AARoads Forum

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length

Author Topic: Coalfields Expressway  (Read 40174 times)

SP Cook

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 2568
  • Last Login: March 31, 2023, 01:39:48 PM
Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #75 on: October 05, 2020, 12:34:41 PM »

As to WV 97, the original route ran from Pineville to a junction with WV 54 at Maben.  Later when CR 9 got some minor upgrades, it was extended from Pineville to a junction with US 52 near Gilbert.  This makes sense.  The rest is economic development foolishness.  The state built a number of state parks in not really that scenic places in the 60s and 70s.  One of these was Twin Falls.  A local pol came up with the idea that directions to the place were somehow "too complicated" and had 97 multiplexed onto 54 and then 16, ending at the turnpike.  It has not helped.

As to 16 and 54, 16 is a much older route.  54 and the relevant sections of 97 between Pineville and Maben, were not built until the late 60s.  54 and 97 are a much better route between Pineville and Beckley.

Logged

hbelkins

  • *
  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 18723
  • It is well, it is well, with my soul.

  • Age: 61
  • Location: Kentucky
  • Last Login: March 31, 2023, 02:22:20 PM
    • Millennium Highway
Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #76 on: October 05, 2020, 07:48:46 PM »

Were some of the improvements to WV 97 between Gilbert and Pineville because of the lake nearby being built? A lot of that route looks like Corps of Engineers reconstruction work.

Last time I was through there, the PA 97 signs on the US 52 end of the route were still there.
Logged


Government would be tolerable if not for politicians and bureaucrats.

Bitmapped

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 1038
  • Location: Morgantown, WV
  • Last Login: March 31, 2023, 01:40:59 PM
Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #77 on: October 05, 2020, 11:51:02 PM »

Were some of the improvements to WV 97 between Gilbert and Pineville because of the lake nearby being built? A lot of that route looks like Corps of Engineers reconstruction work.

Last time I was through there, the PA 97 signs on the US 52 end of the route were still there.

CR 9/WV 97 have always been on their present corridor. They weren't directly impacted by the construction of R.D. Bailey Lake. A small part near CR 9/1 and more where the road is next to the river by Baileysville are below the maximum flood control pool of the dam, but the water has never actually gotten high enough that they've been impacted.

There weren't any through routes that followed the river prior to it being dammed. Parts of the river had no parallel road at all, just the Virginian Railway that was relocated. CR 9/1 was extended and gained a bridge over the river to provide a connection to Coal Mountain after old CR 6/5 was flooded out. I'm sure the Corps paid for that construction and perhaps a bit of work on WV 97 where it intersects CR 9/1. Otherwise, I don't think there's much here the Corps would have needed to pay for. It's not like US 19 at Stonewall Jackson Lake where they had to build miles of new road because the old roadbed was flooded.
Logged

seicer

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 2085
  • Last Login: March 31, 2023, 10:28:43 PM
    • Bridges & Tunnels
Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #78 on: October 06, 2020, 10:02:03 AM »

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.

It's interesting to see WVDOH switch to using concrete for most of their highway projects again: Corridor H, King Coal Highway (the newest segments); Coalfields Expressway (the latest segment); US 35 (for much of it).

SP Cook

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 2568
  • Last Login: March 31, 2023, 01:39:48 PM
Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #79 on: October 06, 2020, 01:10:32 PM »

As to 97, the bridge at Baileysville, across from the 971 junction and about 1 1/2 miles from there towards Hanover that was wedged between the railroad and the river were rebuilt, more or less by just filling in material and build a new road that was several feet higher on the exact same alignment, by the USACOE.  The majority of the improvements to CR 9 occurred about a decade later, outside the flood plain between Baileysville and Pineville.   
Logged

sparker

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 8495
  • Location: Bay Area, CA
  • Last Login: September 12, 2021, 12:44:33 AM
Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #80 on: October 06, 2020, 06:22:20 PM »

Historically, Mullens was the west end of the historical Virginian Railway electrified section that extended from there to Roanoke, VA. -- essentially an electrified "conveyor belt" for coal from the region.  Mullens was a gathering point for local "mine runs"; trains ran east over the electrified Virginian all the way to the export docks in Norfolk or north to the New York Central "interchange" (where NYC locomotives replaced those of the Virginian) at Gauley Bridge in the New River gorge -- eventually ending up in Columbus, OH or points north of there.  The electrification was removed in the 1960's after Norfolk & Western bought out the largely parallel Virginian, and the northbound traffic was rerouted to the N & W main line along US 52 north into Ohio.  Mullens became a shadow of its former self at that point -- it's raison d'etre having been obviated by the system reconfiguration of the parent railroad. 
Logged

Bitmapped

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 1038
  • Location: Morgantown, WV
  • Last Login: March 31, 2023, 01:40:59 PM
Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #81 on: January 31, 2021, 03:15:26 PM »

I drove the entire length of the Coalfields Expressway yesterday heading westbound. Starting from WV 16, WV 121 is now signed as the route to Mullens. WV 54 is now signed for Lester (I think). WV 121 now has two through lanes, leading to the west/south direction of Robert C. Byrd Drive being four lanes wide near the WV 16/WV 121 split.

I didn't observe any changes in the section over to Slab Fork Road that has been open for years.

Past Slab Fork Road, the road and shoulders are concrete all the way over to Mullens. Traffic was light - this could have been built as 2 lanes without any real problem. There were I think three places where there were "intersections" with access roads for adjoining properties, but there are no connections to other public roads in the 9-mile span until you get to the Mullens connector. The road was not built on top of the ridge as I had expected, but rather about halfway up the side of the ridge. There are a number of large rock cuts and some decent fills.

As you approach the end of the new section, the speed limit drops to 55 and then to 40. It ends in a 90-degree turn onto the Mullens Connector, which is signed as "To WV 54" and "To WV 121" rather than WV 121 proper. WVDOH did not build any stub of the mainlane past the interchange, so any future construction to extend the road will impact the mainline. The road basically ends in the side of the mountain, so a lot of earthwork is going to be required for an extension.

Heading into Mullens, the new connector is two undivided lanes (no climbing lane) and is quite twisty. It is signed for a mile-long 11% grade. I hate to see what this will be like in the winter. I suspect a lot of people will stick to WV 54 during bad weather.

The new road improves connectivity to Mullens, but I'm not sure how useful it is beyond that at this point. WV 97 is/was the preferred route from Pineville and beyond to Beckley because of its better alignment over WV 16 west/south of Mullens. I don't know that the new route really changes the arithmetic. WV 54 is already a relatively modern road between Mullens and Beckley. I think WVDOH would have been better off focusing its efforts west of Mullens or perhaps south/west of Pineville, where the new road would have represented more of an improvement over the existing network.
Logged

seicer

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 2085
  • Last Login: March 31, 2023, 10:28:43 PM
    • Bridges & Tunnels
Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #82 on: February 01, 2021, 08:33:43 AM »

Wasn't this section of the roadway developed in conjunction with the coal companies? Weren't they essentially strip mining on the side of the mountain? Or am I thinking of the King Coal Highway segment near Welch?

SP Cook

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 2568
  • Last Login: March 31, 2023, 01:39:48 PM
Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #83 on: February 01, 2021, 09:58:44 AM »

Wasn't this section of the roadway developed in conjunction with the coal companies? Weren't they essentially strip mining on the side of the mountain? Or am I thinking of the King Coal Highway segment near Welch?

King Coal
Logged

hbelkins

  • *
  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 18723
  • It is well, it is well, with my soul.

  • Age: 61
  • Location: Kentucky
  • Last Login: March 31, 2023, 02:22:20 PM
    • Millennium Highway
Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #84 on: February 01, 2021, 03:48:05 PM »

Wasn't this section of the roadway developed in conjunction with the coal companies? Weren't they essentially strip mining on the side of the mountain? Or am I thinking of the King Coal Highway segment near Welch?

US 52 in Mingo County between Williamson and Gilbert. The coal companies were basically doing the grade work.

Anyone know the status of that route beyond the current end at WV 44?
Logged


Government would be tolerable if not for politicians and bureaucrats.

sbeaver44

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 572
  • Accountant/Roadgeek

  • Age: 35
  • Location: Lewisberry, Pennsylvania
  • Last Login: March 26, 2023, 03:12:58 PM
    • Flickr - WestPA31
Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #85 on: May 31, 2021, 02:35:24 PM »

Reading (I want to say it was GribbleNation but I cannot find it) I recall that WV graded, but did not pave, the theoretical area where the Coalfields and King Coal highways would meet.

Gribblenation does mention it in 2 posts from 2008 that I can find, but I remember the page having a picture of the actual area. ďThe Coalfields/King Coal interchange has been completed but sits empty and unused until the two highways finally reach the three level interchange.Ē

1) Is this located behind FCI McDowell in the clearing north of Welch?

If the answer to 1 is yes:
2) Given the proximity to a Federal Correctional Institution, is there any LEGAL way to get back to the site of the proposed interchange (or see it from afar even)
3) Why was this even built so long ago?  Did they clear the land for the prison (and I guess a future Industrial Park)?
4) What would the interchange look like and does the presence of FCI McDowell and/or Indian Ridge Industrial Park change the design?

I may have a shot at passing that way in July, which is why Iím asking.   Iíve always been very curious about this random rural location that WV did work on for two highways that arenít necessarily even close to becoming a reality through the area.
Logged

Bitmapped

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 1038
  • Location: Morgantown, WV
  • Last Login: March 31, 2023, 01:40:59 PM
Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #86 on: May 31, 2021, 05:57:50 PM »

Reading (I want to say it was GribbleNation but I cannot find it) I recall that WV graded, but did not pave, the theoretical area where the Coalfields and King Coal highways would meet.

Gribblenation does mention it in 2 posts from 2008 that I can find, but I remember the page having a picture of the actual area. ďThe Coalfields/King Coal interchange has been completed but sits empty and unused until the two highways finally reach the three level interchange.Ē

1) Is this located behind FCI McDowell in the clearing north of Welch?

If the answer to 1 is yes:
2) Given the proximity to a Federal Correctional Institution, is there any LEGAL way to get back to the site of the proposed interchange (or see it from afar even)
3) Why was this even built so long ago?  Did they clear the land for the prison (and I guess a future Industrial Park)?
4) What would the interchange look like and does the presence of FCI McDowell and/or Indian Ridge Industrial Park change the design?

I may have a shot at passing that way in July, which is why Iím asking.   Iíve always been very curious about this random rural location that WV did work on for two highways that arenít necessarily even close to becoming a reality through the area.

Yes, this is near FCI McDowell. I believe you can get near the site on the access road, but I haven't tried myself. The only thing there is grading, and as far as I can tell, just grading for the Coalfields Expressway through lanes. There is nothing discernable for the King Coal Highway or an interchange itself.

My understanding is this is intended to be a "volleyball" interchange like at I-470 and US 250/WV 2 near Wheeling. The roadbed was built in conjunction with the prison and industrial park as it was more cost effective to do all of the grading for the entire site at one time. That's why the grading was done so long ago.
« Last Edit: May 31, 2021, 06:19:43 PM by Bitmapped »
Logged

sbeaver44

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 572
  • Accountant/Roadgeek

  • Age: 35
  • Location: Lewisberry, Pennsylvania
  • Last Login: March 26, 2023, 03:12:58 PM
    • Flickr - WestPA31
Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #87 on: May 31, 2021, 06:07:39 PM »

Well that all makes sense!  Thanks!
Logged

seicer

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 2085
  • Last Login: March 31, 2023, 10:28:43 PM
    • Bridges & Tunnels
Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #88 on: May 31, 2021, 06:35:53 PM »

^ Correct. I recall the volleyball interchange type based on a conversation with the Executive Director years ago.

NE2

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 14367
  • fuck

  • Age: 14
  • Location: central Florida
  • Last Login: Today at 12:39:39 AM
Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #89 on: May 31, 2021, 07:41:26 PM »

That three level interchange stuff is a bunch of bullshit. If you check the plans, there is (or at least was several years ago) no clearing where the two will cross.
Logged
pre-1945 Florida route log

I accept and respect your identity as long as it's not dumb shit like "identifying as a vaccinated attack helicopter".

I agree to indemnify Belkin against unauthorized use of its MiniVak vacuum.

hbelkins

  • *
  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 18723
  • It is well, it is well, with my soul.

  • Age: 61
  • Location: Kentucky
  • Last Login: March 31, 2023, 02:22:20 PM
    • Millennium Highway
Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #90 on: May 31, 2021, 07:54:43 PM »

I drove the new section of the Coalfields Expressway Saturday. It's now fully signed as WV 121/Mullens from WV 16/WV 54, but no signage for WV 97 on the overheads, even though that route continues concurrent with WV 16 to the  WV Turnpike, where there's an END WV 97 sign posted and has been for years.

The new section is paved with concrete and is signed for 65 mph. Unlike the previous ending at Slab Fork Road, there's no evidence of future construction beyond the endpoint. The road dead-ends into a mountainside at the access road to WV 54. There will probably be people who slam into that cliff despite a lane closure and the speed limit being lowered to 40 mph in advance of the turnoff to the connector.

That road is also concrete, and is steep (signed for 11% grade). Signage on WV 54 is TO WV 121.
Logged


Government would be tolerable if not for politicians and bureaucrats.

seicer

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 2085
  • Last Login: March 31, 2023, 10:28:43 PM
    • Bridges & Tunnels
Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #91 on: May 31, 2021, 08:52:20 PM »

That three level interchange stuff is a bunch of bullshit. If you check the plans, there is (or at least was several years ago) no clearing where the two will cross.

Posted before but I'll post it again, the general location of the interchange will be at https://mapwv.gov/shpo/viewer/index.html?wkid=102100&x=-9078615&y=4506917&l=9 (red line is King Coal Highway, black line is Coalfields Expressway). The plans, at least 15 years ago, was for a Interstate 470-US Route 250 style interchange near Wheeling - or what is at the Southern Beltway-US Route 22 near Pittsburgh. I don't have those scans anymore.

NE2

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 14367
  • fuck

  • Age: 14
  • Location: central Florida
  • Last Login: Today at 12:39:39 AM
Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #92 on: May 31, 2021, 09:40:59 PM »

Based on the FEIS it's a bit to the north, roughly 37.486679,-81.555523. There's a bit of clearing but it's certainly not the place Wikipoo claims with a photo.
Logged
pre-1945 Florida route log

I accept and respect your identity as long as it's not dumb shit like "identifying as a vaccinated attack helicopter".

I agree to indemnify Belkin against unauthorized use of its MiniVak vacuum.

seicer

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 2085
  • Last Login: March 31, 2023, 10:28:43 PM
    • Bridges & Tunnels
Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #93 on: June 01, 2021, 09:51:26 AM »

I realized that the link doesn't enable layers. Under References, check "WV DOT Routes" to show the proposed routings, which can still be amended until the final designs are completed.

I did peer back at the WV SAMB (2003) map and it shows the grading much more better than later years because of the overgrowth.

Tom958

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 1363
  • Age: 64
  • Location: Lawrenceville, GA
  • Last Login: Today at 03:07:45 AM
Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #94 on: June 02, 2021, 06:18:24 AM »

As you approach the end of the new section, the speed limit drops to 55 and then to 40. It ends in a 90-degree turn onto the Mullens Connector, which is signed as "To WV 54" and "To WV 121" rather than WV 121 proper. WVDOH did not build any stub of the mainlane past the interchange, so any future construction to extend the road will impact the mainline. The road basically ends in the side of the mountain, so a lot of earthwork is going to be required for an extension.

Heading into Mullens, the new connector is two undivided lanes (no climbing lane) and is quite twisty. It is signed for a mile-long 11% grade. I hate to see what this will be like in the winter. I suspect a lot of people will stick to WV 54 during bad weather.

I'd like to think that due consideration was given to extending the new segment to a point where access between the new highway and the old was far more user-friendly. I wonder where that might be.
Logged

Henry

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 7725
  • Age: 52
  • Location: Chicago, IL/Seattle, WA
  • Last Login: Today at 01:39:58 AM
    • Henry Watson's Online Freeway
Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #95 on: June 02, 2021, 11:13:09 AM »

Reading (I want to say it was GribbleNation but I cannot find it) I recall that WV graded, but did not pave, the theoretical area where the Coalfields and King Coal highways would meet.

Gribblenation does mention it in 2 posts from 2008 that I can find, but I remember the page having a picture of the actual area. ďThe Coalfields/King Coal interchange has been completed but sits empty and unused until the two highways finally reach the three level interchange.Ē

1) Is this located behind FCI McDowell in the clearing north of Welch?

If the answer to 1 is yes:
2) Given the proximity to a Federal Correctional Institution, is there any LEGAL way to get back to the site of the proposed interchange (or see it from afar even)
3) Why was this even built so long ago?  Did they clear the land for the prison (and I guess a future Industrial Park)?
4) What would the interchange look like and does the presence of FCI McDowell and/or Indian Ridge Industrial Park change the design?

I may have a shot at passing that way in July, which is why Iím asking.   Iíve always been very curious about this random rural location that WV did work on for two highways that arenít necessarily even close to becoming a reality through the area.

Yes, this is near FCI McDowell. I believe you can get near the site on the access road, but I haven't tried myself. The only thing there is grading, and as far as I can tell, just grading for the Coalfields Expressway through lanes. There is nothing discernable for the King Coal Highway or an interchange itself.

My understanding is this is intended to be a "volleyball" interchange like at I-470 and US 250/WV 2 near Wheeling. The roadbed was built in conjunction with the prison and industrial park as it was more cost effective to do all of the grading for the entire site at one time. That's why the grading was done so long ago.
The way I see it, the unbuilt King Coal would've been I-73/I-74, but since WV has no intention of ever building it, there's no reason for the interchange to exist until the connecting road comes through eventually. However, it is a good compromise to have US 52 upgraded to at-grade expressway wherever possible, so there's that.
Logged
Go Cubs Go! Go Cubs Go! Hey Chicago, what do you say? The Cubs are gonna win today!

NE2

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 14367
  • fuck

  • Age: 14
  • Location: central Florida
  • Last Login: Today at 12:39:39 AM
Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #96 on: June 02, 2021, 11:48:06 AM »

I realized that the link doesn't enable layers. Under References, check "WV DOT Routes" to show the proposed routings, which can still be amended until the final designs are completed.

I did peer back at the WV SAMB (2003) map and it shows the grading much more better than later years because of the overgrowth.

Which shows that the Coalfields data is imprecise. And there's no grading for the King Coal, which the FEIS puts on a straightened version of the ridgeline to the north: https://transportation.wv.gov/highways/engineering/comment/closed/kch-belodelbarton/SupportingDocuments/KingCoalFEIS/KING%20COAL%20FEIS_front.pdf p. 23
Logged
pre-1945 Florida route log

I accept and respect your identity as long as it's not dumb shit like "identifying as a vaccinated attack helicopter".

I agree to indemnify Belkin against unauthorized use of its MiniVak vacuum.

hbelkins

  • *
  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 18723
  • It is well, it is well, with my soul.

  • Age: 61
  • Location: Kentucky
  • Last Login: March 31, 2023, 02:22:20 PM
    • Millennium Highway
Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #97 on: June 02, 2021, 02:20:58 PM »

As you approach the end of the new section, the speed limit drops to 55 and then to 40. It ends in a 90-degree turn onto the Mullens Connector, which is signed as "To WV 54" and "To WV 121" rather than WV 121 proper. WVDOH did not build any stub of the mainlane past the interchange, so any future construction to extend the road will impact the mainline. The road basically ends in the side of the mountain, so a lot of earthwork is going to be required for an extension.

Heading into Mullens, the new connector is two undivided lanes (no climbing lane) and is quite twisty. It is signed for a mile-long 11% grade. I hate to see what this will be like in the winter. I suspect a lot of people will stick to WV 54 during bad weather.


I'd like to think that due consideration was given to extending the new segment to a point where access between the new highway and the old was far more user-friendly. I wonder where that might be.


Most likely, WV 121 will cross over WV 54 via a rather tall bridge there, similar to how US 48 intersects WV 93, as WV 54 runs through a valley. There are a couple of stream crossings on WV 54 in that general area, along with the Mullens Elementary School.

Got my pictures from my trip uploaded. https://www.flickr.com/photos/hbelkins/albums/72157719325543773
« Last Edit: June 02, 2021, 02:23:44 PM by hbelkins »
Logged


Government would be tolerable if not for politicians and bureaucrats.

seicer

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 2085
  • Last Login: March 31, 2023, 10:28:43 PM
    • Bridges & Tunnels
Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #98 on: June 02, 2021, 09:24:57 PM »

I was surprised coming out of Beckley towards Mullens how much traffic was on WV 16/54. It was a pretty solid line of cars going west. I also got delayed with a coal mine letting out around then, too. At some point, they will need to install a turn lane at Slab Fork Road which is a convenient shortcut to WV 97.

Did you catch WVDOH repairing pretty much every joint replacement they conducted just a few years back on I-64 east of the Turnpike? Pretty much all of their repairs west of the Bragg interchange failed unlike the repairs east from Bragg.

The Ghostbuster

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 3830
  • Age: 38
  • Location: Madison, WI
  • Last Login: March 31, 2023, 02:51:52 PM
Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #99 on: June 03, 2021, 01:04:28 PM »

I hope they run a Google Car through this area soon. The Coalfields Expressway [July 2019] Street View segment terminates at Slab Fork Rd. (County Highway 34). As for WV 121's new terminus at WV 54, no Google Car has penetrated that segment since October 2008.
Logged

 


Opinions expressed here on belong solely to the poster and do not represent or reflect the opinions or beliefs of AARoads, its creators and/or associates.