street. It's not set up for through traffic. A better option would be to re-route US 52 to follow US 19 along Princeton Avenue from downtown Bluefield to US 460. This is signed as the truck routing now. It'll all be moot once the new section up to WV 123 gets built anyway.
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: SP Cook on May 02, 2019, 10:18:39 AM
http://wvmetronews.com/2019/05/01/gov-justice-celebrates-addition-to-king-coal-highway-touts-alliance-with-trump/

https://transportation.wv.gov/communications/PressRelease/Pages/Gov.-Justice,-WVDOT-officials-celebrate-groundbreaking-on-King-Coal-Highway-addition.aspx

This is the section between US 460 and WV 123 as discussed above.  IMHO, this is the only section of the KCH that will ever be built.

Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: hbelkins on May 02, 2019, 01:52:38 PM
http://wvmetronews.com/2019/05/01/gov-justice-celebrates-addition-to-king-coal-highway-touts-alliance-with-trump/

https://transportation.wv.gov/communications/PressRelease/Pages/Gov.-Justice,-WVDOT-officials-celebrate-groundbreaking-on-King-Coal-Highway-addition.aspx

This is the section between US 460 and WV 123 as discussed above.  IMHO, this is the only section of the KCH that will ever be built.

Don't they need to tie it into existing US 52 somewhere?
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: froggie on May 02, 2019, 01:55:01 PM
Given precedent elsewhere, they'll probably use WV 123 as the "tie-in".
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: SP Cook on May 02, 2019, 02:36:50 PM
Given precedent elsewhere, they'll probably use WV 123 as the "tie-in".


I think that is correct.
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: seicer on April 22, 2021, 12:45:59 PM
I had the opportunity a while back to finally drive the 10 mile King Coal Highway segment south of Williamson towards Gilbert. I found it to be a high speed alternative to the existing US Route 52 alignment and was able to easily travel 65 MPH (although signed at 55 MPH) without interruption. Traffic, in general, was going at 65 MPH or above.

- The views on the King Coal Highway segment are astounding. We were greeted with valley fog on our drive and the views went on for miles upon miles. Don't think about the environmental consequence too hard on this drive - much of the route is on former mountaintop removal sites.
- There was inconsistent signage. Was it US Route 52 or not? Signs indicated it was in parts; in other areas, there was no signage.
- The WV Route 44 climb from US Route 52 west of Gilbert was one of the roughest roads I've driven on at high speed - and one that I had to slow down for. This road is roughly six years old and is already in need of pavement replacement. At several points, you can feel yourself lifting out of your seat  :spin: Below are some views of the settling which have gotten much worse since these were taken in 2016:
-- https://goo.gl/maps/9QZpUUp6XfHtCx9t6
-- https://goo.gl/maps/TvSy4wvAEtd7iE69A
-- https://goo.gl/maps/GX6GZKosYEDwiLsr6
-- https://goo.gl/maps/GPEYmoZif1S5ckJ78
- The King Coal Highway drive was much better and did not settle with the exception of the northern terminus.
-- Typical view: https://goo.gl/maps/nK6BtBdzF373TGyc7
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: Bitmapped on April 22, 2021, 01:06:38 PM
I had the opportunity a while back to finally drive the 10 mile King Coal Highway segment south of Williamson towards Gilbert. I found it to be a high speed alternative to the existing US Route 52 alignment and was able to easily travel 65 MPH (although signed at 55 MPH) without interruption. Traffic, in general, was going at 65 MPH or above.

- The views on the King Coal Highway segment are astounding. We were greeted with valley fog on our drive and the views went on for miles upon miles. Don't think about the environmental consequence too hard on this drive - much of the route is on former mountaintop removal sites.
- There was inconsistent signage. Was it US Route 52 or not? Signs indicated it was in parts; in other areas, there was no signage.
- The WV Route 44 climb from US Route 52 west of Gilbert was one of the roughest roads I've driven on at high speed - and one that I had to slow down for. This road is roughly six years old and is already in need of pavement replacement. At several points, you can feel yourself lifting out of your seat  :spin: Below are some views of the settling which have gotten much worse since these were taken in 2016:
-- https://goo.gl/maps/9QZpUUp6XfHtCx9t6
-- https://goo.gl/maps/TvSy4wvAEtd7iE69A
-- https://goo.gl/maps/GX6GZKosYEDwiLsr6
-- https://goo.gl/maps/GPEYmoZif1S5ckJ78
- The King Coal Highway drive was much better and did not settle with the exception of the northern terminus.
-- Typical view: https://goo.gl/maps/nK6BtBdzF373TGyc7

The road settled badly within 2-3 years of opening. You could only go about 25mph on the WV 44 connector because of the bumps and dips before they did the asphalt overlays.

Was there any sign of recent construction or paving on the part of the King Coal Highway heading east/south from WV 44 towards Gilbert? IMHO, this was the part that should have been built first to bypass the climb up Horsepen Mountain coming from Gilbert. The other side on US 52 was previously rebuilt and not too bad.
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: seicer on April 22, 2021, 01:29:31 PM
I didn't see any construction although it's graded southward for miles - there may be more activity down that way.
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: hbelkins on April 22, 2021, 08:29:44 PM
Last time I was on the WV 44 connector, it was settling badly. I think the effects of the settling become more pronounced when the road is concrete. With an asphalt surface, only the directly affected part breaks and settles. With concrete, the whole slab settles and the seams between slabs are very noticeable.

Is there much development out there now besides the new high school?

There was active construction beyond the WV 44 connector last time I was there, but the grade work may have been completed on to the southeast.

I'm not a fan of the climb on WV 65 to reach the new route, but if I'm going from Williamson to Gilbert I typically use US 119 to WV 73 to WV 10, and now that the WV 10 four-lane is completed to Man, it's even more preferable of a route. But the best and most direct route for me is not to go to Pikeville and then sharply northeast to Williamson, but to go through Inez to Kermit, and then use US 52 and WV 65 to get to US 119.
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: seicer on April 23, 2021, 08:31:24 AM
No - just the school. It's refreshing since roads in the area are otherwise fully developed except for on the steepest of grades. I'm not fond of the school site choice since it removes the school from the community and places it on a high-speed highway (that will be 65 MPH when fully complete).
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: GCrites80s on April 23, 2021, 12:04:28 PM
Yeah putting schools all by themselves way out there makes it where zero kids can walk to school and hands the school system a permanent big bill for more buses and fuel.
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: seicer on April 23, 2021, 01:41:37 PM
It might be going more into tangent territory, but there was a study commissioned for West Virginia some years back that compared schooling costs of today versus the 1950s when you had the beginnings of regional-based schooling. You had the mass replacement of one-room schoolhouses with regional-based schools that often placed elementary and middle schools in towns, and high schools in the countryside between those towns. Children had access to more options in education and could pursue many more interests.

In the interest of saving money when fuel prices were cheaper, schools began consolidating middle and high schools into a single county building. This offered more options for students but it also increased transportation costs which became a serious issue during the fuel crunch of the 1970s and during the 2000s. Not often talked about is the distance that students have to travel just to get to school: some in West Virginia are on buses up to four hours a day.

And now we are looking at Wyoming County which is looking to consolidate multiple elementary schools that are in their communities with a single building that's not even near the county seat of Welch. All four buildings are in relatively poor condition but does moving the school out of the community offer better outcomes for students? Research says no. Does it save money? It's looking less likely, considering that many districts are facing a dire shortage of bus drivers and fueling costs are increasing.
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: hbelkins on April 23, 2021, 04:21:07 PM
To be a relatively small state, West Virginia has always seemed to me to have rather large counties. And the county seats are not always centrally located. In this case, it's Mingo County. Williamson is the seat and it's hard against the western border of the county. Mingo is something of a long, narrow county. Off the top of my head, I can't remember how centrally located Welch is, but I know that in Kentucky, some of the smaller rural schools in some counties have closed and it results in very long bus rides for students. The closure of the old Rousseau Elementary in Breathitt County added 20 minutes one-way to the bus ride. Of course, buses were already running that route because there's only one high school in the county. Walking to school is not really a "thing" in rural mountainous counties.
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: Dirt Roads on April 23, 2021, 07:25:38 PM
Mingo is something of a long, narrow county. Off the top of my head, I can't remember how centrally located Welch is, but I know that in Kentucky, some of the smaller rural schools in some counties have closed and it results in very long bus rides for students.

Welch is the county seat for McDowell County, but is located in the extreme northern part of the county.  McDowell has consolidated into two high schools:  Mountain View (in Welch) and River View (in Bradshaw).
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: Dirt Roads on April 23, 2021, 07:29:21 PM
Mingo is something of a long, narrow county. Off the top of my head, I can't remember how centrally located Welch is, but I know that in Kentucky, some of the smaller rural schools in some counties have closed and it results in very long bus rides for students.

The worst situation in West Virginia is in western Randolph County.  It's a 70-mile drive from Pickens to Elkins, and even longer timewise for folks living down in Helvetia.  Pickens High School remains the smallest school in the state, now down to only 6 students in grades 9 through 12.  They had about 12 students back in the 1970s.
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: GCrites80s on April 23, 2021, 08:41:54 PM
I remember I had a roommate in college (early 2000s) who was from Rawl in Mingo County. In Ohio most school consolidation happened in the '50s and '60s. He told me that his schools had consolidated in the '90s and I was very surprised. It's basically an ongoing thing in WV to this day. It certainly affects where schools get built in relation to the speed and design of the roads schools get built on. In the '50s and '60s they would generally make sure the consolidated school was built or located in or very near a town. That all got thrown out by the '80s.

This goes for churches too. A few years back, we talked to a young mom in a restaurant who was driving through Ohio from somewhere in the New South, maybe North Carolina. She was disappointed that she saw so few churches during the Ohio part. "Where are your churches? I barely see any. Don't people here go to church?" I didn't know what to say but Mom did. She told the lady "Well this is the main road. The churches are in town." We were right on US 23. Where the lady was from she was used to seeing all the churches on the highways since everything is so much newer down there. Whereas on our U.S. routes everything old like that got bypassed. The previous 100 miles (at least) of the lady's trip before the conversation took place had to have been on U.S. routes and yes, you're not going to see very many churches on US-23 between Portsmouth and South Bloomfield, Ohio.
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: GCrites80s on April 23, 2021, 08:47:47 PM
To be a relatively small state, West Virginia has always seemed to me to have rather large counties.

Yeah even Wayne County seems and looks pretty big then you see Randolph, Pocahontas and Greenbrier Counties on a map and you're like "My god." Even Kanawha County is probably bigger than the largest Ohio or Kentucky county which has to be Pike.
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: seicer on April 23, 2021, 11:21:33 PM
Two hours from Ceredo and I was still deep in Wayne County tracing an old rail line. It felt worlds away and at that point, I was within 30 minutes of Williamson, the seat if the adjoining county.

An interesting bit about Williamson is that it was a tug of war with Matewan for the county seat title. And Williamson only came into being c. 1909.
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: sparker on April 24, 2021, 12:24:08 AM
Now that WV's own Joe Manchin is perched in his senatorial catbird seat, I wonder if the King Coal route, as well as other in-state projects, might constitute a perk to get his support for whatever infrastructure bill finally emerges.  Don't think full resumption of the project as a future Interstate will come out of it, but maybe the high-speed 2-lane facility (on an alignment supporting 4) as pictured might well be extended down toward Welch or even Bluefield.  I suppose we'll see how that give & take goes over the next couple of years.
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: seicer on April 24, 2021, 08:26:04 AM
I'd be interested in seeing how it plays out. Earmarks were shushed some years back but are back as they can be useful tools in negotiations and didn't really add much to our public debt.
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: Rothman on April 24, 2021, 11:05:31 AM
I'd be interested in seeing how it plays out. Earmarks were shushed some years back but are back as they can be useful tools in negotiations and didn't really add much to our public debt.
Not sure how that little debt part works when they are outside normal apportionments.  I suppose it depends whether or not they count against a state's obligation limitation, which would be a loose accounting measure.

Fun thing is that it takes experts in federal funding to make that determination.  FHWA's main apportionment report in FMIS -- the W10A -- doesn't make this discernment with the program codes.  State DOT accounting departments have to dig deeper.

The short of it is that the system is definitely designed to give the impression that earmarks are "extra money," when that is not always the case...but in a lot of cases they are, meaning they could have an effect on federal debt.
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: SP Cook on April 24, 2021, 01:42:13 PM
As to consolidated schools, among the best things to ever happen to WV.  First, of course, the declining population makes it necessary, but I would argue, as a graduate of the coalfields schools of a bygone era, it is 100% the right thing to do anyway. 

Above middle school, all of my teachers in what today we call STEM, as well as in English, were simply incompetent.  I mean that in the LITERAL sense of that word.  They could not have passed a HS class taught in normal America in the subject they were teaching.  The last math class I took, 10th grade Algebra, consisted of the teacher and the smartest kid in the class trying to figure how to work the problem to get the answer in her book, because  SHE DID NOT KNOW HOW TO WORK THE PROBLEMS.  Incompetent.   I dropped the class, took shop math to get a credit to graduate, went to college and never looked back.   Same can be said for my science teacher who did not know basic science principles, or my English teachers who had never read a book, unless you count Harlequin Romances.

At least with consolidation, you can have a chance at providing a reasonable education to students that want to escape.

Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: Bitmapped on April 24, 2021, 06:18:58 PM
Mingo is something of a long, narrow county. Off the top of my head, I can't remember how centrally located Welch is, but I know that in Kentucky, some of the smaller rural schools in some counties have closed and it results in very long bus rides for students.

Welch is the county seat for McDowell County, but is located in the extreme northern part of the county.  McDowell has consolidated into two high schools:  Mountain View (in Welch) and River View (in Bradshaw).

Welch is along the railroad, which is why many county seats in West Virginia are county seats. It's also along the US 52/Gary corridor, where the bulk of the population is because.

The original county seat at Perryville, now known as English, was more centrally located. It's relatively isolated nowadays but might eventually have better access if the Coalfields Expressway is ever completed.

Mingo is something of a long, narrow county. Off the top of my head, I can't remember how centrally located Welch is, but I know that in Kentucky, some of the smaller rural schools in some counties have closed and it results in very long bus rides for students.

The worst situation in West Virginia is in western Randolph County.  It's a 70-mile drive from Pickens to Elkins, and even longer timewise for folks living down in Helvetia.  Pickens High School remains the smallest school in the state, now down to only 6 students in grades 9 through 12.  They had about 12 students back in the 1970s.

It's about 40 miles from Pickens to Elkins. Helvetia is several miles closer along the route to Elkins. Pickens School is K-12 and received a new building in the last decade or so. Randolph County also maintains a K-12 school in Harman, which involves several mountain crossings along US 33 to get to Elkins, and there are two high schools (Elkins and Tygarts Valley) along the US 219 corridor.

To be a relatively small state, West Virginia has always seemed to me to have rather large counties.

Yeah even Wayne County seems and looks pretty big then you see Randolph, Pocahontas and Greenbrier Counties on a map and you're like "My god." Even Kanawha County is probably bigger than the largest Ohio or Kentucky county which has to be Pike.

Counties in the (historically) more densely parts of West Virginia tend to be smaller. In more rural areas, you'll generally see larger counties because there wasn't enough population to justify carving up the county after about 1870. WV's larger counties are about on par with what you'd see in comparable areas in Pennsylvania.

The reality is there aren't that many people in the rural parts of Randolph, Pocahontas, Greenbrier, and even Kanawha counties.
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: Dirt Roads on April 24, 2021, 09:06:39 PM
The worst situation in West Virginia is in western Randolph County.  It's a 70-mile drive from Pickens to Elkins, and even longer timewise for folks living down in Helvetia.  Pickens High School remains the smallest school in the state, now down to only 6 students in grades 9 through 12.  They had about 12 students back in the 1970s.

It's about 40 miles from Pickens to Elkins. Helvetia is several miles closer along the route to Elkins. Pickens School is K-12 and received a new building in the last decade or so. Randolph County also maintains a K-12 school in Harman, which involves several mountain crossings along US 33 to get to Elkins, and there are two high schools (Elkins and Tygarts Valley) along the US 219 corridor.

I haven't driven the route through Adolph, but it looks like Helvetia-Adolph Road is paved now.  Even back when I was in school, Randolph County had considered that one and the route past Kumbrabow State Forest and decided that they were impassable for school buses during much of the winter.  The 40 miles to Elkins via Adolph is not much worse than the longest routes in some other West Virginia counties with consolidated schools. 

It looks like Corridor H has whacked about 10 miles off the main route to Elkins (which goes through Upshur County).  It's now only 60 miles to go that way. 
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: Bitmapped on April 24, 2021, 10:59:56 PM
The worst situation in West Virginia is in western Randolph County.  It's a 70-mile drive from Pickens to Elkins, and even longer timewise for folks living down in Helvetia.  Pickens High School remains the smallest school in the state, now down to only 6 students in grades 9 through 12.  They had about 12 students back in the 1970s.

It's about 40 miles from Pickens to Elkins. Helvetia is several miles closer along the route to Elkins. Pickens School is K-12 and received a new building in the last decade or so. Randolph County also maintains a K-12 school in Harman, which involves several mountain crossings along US 33 to get to Elkins, and there are two high schools (Elkins and Tygarts Valley) along the US 219 corridor.

I haven't driven the route through Adolph, but it looks like Helvetia-Adolph Road is paved now.  Even back when I was in school, Randolph County had considered that one and the route past Kumbrabow State Forest and decided that they were impassable for school buses during much of the winter.  The 40 miles to Elkins via Adolph is not much worse than the longest routes in some other West Virginia counties with consolidated schools. 

It looks like Corridor H has whacked about 10 miles off the main route to Elkins (which goes through Upshur County).  It's now only 60 miles to go that way. 

Winter conditions and travel time are why Pickens still has its own school. That part of Randolph County is at a high elevation and gets much more snow than where the other nearest schools are at Mill Creek. It's about 25 miles from Pickens to Mill Creek but takes 40-45 minutes.

All of Helvetia-Adolph Road and, as I recall, Pickens Road are paved with center lines and edge lines. They've been paved for at least 20 years, and I think much longer than that. Turkey Bone Road through Kumbrabow State Forest remains gravel.

Other than perhaps in the middle of a snowstorm, I can't imagine where someone nowadays would go from Helvetia/Pickens to Elkins via Buckhannon. It's a much longer distance with a worse road alignment. There are 1-2 mountain crossings going via Adolph depending on if you travel through Mabie or Mill Creek, but the road east of Helvetia is overall much straighter and supports 45-50mph travel. West of Helvetia, a lot of the road is 35-40 because of curves to follow the ridgeline.
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: seicer on April 29, 2021, 07:51:36 PM
Interesting find today while researching properties: you can view certain future roadway projects (e.g. King Coal Highway) through the SHPO viewer: https://mapwv.gov/shpo/viewer/index.html?wkid=102100&x=-9078610&y=4506855&l=8
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: froggie on May 05, 2021, 10:06:46 AM
Notable that the SHPO viewer suggests US 52 has been fully rerouted onto the new alignment between WV 65 and WV 44.
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: seicer on May 05, 2021, 01:50:38 PM
I just picked up a copy of the latest state map and it shows US Route 52 on the new alignment.
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: Bitmapped on May 05, 2021, 09:56:57 PM
I just picked up a copy of the latest state map and it shows US Route 52 on the new alignment.

What year is the map you picked up?

The 2017 state map showed the new road but US 52 still on the old road. The 2019 map shows US 52 on the new road with the old road indicated as a county route.
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: seicer on May 06, 2021, 09:22:51 AM
I guess 2021? It's not my favorite map style, which makes the four-lane corridor routes look so minor in comparison to the interstates. I do like the hand-drawn graphic on the other side showing a stylized version of the map with attractions listed.
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: hbelkins on May 31, 2021, 07:59:06 PM
The new map seems to be a departure from past cartographic styles. It's also printed on heavier, slicker paper. (I picked up a few at the Hurricane rest area Saturday morning).

It looks like construction is underway beyond the bridge that crosses US 19, WV 112, and the valley below. You can see a rock cut on the other side of the bridge.

Does anyone know if there are any access points that are easily reachable from which one could check out the US 52 construction (similar to the county roads I used to see the US 35 work)? I will probably be back up that way later in the year and would like to check out what progress is being made. I don't know a lot about the back roads in that area, having driven only on the US and state primary routes (WV 20, WV 123, etc.)
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: Bitmapped on May 31, 2021, 09:37:04 PM
The new map seems to be a departure from past cartographic styles. It's also printed on heavier, slicker paper. (I picked up a few at the Hurricane rest area Saturday morning).

The cartographic style is what has been used for the last edition or two. The slick paper is new with this edition - the governor held one of his press conferences to make a big deal about it. I'd rather have regular map paper, which tends to hold up better to repeated folding and unfolding.
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: seicer on June 07, 2021, 09:47:27 AM
400 new road projects proposed because of the surplus, including a line about the Welch bypass which could either be for the King Coal or Coalfields Expressway: https://www.wvnstv.com/top-stories/more-than-400-road-projects-planned-if-funding-approved-by-wv-legislature/
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: Bitmapped on June 07, 2021, 12:20:40 PM
400 new road projects proposed because of the surplus, including a line about the Welch bypass which could either be for the King Coal or Coalfields Expressway: https://www.wvnstv.com/top-stories/more-than-400-road-projects-planned-if-funding-approved-by-wv-legislature/

These are small dollar projects, mostly resurfacing. The project is for repaving the existing "bypass" that goes over the hill around downtown Welch.
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: hbelkins on June 19, 2021, 10:00:25 PM
I'm in Princeton, WV tonight. Checked out the construction of the short extension of US 52 from US 460 northward beyond the big "bridge to nowhere" that crosses US 19. There is construction underway on two other bridges beyond that, including a bridge across WV 123. It looks like some grade work is taking place to the north of WV 123, although my understanding was that the next phase of construction was going to end at WV 123 and that would be the end of the road for the foreseeable future, as nothing else is planned beyond that spot. There will have to be an access road built, though, since the four-lane and 123 are grade-separated.
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: seicer on August 07, 2021, 11:33:54 AM
Capito says King Coal Highway, Coalfields Expressway are priorities for the state (https://www.register-herald.com/news/state_region/capito-says-king-coal-highway-coalfields-expressway-are-priorities-for-the-state/article_d53a24c1-ba19-57dc-9913-ba272fdbd77b.html)

The amount of money that will be available for work on King Coal Highway and the Coalfields Expressway has not yet been determined, but Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., said both are priorities for the state.

Capito said during a virtual press conference Thursday $3.5 billion is included in the infrastructure bill for state highways, spread out over five years, and she knows both projects are touted by Gov. Jim Justice.

“Those big projects are in his priority plan,” she said, adding that the state already has a 10-year plan, a “pretty good road map” of where those priorities are.
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: Bitmapped on August 07, 2021, 10:18:03 PM
Capito says King Coal Highway, Coalfields Expressway are priorities for the state (https://www.register-herald.com/news/state_region/capito-says-king-coal-highway-coalfields-expressway-are-priorities-for-the-state/article_d53a24c1-ba19-57dc-9913-ba272fdbd77b.html)

The amount of money that will be available for work on King Coal Highway and the Coalfields Expressway has not yet been determined, but Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., said both are priorities for the state.

Capito said during a virtual press conference Thursday $3.5 billion is included in the infrastructure bill for state highways, spread out over five years, and she knows both projects are touted by Gov. Jim Justice.

“Those big projects are in his priority plan,” she said, adding that the state already has a 10-year plan, a “pretty good road map” of where those priorities are.

The state having a 10-year plan would be news to the people I know at WVDOH. They've been hesitating on releasing STIP updates as of late because their cash flow problems are so acute that projects shift constantly.
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: seicer on September 08, 2021, 05:06:52 PM
Justice determined to see King Coal Highway finished (https://www.register-herald.com/news/state_region/justice-determined-to-see-king-coal-highway-finished/article_a44d2cbb-e49b-5b1a-9661-41876f6c0f34.html)

"Gov. Jim Justice says he is determined to see three major highway projects in the state completed, including King Coal Highway.

[...]

All highways have sections complete with the King Coal Highway project in Mercer County that connects Interstate 77/Rt. 460 with Airport Road scheduled to be finished this year.

Once it is open to traffic, the new road will provide improved access to the Mercer County Airport. It will also provide a new route to the Hatfield-McCoy Trail for ATV tourists who travel to the region each week as they can exit I-77, go to Airport Road and then to Brushfork and Rt. 52.

The next section is going from Airport Road to Littlesburg Road and Montcalm, but no plans are yet in place on when that will be done.

[...]

The Coalfields Expressway will connect the Beckley area and I-77/I-64 with Rt. 460 in Buchanan County, Va., cutting across McDowell County.

Funding for a section from Mullens to Welch, which will cost $200 million, was obtained earlier this year through the sale of turnpike bonds

Joe Pack, state Division of Highways District 10 engineer/manager, recently said rights-of-way are being secured in the Welch area to make way for the highway."
Title: Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
Post by: hbelkins on September 08, 2021, 07:32:34 PM
Justice determined to see King Coal Highway finished (https://www.register-herald.com/news/state_region/justice-determined-to-see-king-coal-highway-finished/article_a44d2cbb-e49b-5b1a-9661-41876f6c0f34.html)

"Gov. Jim Justice says he is determined to see three major highway projects in the state completed, including King Coal Highway.

[...]

All highways have sections complete with the King Coal Highway project in Mercer County that connects Interstate 77/Rt. 460 with Airport Road scheduled to be finished this year.

Once it is open to traffic, the new road will provide improved access to the Mercer County Airport. It will also provide a new route to the Hatfield-McCoy Trail for ATV tourists who travel to the region each week as they can exit I-77, go to Airport Road and then to Brushfork and Rt. 52.

The next section is going from Airport Road to Littlesburg Road and Montcalm, but no plans are yet in place on when that will be done.

[...]

The Coalfields Expressway will connect the Beckley area and I-77/I-64 with Rt. 460 in Buchanan County, Va., cutting across McDowell County.

Funding for a section from Mullens to Welch, which will cost $200 million, was obtained earlier this year through the sale of turnpike bonds

Joe Pack, state Division of Highways District 10 engineer/manager, recently said rights-of-way are being secured in the Welch area to make way for the highway."

I saw a similar story on the Bluefield paper's website.

I was up there just a few months ago. There's no way they'll get the road from US 460 to WV 123 finished this year. I didn't see any excavation for the connector between the four lane and Airport Road. And it will be a grade-separated crossing, because bridges are being built over WV 123.