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Author Topic: Coalfields Expressway  (Read 38843 times)

Bitmapped

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Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #51 on: February 07, 2019, 10:50:45 PM »

^ Looks like that image was taken from above here.

Has that connector actually been built or is this a project rendering?
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Bitmapped

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Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #52 on: February 08, 2019, 11:38:50 AM »

^ Looks like that image was taken from above here.

Has that connector actually been built or is this a project rendering?

That is the location. I'm inclined to think that's an actual photo given the shadows and apparent patches of ice from runoff on the rock cuts.
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froggie

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Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #53 on: February 08, 2019, 03:26:51 PM »

The connector curve and intersection approach looks photoshopped in, though.  There are also no barricades closing off the connector.  And a recent article from October mentions the connector won't open until November.
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Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #54 on: February 08, 2019, 08:35:26 PM »

The trees to the right of the connector should be casting a shadow over part of the roadway - look how long the shadows of the telephone poles are....
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X99

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Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #55 on: April 26, 2019, 04:05:07 PM »

^ Looks like that image was taken from above here.

Has that connector actually been built or is this a project rendering?

That is the location. I'm inclined to think that's an actual photo given the shadows and apparent patches of ice from runoff on the rock cuts.
That seems like it might be a connector- to the old routing of WV 54 on the far side of Slab Fork.
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X99

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Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #56 on: August 20, 2019, 11:07:24 AM »

^ Looks like that image was taken from above here.

Has that connector actually been built or is this a project rendering?

That is the location. I'm inclined to think that's an actual photo given the shadows and apparent patches of ice from runoff on the rock cuts.
That seems like it might be a connector- to the old routing of WV 54 on the far side of Slab Fork.
Update on my previous comment: Google Maps satellite view has updated. That's the connector, but I think the pavement markings are Photoshopped.
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seicer

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Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #57 on: August 20, 2019, 11:59:04 AM »

You mean the markings at the current end of the Coalfields Expwy.? (https://goo.gl/maps/Tt3fV7F8GheXnZVh8) Those are legitimate markers. The rest south towards Mullens is graded but not paved.

X99

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Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #58 on: August 20, 2019, 12:33:56 PM »

You mean the markings at the current end of the Coalfields Expwy.? (https://goo.gl/maps/Tt3fV7F8GheXnZVh8) Those are legitimate markers. The rest south towards Mullens is graded but not paved.
No, I was referring to the Mullens Connector on WV 54 south of Otsego. The road direction lines up with the Facebook picture linked at the top of response page 3.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2019, 10:35:22 AM by X99 »
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X99

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Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #59 on: September 17, 2020, 09:23:34 PM »

Any new progress on this route, or has it stalled?
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74/171FAN

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Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #60 on: September 18, 2020, 09:24:10 AM »

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Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #61 on: September 18, 2020, 10:23:32 AM »

Any new progress on this route, or has it stalled?

It is planned to be extended to Mullens by the end of the year.
What's the next phase after Mullens? Going down to Welch or Grundy? Has it been funded?
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The Ghostbuster

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Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #62 on: September 18, 2020, 01:59:54 PM »

If the Coalfields Expressway is ever completed to US 23 in Pound, VA, I think it should remain a state highway in both states. They should ditch plans to make it US 121, since while it connects with the historic US 21 corridor, it won't connect with existing US 21. Of course, if the Virginia portion of the Coalfields Expressway were designated VA 121, the existing VA 121 from Fort Chiswell to Max Meadows would have to be renumbered or decommissioned. Given that the route is a little under 2 miles long, that shouldn't be a huge ordeal.
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hbelkins

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Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #63 on: September 18, 2020, 06:44:10 PM »

If the Coalfields Expressway is ever completed to US 23 in Pound, VA, I think it should remain a state highway in both states. They should ditch plans to make it US 121, since while it connects with the historic US 21 corridor, it won't connect with existing US 21. Of course, if the Virginia portion of the Coalfields Expressway were designated VA 121, the existing VA 121 from Fort Chiswell to Max Meadows would have to be renumbered or decommissioned. Given that the route is a little under 2 miles long, that shouldn't be a huge ordeal.

This route would be better as an x23 or x52 than 121. Even an x19 or an x60 would be more logical.
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Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #64 on: September 18, 2020, 07:03:45 PM »

If the Coalfields Expressway is ever completed to US 23 in Pound, VA, I think it should remain a state highway in both states. They should ditch plans to make it US 121, since while it connects with the historic US 21 corridor, it won't connect with existing US 21. Of course, if the Virginia portion of the Coalfields Expressway were designated VA 121, the existing VA 121 from Fort Chiswell to Max Meadows would have to be renumbered or decommissioned. Given that the route is a little under 2 miles long, that shouldn't be a huge ordeal.

This route would be better as an x23 or x52 than 121. Even an x19 or an x60 would be more logical.

Indeed, and US 121 should be used for FL/GA/SC 121, which is most likely why those state routes all share that number.  At the very least, improving the SC stretch of that highway would create a nice route from the Augusta area to the Charlotte area while avoiding Columbia.
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Takumi

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Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #65 on: September 18, 2020, 07:40:34 PM »

If the Coalfields Expressway is ever completed to US 23 in Pound, VA, I think it should remain a state highway in both states. They should ditch plans to make it US 121, since while it connects with the historic US 21 corridor, it won't connect with existing US 21. Of course, if the Virginia portion of the Coalfields Expressway were designated VA 121, the existing VA 121 from Fort Chiswell to Max Meadows would have to be renumbered or decommissioned. Given that the route is a little under 2 miles long, that shouldn't be a huge ordeal.
It could just be an extension of VA 94, which ends about of a mile south of the interchange.
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sparker

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Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #66 on: September 19, 2020, 06:17:46 AM »

If the Coalfields Expressway is ever completed to US 23 in Pound, VA, I think it should remain a state highway in both states. They should ditch plans to make it US 121, since while it connects with the historic US 21 corridor, it won't connect with existing US 21. Of course, if the Virginia portion of the Coalfields Expressway were designated VA 121, the existing VA 121 from Fort Chiswell to Max Meadows would have to be renumbered or decommissioned. Given that the route is a little under 2 miles long, that shouldn't be a huge ordeal.

This route would be better as an x23 or x52 than 121. Even an x19 or an x60 would be more logical.

Indeed, and US 121 should be used for FL/GA/SC 121, which is most likely why those state routes all share that number.  At the very least, improving the SC stretch of that highway would create a nice route from the Augusta area to the Charlotte area while avoiding Columbia.


A US 323 designation would be both appropriate and easy to remember due to its repeating integers. 
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Bitmapped

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Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #67 on: October 01, 2020, 04:30:12 PM »

Ribbon-cutting for the Mullens to Slab Fork section of the Coalfields Expressway occurred this afternoon:
The highway is supposed to open to traffic later today.
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The Ghostbuster

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Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #68 on: October 01, 2020, 05:15:10 PM »

Do they have any dates on when more segments of The Coalfields Expressway might be constructed and completed? The way things are going, we may have to wait until The Orville is ready to launch before the whole road reaches US 23 in Pound, Virginia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Orville.
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Bitmapped

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Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #69 on: October 01, 2020, 05:20:25 PM »

Do they have any dates on when more segments of The Coalfields Expressway might be constructed and completed? The way things are going, we may have to wait until The Orville is ready to launch before the whole road reaches US 23 in Pound, Virginia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Orville.

The Justice administration is trying to expedite construction of the West Virginia part, but that's still going to take a decade or more. My recollection is that VDOT's timetable is pretty drawn out.
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SP Cook

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Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #70 on: October 03, 2020, 11:17:38 AM »

Drove the road yesterday.  A few observations.

- As to signage, I don't care about all this fitting into the "correct" system of numberings.  The odd things about signage are that 121 just connects with the long existing 4-lane part of WV 54, and it ends at that point, about 4 miles from the Turnpike, which has no signages for the new road.  Clearly US 121 should end at the Turnpike if ever completed, and the mish mash of other road numbers put onto Valley Drive (I don't uses Klan names) should be removed.  Signage for the Turnpike exits should be redone totally.

- The road is pretty standard at the WV "corridor" style.   Traffic, of course, was near zero, as the road serves no real purpose and won't until many more miles are built.  Actually it just serves the small, near ghost town of Mullens in getting to Beckley now, even places elsewhere in Wyoming county would be better served to use the "old road".

- The road just ends at a rock face.  Not the typical deal where they at least grade a couple of hundred yards past the current end, so future construction is not right in the face of traffic.  The same deal as US 35 is today, which has caused many accidents. 

- The Mullens connector, which has no signed number, is about a mile and a third.  11% grade and very twisty.  And it dumps you out on WV 54 about 2 miles from actual Mullens. 

- With expressway mileage now in Wyoming, now only the most depressed of the coalfield counties, McDowell, now lacks any.
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hbelkins

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Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #71 on: October 03, 2020, 06:04:12 PM »

The numbering is odd, and was odd even before the Coalfields Expressway's first segment was built. Coming east, WV 54 and WV 97 are concurrent, and WV 54 ends at WV 16. Yet WV 97 continues concurrent with WV 16 and ends at the WV Turnpike. Seems like it would make more sense to have both 54 and 97 end at WV 16, or have 97 end at 54.
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Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #72 on: October 03, 2020, 06:48:22 PM »

The numbering is odd, and was odd even before the Coalfields Expressway's first segment was built. Coming east, WV 54 and WV 97 are concurrent, and WV 54 ends at WV 16. Yet WV 97 continues concurrent with WV 16 and ends at the WV Turnpike. Seems like it would make more sense to have both 54 and 97 end at WV 16, or have 97 end at 54.

Indeed, in older days WV-97 ended at WV-54, which ended at WV-16.  WV-97 is one of the newer state roads in West Virginia (about 1971) and originally ended at WV-10 just north of Pineville (which was still an important mining town back in those days).
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Bitmapped

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Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #73 on: October 04, 2020, 11:21:10 AM »

- The road is pretty standard at the WV "corridor" style.   Traffic, of course, was near zero, as the road serves no real purpose and won't until many more miles are built.  Actually it just serves the small, near ghost town of Mullens in getting to Beckley now, even places elsewhere in Wyoming county would be better served to use the "old road".

This is the same problem the King Coal Highway has/would have. It's on a ridge and provides little connectivity to existing towns along the way.

The eastern part of the Coalfields Expressway is useful as a bypass of Lester and Sophia, but DOH didn't really do any upgrades to Slab Fork Road (to WV 54) or McKinney Mountain Road (WV 16) that would have facilitated this. After that, I think the new road has no connections until the Mullens connector.

- The Mullens connector, which has no signed number, is about a mile and a third.  11% grade and very twisty.  And it dumps you out on WV 54 about 2 miles from actual Mullens. 

Corridor H's connector WV 93 near Scherr is the same (long 10% or 11% grade) and the Corridor H connector to US 219 south of Parsons will also have a similar long grade. These are going to be bad in the winter. I also noticed from photos that parts of WV 121 go in deep cuts like WV 99 on Bolt Mountain, which is notorious for ice problems due to lack of sunlight.

The numbering is odd, and was odd even before the Coalfields Expressway's first segment was built. Coming east, WV 54 and WV 97 are concurrent, and WV 54 ends at WV 16. Yet WV 97 continues concurrent with WV 16 and ends at the WV Turnpike. Seems like it would make more sense to have both 54 and 97 end at WV 16, or have 97 end at 54.

I haven't seen how signage has been updated on Robert C. Byrd Drive, but last time I was through, DOH has "Local Traffic Only" signs trying to scare through traffic off the Coalfields Expressway. I assume that's been changed to WV 121/Mullens now.

I agree that numbering should be cleaned up near Mabscott. Cutting WV 97 back to its first intersection with WV 54 and extending WV 121 to the Turnpike makes sense. The bigger question really is if there need to be three state routes serving the Beckley-Mullens corridor. The Coalfields Expressway and WV 16 are supposed to eventually overlap to near Caretta, so maybe just move WV 16 onto the Coalfields Expressway and call it a day? Once you get south of Sophia, the only thing on WV 16 until Mullens are a couple of dying ghosts of coal camps.
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hbelkins

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Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #74 on: October 04, 2020, 06:17:25 PM »

I've driven WV 16 between Beckley and Mullens twice, and WV 54 at least three times between those towns. WV 54 is definitely the preferred through route (or was, until the newest section of WV 121 opened) as it's on a better alignment and has some truck lanes.

Beckley to Pineville is better served by WV 97 than it is WV 10/WV 16 to Mullens, then your choice of route on to the east.

Last time I went east to Beckley using routes in southwest WV, I used WV 97 east from Pineville, because I'd only been on it once previously.
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