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Author Topic: Coalfields Expressway  (Read 32123 times)

hbelkins

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Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #100 on: June 03, 2021, 04:56:20 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.

It's not Street View, but I have a bunch of pictures at https://www.flickr.com/photos/hbelkins/albums/72157719325543773
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GCrites80s

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Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #101 on: June 04, 2021, 02:41:51 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.

The Google Car is clearly allergic to Appalachia as evidenced by its lack of coverage of the entire region. Don't expect anything soon. It will hit the same boring subdivision street in Cincinnati 5 times before it will cross the river.
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sparker

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Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #102 on: June 04, 2021, 04:03:47 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.

It's not Street View, but I have a bunch of pictures at https://www.flickr.com/photos/hbelkins/albums/72157719325543773

Outstanding pictures per your usual efforts!  Haven't spent much time in that neck of the woods except for Beckley, so it's mostly "virgin territory" for these eyes, so they're greatly appreciated.
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seicer

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Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #103 on: June 07, 2021, 09:47:55 AM »

400 new road projects proposed because of the surplus, including a line for the Coalfields Expresway in Raleigh County: https://www.wvnstv.com/top-stories/more-than-400-road-projects-planned-if-funding-approved-by-wv-legislature/

Henry

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Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #104 on: June 07, 2021, 10:37:31 AM »

400 new road projects proposed because of the surplus, including a line for the Coalfields Expresway in Raleigh County: https://www.wvnstv.com/top-stories/more-than-400-road-projects-planned-if-funding-approved-by-wv-legislature/
Well, this is great news indeed! Hopefully there'll be more to come in the following years.
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Bitmapped

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Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #105 on: June 07, 2021, 12:18:28 PM »

400 new road projects proposed because of the surplus, including a line for the Coalfields Expresway in Raleigh County: https://www.wvnstv.com/top-stories/more-than-400-road-projects-planned-if-funding-approved-by-wv-legislature/
Well, this is great news indeed! Hopefully there'll be more to come in the following years.
400 new road projects proposed because of the surplus, including a line for the Coalfields Expresway in Raleigh County: https://www.wvnstv.com/top-stories/more-than-400-road-projects-planned-if-funding-approved-by-wv-legislature/

The Coalfields Expressway project is for resurfacing of the existing section from WV 16 to Slab Fork Road. Most of these projects are minor resurfacing projects and slide repair.
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The Ghostbuster

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Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #106 on: June 08, 2021, 11:57:40 AM »

So it's not for extending the Coalfields Expressway further west, as was my assumption the "more than 400 projects" story.
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seicer

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Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #107 on: June 08, 2021, 01:56:05 PM »

With it being Raleigh County, I was kind of hoping that it would have been preliminary work on the extension from Sophia to Interstate 64. But looking at the press release by the state, all of these projects are preventative and maintenance in nature.

hbelkins

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Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #108 on: June 08, 2021, 05:01:43 PM »

Is there really a need for a new route from the current end of WV 121 to the interstate? The current WV 16/97 has four lanes and a handful of traffic lights, but it's certainly not as congested as, say, Corridor G in the Southridge area.
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GCrites80s

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Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #109 on: June 08, 2021, 08:50:05 PM »

With it being Raleigh County, I was kind of hoping that it would have been preliminary work on the extension from Sophia to Interstate 64. But looking at the press release by the state, all of these projects are preventative and maintenance in nature.

Fix it First.
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Bitmapped

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Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #110 on: June 09, 2021, 04:33:26 PM »

With it being Raleigh County, I was kind of hoping that it would have been preliminary work on the extension from Sophia to Interstate 64. But looking at the press release by the state, all of these projects are preventative and maintenance in nature.

Is there really a need for a new route from the current end of WV 121 to the interstate? The current WV 16/97 has four lanes and a handful of traffic lights, but it's certainly not as congested as, say, Corridor G in the Southridge area.

I doubt such a connection will ever be built. It's not needed. As HB said, the existing WV 16 alignment has two lanes in each direction and a good LOS.
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Bitmapped

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Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #111 on: June 09, 2021, 04:34:35 PM »

With it being Raleigh County, I was kind of hoping that it would have been preliminary work on the extension from Sophia to Interstate 64. But looking at the press release by the state, all of these projects are preventative and maintenance in nature.

Fix it First.

Basically. The roads are in such abysmal condition in much of the state that the public is up in arms about it. These dollars really just backfill for reduced gas tax revenue from the past year.
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hbelkins

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Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #112 on: June 09, 2021, 06:15:55 PM »

With it being Raleigh County, I was kind of hoping that it would have been preliminary work on the extension from Sophia to Interstate 64. But looking at the press release by the state, all of these projects are preventative and maintenance in nature.

Fix it First.

Basically. The roads are in such abysmal condition in much of the state that the public is up in arms about it. These dollars really just backfill for reduced gas tax revenue from the past year.

There are tons of "Roads to Prosperity Project" signs installed along the backroads of West Virginia. Looks to me like many of the projects are resurfacing and bridge replacements on rural roads. My drive along Mingo CR 3/5/Wayne CR 41 from Lenore through Dingess to Wilsondale revealed a couple of those signs.

Let me say that I'm not a fan of WV's "mill and fill" method of patching. To me, it makes the road rougher. I prefer strip patching.
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Dirt Roads

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Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #113 on: June 09, 2021, 07:48:46 PM »

Let me say that I'm not a fan of WV's "mill and fill" method of patching. To me, it makes the road rougher. I prefer strip patching.

The spot patches where WVDOH chops out a square were called "Jayholes" in tribute to Jay Rockefeller, who was governor when this method started in the mid-1970s.  I hadn't seen any for quite a while, but they have started to return in the past few year.
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TheGrassGuy

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Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #114 on: June 09, 2021, 08:18:06 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.

The Google Car is clearly allergic to Appalachia as evidenced by its lack of coverage of the entire region. Don't expect anything soon. It will hit the same boring subdivision street in Cincinnati 5 times before it will cross the river.
Ditto many parts of the Finger Lakes region in Upstate New York :(
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Bitmapped

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Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #115 on: June 10, 2021, 10:23:22 AM »

With it being Raleigh County, I was kind of hoping that it would have been preliminary work on the extension from Sophia to Interstate 64. But looking at the press release by the state, all of these projects are preventative and maintenance in nature.

Fix it First.

Basically. The roads are in such abysmal condition in much of the state that the public is up in arms about it. These dollars really just backfill for reduced gas tax revenue from the past year.

There are tons of "Roads to Prosperity Project" signs installed along the backroads of West Virginia. Looks to me like many of the projects are resurfacing and bridge replacements on rural roads. My drive along Mingo CR 3/5/Wayne CR 41 from Lenore through Dingess to Wilsondale revealed a couple of those signs.

WVDOH started installing signs branding everything they did, including previously planned and funded projects as well as routine maintenance, as "Roads to Prosperity" to support Jim Justice's reelection campaign.

Let me say that I'm not a fan of WV's "mill and fill" method of patching. To me, it makes the road rougher. I prefer strip patching.

The spot patches where WVDOH chops out a square were called "Jayholes" in tribute to Jay Rockefeller, who was governor when this method started in the mid-1970s.  I hadn't seen any for quite a while, but they have started to return in the past few year.

WVDOH made a big deal about doing this style of repair this year on their social media. The problem is they rarely tar-seal the edges of the patches, so water infiltrates the cuts and you get potholes there in a couple years. DOH also has a tendency to overuse patching like this - you'll get patches on top of patches leading to a rough surface like HB mentioned. At some point, they either need to do an overlay or a full-width mill-and-fill.

I'm partial to VDOT's skin patching technique, which was used here on US 250 in Highland County: https://goo.gl/maps/4Da49nXJP3xCBk8i9. They patch, then do a chip-seal overlay of the patched areas. It seems like this would be a lot faster and gives better protection against future failures. They have a video explaining the process at
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Bitmapped

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Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #116 on: June 26, 2021, 04:29:52 PM »

Governor Justice has announced plans to forward with construction of the Pineville to Welch segment of the Coalfields Expressway. Pineville to Mullens is unfunded, so traffic will still have to take WV 16 between the parts of the highway. The part that overlaps WV 10 recently received some minor improvements (shoulder widening, minor curve realignments) but it remains a slog.

https://www.register-herald.com/news/state_region/bond-money-earmarked-for-coalfields-expressway/article_060c84eb-edfe-5be4-b8ce-6b539d4e8489.html

I assume the move here is political - Justice gets to say he gave McDowell County its first four lane highway, and it more or less forces construction of the middle section. From a practical standpoint, it's a dumb move. Mullens to Pineville is probably the part of the road most needed (Mullens to Beckley already had good roads) and it's being built later.
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vdeane

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Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #117 on: June 26, 2021, 10:18:30 PM »

Governor Justice has announced plans to forward with construction of the Pineville to Welch segment of the Coalfields Expressway. Pineville to Mullens is unfunded, so traffic will still have to take WV 16 between the parts of the highway. The part that overlaps WV 10 recently received some minor improvements (shoulder widening, minor curve realignments) but it remains a slog.

https://www.register-herald.com/news/state_region/bond-money-earmarked-for-coalfields-expressway/article_060c84eb-edfe-5be4-b8ce-6b539d4e8489.html

I assume the move here is political - Justice gets to say he gave McDowell County its first four lane highway, and it more or less forces construction of the middle section. From a practical standpoint, it's a dumb move. Mullens to Pineville is probably the part of the road most needed (Mullens to Beckley already had good roads) and it's being built later.
How does it "force" the construction of anything?  The only people who will care that there's a gap are the people who want to see the road built anyways and roadgeeks.
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hbelkins

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Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #118 on: June 26, 2021, 10:49:51 PM »

Governor Justice has announced plans to forward with construction of the Pineville to Welch segment of the Coalfields Expressway. Pineville to Mullens is unfunded, so traffic will still have to take WV 16 between the parts of the highway. The part that overlaps WV 10 recently received some minor improvements (shoulder widening, minor curve realignments) but it remains a slog.

https://www.register-herald.com/news/state_region/bond-money-earmarked-for-coalfields-expressway/article_060c84eb-edfe-5be4-b8ce-6b539d4e8489.html

I assume the move here is political - Justice gets to say he gave McDowell County its first four lane highway, and it more or less forces construction of the middle section. From a practical standpoint, it's a dumb move. Mullens to Pineville is probably the part of the road most needed (Mullens to Beckley already had good roads) and it's being built later.
How does it "force" the construction of anything?  The only people who will care that there's a gap are the people who want to see the road built anyways and roadgeeks.

You will have a gap between two four-lane routes. To me, the worst part of Mullens to Pineville is that portion of WV 16 between WV 54 and WV 10.

If I'm building a four-lane road out of Welch, I'm building the King Coal (US 52) because it seems to me that Welch is logically more connected to Bluefield than Beckley.

Also, after reading that story, what's planned for Corridor G/Davis Creek in the Southridge area? And what is the Beckley Z-way?

Also, I don't get the "US 23 to I-81" reference in the Coalfields Expressway story. If you take existing or proposed routes from Welch to Pound, you have to backtrack to the southeast to get to I-81 at Kingsport/Johnson City.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2021, 10:53:37 PM by hbelkins »
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froggie

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Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #119 on: June 27, 2021, 11:30:46 AM »

The Beckley Z-Way appears to be an extension of the East Beckley Bypass south of I-64 to the Beaver vicinity.  The website refers to it as a "relocation of US 19" and maps suggest it would rejoin existing 19 near Old Crow Rd (CR 119/36).
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SP Cook

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Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #120 on: June 28, 2021, 09:49:45 AM »


I assume the move here is political - Justice gets to say he gave McDowell County its first four lane highway, and it more or less forces construction of the middle section. From a practical standpoint, it's a dumb move. Mullens to Pineville is probably the part of the road most needed (Mullens to Beckley already had good roads) and it's being built later.

I don't think JJ is thinking in future political terms at all.  He is term limited for 24, and would be 75 in 28. 

It is probably more the old tradition of building a middle section in order to force later decisions to connect the two.  Remember the first section of Corridor L was in Oak Hill. 

As to it being a dumb move, the entire project is a fool's errand, as it the King Coal Highway.   There is just no one and nothing there.  There is no economic potential.   The thing is that most anyone paying attention knows that, but its political suicide to tell people that. 

My read is that when the census tract and block numbers come out in a few months, we will see that part of the state lose something like a third of its representives in both state houses, which of course means there will be gains elsewhere (Charleston-Huntington suburbs, Morgantown, eastern panhandle) and that will be that. 
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seicer

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Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #121 on: June 28, 2021, 10:19:02 AM »

Governor Justice has announced plans to forward with construction of the Pineville to Welch segment of the Coalfields Expressway. Pineville to Mullens is unfunded, so traffic will still have to take WV 16 between the parts of the highway. The part that overlaps WV 10 recently received some minor improvements (shoulder widening, minor curve realignments) but it remains a slog.

I assume the move here is political - Justice gets to say he gave McDowell County its first four lane highway, and it more or less forces construction of the middle section. From a practical standpoint, it's a dumb move. Mullens to Pineville is probably the part of the road most needed (Mullens to Beckley already had good roads) and it's being built later.

I thought the Welch to Pineville segment was quick relatively modern with many straightaways versus the Pineville to Mullens segment which is more or less snaking along a river - and with a lot more traffic. I wonder if the priorities are determined by cost - the grading by Welch is partly complete.

vdeane

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Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #122 on: June 28, 2021, 01:49:34 PM »


I assume the move here is political - Justice gets to say he gave McDowell County its first four lane highway, and it more or less forces construction of the middle section. From a practical standpoint, it's a dumb move. Mullens to Pineville is probably the part of the road most needed (Mullens to Beckley already had good roads) and it's being built later.

I don't think JJ is thinking in future political terms at all.  He is term limited for 24, and would be 75 in 28. 

It is probably more the old tradition of building a middle section in order to force later decisions to connect the two.  Remember the first section of Corridor L was in Oak Hill. 

As to it being a dumb move, the entire project is a fool's errand, as it the King Coal Highway.   There is just no one and nothing there.  There is no economic potential.   The thing is that most anyone paying attention knows that, but its political suicide to tell people that. 

My read is that when the census tract and block numbers come out in a few months, we will see that part of the state lose something like a third of its representives in both state houses, which of course means there will be gains elsewhere (Charleston-Huntington suburbs, Morgantown, eastern panhandle) and that will be that. 
I'm still skeptical of the idea that building a piece with a gap "forces" building the rest.  Just look at the US 220/I-99 project in PA.  The freeway from Cedar Springs to Jersey Shore was built, but Jersey Shore to Williamsport and I-80 to Cedar Springs were left as gaps.  It's been that way for decades now, and there's no indication that the project will ever get done.  In fact, there are indications that it may have been fully cancelled.  The Mackeyville interchange was built with no provisions to widen US 220 to four lanes in that location, and there's now an upcoming project to make improvements to the existing divided highway between Jersey Shore and Williamsport instead of the originally planned freeway bypass.

Or look at the NY 17/I-86 project in NY.  I-86 exists from the PA line to US 220 and from I-81 to NY 79; there are also covered (for a decade) signs from NY 17K to I-84.  It also meets interstate standards around Kamikaze Curve and from NY 206 to NY 52.  By the logic that building the middle section forces the construction in the gaps, there should be a big push to get it upgraded and designated the whole way west of I-84... except there isn't.  Not even close.  In fact, the "TO" banners on the shields around Binghamton look quite permanent and have no provisions to be easily taken down later.

So no, building a middle section doesn't "force" the construction of anything.  Sometimes you're just left with gaps in the end.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2021, 01:53:13 PM by vdeane »
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seicer

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Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #123 on: June 28, 2021, 02:00:03 PM »

The Mackeyville interchange was built with future provisions; the right-of-way is wide enough for four lanes with a barrier median, and the ramps would need to be reconfigured but that's not terribly difficult. As far as the improvements west of Williamsport, as far as I could read the tea leaves those are meant to be a band-aid to resolve the most immediate (safety) issues, not handle long-term capacity or system continuity.

But in West Virginia, there have been instances of gaps never being filled in - US 33's "racetrack" section the biggest example of that. That was partly because of environmental concerns, but it left the Elkins bypass incomplete. Thankfully, those "gaps" in Corridor H are being filled in West Virginia and hopefully, rising traffic levels on US 48 will force Virginia's hand at some point.

Bitmapped

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Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #124 on: June 28, 2021, 05:00:27 PM »

I'm still skeptical of the idea that building a piece with a gap "forces" building the rest.  Just look at the US 220/I-99 project in PA.  The freeway from Cedar Springs to Jersey Shore was built, but Jersey Shore to Williamsport and I-80 to Cedar Springs were left as gaps.  It's been that way for decades now, and there's no indication that the project will ever get done.  In fact, there are indications that it may have been fully cancelled.  The Mackeyville interchange was built with no provisions to widen US 220 to four lanes in that location, and there's now an upcoming project to make improvements to the existing divided highway between Jersey Shore and Williamsport instead of the originally planned freeway bypass.

Or look at the NY 17/I-86 project in NY.  I-86 exists from the PA line to US 220 and from I-81 to NY 79; there are also covered (for a decade) signs from NY 17K to I-84.  It also meets interstate standards around Kamikaze Curve and from NY 206 to NY 52.  By the logic that building the middle section forces the construction in the gaps, there should be a big push to get it upgraded and designated the whole way west of I-84... except there isn't.  Not even close.  In fact, the "TO" banners on the shields around Binghamton look quite permanent and have no provisions to be easily taken down later.

So no, building a middle section doesn't "force" the construction of anything.  Sometimes you're just left with gaps in the end.

Your examples are (mostly) 4-lane roads that largely provide adequate service for existing traffic. They just need conversions to full freeway, or in the cast of some parts of NY 17, minor upgrades so they can be designed as Interstates. The end benefit from the upgrades is relatively small. This is a far cry from the West Virginia examples where the existing roads are non-upgraded two-lane roads that are woefully inadequate for any through traffic, where a new alignment road would be a huge improvement over what exists now. I don't think the two can be reasonably compared.
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