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Author Topic: Coalfields Expressway  (Read 32119 times)

seicer

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Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #150 on: August 07, 2021, 11:32:42 AM »

Capito says King Coal Highway, Coalfields Expressway are priorities for the state

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.

seicer

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Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #151 on: August 11, 2021, 10:00:45 AM »

Preparations underway to begin Coalfields Expressway in McDowell

Preparations for construction of the (four-lane) Coalfields Expressway from Wyoming County to Welch are well under way.

Pack said DOH is “shooting for the spring” of 2022 to begin moving dirt for the project.

“That bond sale that made this possible means the project is being fast-tracked,” he said of the Parkways Authority bond sale that recently raised $423 million, $200 million of which was earmarked for the Coalfields Expressway extension to Welch. “We are finalizing the last right-ofway purchases that are necessary for the project.”

Pack said a two-lane connector will be constructed just west of Welch Community Hospital on Rt. 7 and it will go up on a ridge and ride that ridge to another connector that comes out on Rt. 16 in Wyoming County.

That is several miles and a substantial project, he said. “There are no bridges. It’s nothing but moving dirt around.”

Pack said the DOH is also already working on the design of the King Coal Highway intersection with the Coalfields Expressway at the McDowell County/ Wyoming County line.

NE2

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Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #152 on: August 11, 2021, 06:50:38 PM »

Ah, the portion past the prison where no three-level diamond has been graded.
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Bitmapped

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Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #153 on: August 11, 2021, 10:14:19 PM »

Pack said a two-lane connector will be constructed just west of Welch Community Hospital on Rt. 7 and it will go up on a ridge and ride that ridge to another connector that comes out on Rt. 16 in Wyoming County.

That is several miles and a substantial project, he said. “There are no bridges. It’s nothing but moving dirt around.”

The McDowell/Wyoming county line is just north of the prison, not far from Welch. It sounds like this new section is pretty useless by itself - you might as well just stay on WV 16 in the valley rather than go up on top of the ridge to just come back down.
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seicer

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Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #154 on: August 12, 2021, 08:27:54 AM »

Interestingly, I had no idea the Parkways Authority was selling bonds for these projects.

Bitmapped

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Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #155 on: August 12, 2021, 10:46:58 AM »

Interestingly, I had no idea the Parkways Authority was selling bonds for these projects.

That's why tolls were increased on the Turnpike. There was weird cross-funding: general obligation bond dollars are paying for the Turnpike widening near Beckley, and Turnpike revenue bonds are paying for off-Turnpike projects in southern West Virginia.
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Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #156 on: September 08, 2021, 04:48:28 PM »

That's why tolls were increased on the Turnpike. There was weird cross-funding: general obligation bond dollars are paying for the Turnpike widening near Beckley, and Turnpike revenue bonds are paying for off-Turnpike projects in southern West Virginia.

I talked to a guy who works for the Parkways Authority. Seems they 1) underestimated EZPass adoption and 2) even with (1) they overestimated the impact of the Turnpike revenue bonds and he sees a toll increase in the not-too-distant future using the "we're one of the cheapest toll roads in the region" line. I was asking about the Turnpike upgrading their archaic mainline toll barriers - something which was promised with the toll increase - and of course they have no funding for the modernization of even the Chelyan barrier (which is a nightmare during summer high-traffic weekends).
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seicer

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Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #157 on: September 08, 2021, 05:06:35 PM »

Justice determined to see King Coal Highway finished

"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."

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Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #158 on: September 08, 2021, 08:38:01 PM »

That's why tolls were increased on the Turnpike. There was weird cross-funding: general obligation bond dollars are paying for the Turnpike widening near Beckley, and Turnpike revenue bonds are paying for off-Turnpike projects in southern West Virginia.

I talked to a guy who works for the Parkways Authority. Seems they 1) underestimated EZPass adoption and 2) even with (1) they overestimated the impact of the Turnpike revenue bonds and he sees a toll increase in the not-too-distant future using the "we're one of the cheapest toll roads in the region" line. I was asking about the Turnpike upgrading their archaic mainline toll barriers - something which was promised with the toll increase - and of course they have no funding for the modernization of even the Chelyan barrier (which is a nightmare during summer high-traffic weekends).

Parkways just needs to ditch the toll barriers and go full all-electronic tolling, but that's politically challenging because it would impact jobs.

If E-ZPass adoption is up that much, it would seem to point towards at least having full-time E-ZPass lanes all the time.
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SP Cook

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Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #159 on: September 09, 2021, 09:31:57 AM »

- Justice is term limited, so his views on the subject get less relevant each day, but if you look at a map, a complete KC/Tolsia takes something like 15 miles off the existing I-77/I-64, while a completed CFE US 121 might take 25 off the existing I-77/ Corridor Q US 460, which still is incomplete in Virginia.  Both pass through areas of tiny population.  I certainly see no desire in Virginia to build the rest of Q, let alone this project. 

- As I understand it, the turnpike bonds deal is a sort of loophole.  They use general money to work on the turnpike and this create the legal fiction that the turnpike “owes” the state money, and thus can issue bonds to “pay back” that debt, thus avoiding the legal requirement that the tolls be taken off a road that was upgraded with 90% federal money and which was paid off in 1985.

- The turnpike toll booths, southbound, are overwhelmed on the Sunday after Thanksgiving (which says a lot about a lot) but other than that, seem adequate.  You might wait 90 seconds.
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hbelkins

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Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #160 on: September 09, 2021, 11:59:16 AM »

That's why tolls were increased on the Turnpike. There was weird cross-funding: general obligation bond dollars are paying for the Turnpike widening near Beckley, and Turnpike revenue bonds are paying for off-Turnpike projects in southern West Virginia.

I talked to a guy who works for the Parkways Authority. Seems they 1) underestimated EZPass adoption and 2) even with (1) they overestimated the impact of the Turnpike revenue bonds and he sees a toll increase in the not-too-distant future using the "we're one of the cheapest toll roads in the region" line. I was asking about the Turnpike upgrading their archaic mainline toll barriers - something which was promised with the toll increase - and of course they have no funding for the modernization of even the Chelyan barrier (which is a nightmare during summer high-traffic weekends).

Parkways just needs to ditch the toll barriers and go full all-electronic tolling, but that's politically challenging because it would impact jobs.

If E-ZPass adoption is up that much, it would seem to point towards at least having full-time E-ZPass lanes all the time.

The 5 mph speed limit on even the E-ZPass-only lanes is frustrating.

There certainly isn't a lot of room for widening at Chelyan (I always called that one Cabin Creek) but it would be nice if they would at least tear down a couple of booths, install jersey barriers between the lanes, and let E-ZPass traffic pass through at a speed higher than 5 mph. Even 35 or 40 would be a better option.

- Justice is term limited, so his views on the subject get less relevant each day, but if you look at a map, a complete KC/Tolsia takes something like 15 miles off the existing I-77/I-64, while a completed CFE US 121 might take 25 off the existing I-77/ Corridor Q US 460, which still is incomplete in Virginia.  Both pass through areas of tiny population.  I certainly see no desire in Virginia to build the rest of Q, let alone this project.

Think Justice might be like Arch Moore and sit out a term, and then try to come back? Or is he done with politics, having dealt with the hassles over where he sleeps at night and stuff like that?

Regarding Virginia, I think they'll basically be forced to finish US 460 to Grundy. Kentucky will have its section of Q finished in a couple of years, and the section beyond the current end of the four-lane at Breaks is just waiting for surface. That traffic will have to be shunted over to Grundy somehow, and SR 609 between Breaks and existing 460 isn't designed to handle a large volume of traffic, nor bigger vehicles.

I'm still not sure where the future route will tie in to the existing four-lane near Grundy.
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Bitmapped

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Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #161 on: September 09, 2021, 02:24:40 PM »

Think Justice might be like Arch Moore and sit out a term, and then try to come back? Or is he done with politics, having dealt with the hassles over where he sleeps at night and stuff like that?

No. Justice is done. Nobody in either party likes him much at this point and there are a number of ambitious Republicans who want their shot at the office. It's not like during Arch Moore's era when Moore was pretty much it for the WVGOP bench.
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SP Cook

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Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #162 on: September 09, 2021, 02:37:05 PM »

I would agree with that, and add that Justice is currently 70.  Term limited in 24, he would be 77 in 28, and is not in the best of health. 

The other thing I would add, and mods I mean this in the context of civics, and not politics, is to look at the Census numbers.   The population loss sketches out to about five to six delegates (out of 100) and at least 2 or perhaps 4 state senators (out of 34) being reapportioned from that region to places like the eastern panhandle, and Putnam and Monongalia counties, which will, IMHO, greatly change the transportation priorities for a long time to come. 
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hbelkins

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Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #163 on: September 09, 2021, 08:28:56 PM »

Found my own answer, quite accidentally, to the question about connecting future US 460 to the existing route.


Looks like existing 460 will be widened for a short distance north of Grundy, and then use a new alignment to cross the river and climb the mountain.
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GCrites80s

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Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #164 on: September 09, 2021, 08:46:25 PM »



- The turnpike toll booths, southbound, are overwhelmed on the Sunday after Thanksgiving (which says a lot about a lot)

The shift of native West Virginian migration patterns from Columbus, Cleveland and Pittsburgh to North Carolina (especially Charlotte) instead over the past 30+ years.
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hbelkins

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Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #165 on: September 09, 2021, 09:05:36 PM »



- The turnpike toll booths, southbound, are overwhelmed on the Sunday after Thanksgiving (which says a lot about a lot)

The shift of native West Virginian migration patterns from Columbus, Cleveland and Pittsburgh to North Carolina (especially Charlotte) instead over the past 30+ years.


Not just West Virginia, but those areas of the Rust Belt that I-77 serves where Buckeyes have moved south but return back north for holidays.

Kind of in reverse of what Kentucky does, where people moved north but come back south for special occasions.
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seicer

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Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #166 on: September 10, 2021, 09:21:33 AM »

During random summer days (weekdays even), I had to sit and wait at the southernmost toll plaza on the Turnpike for at least 20 minutes or more just to clear the EZ-Pass only lanes (which were backed up because you have to go 5 MPH through it).

GCrites80s

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Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #167 on: September 10, 2021, 12:51:24 PM »



- The turnpike toll booths, southbound, are overwhelmed on the Sunday after Thanksgiving (which says a lot about a lot)

The shift of native West Virginian migration patterns from Columbus, Cleveland and Pittsburgh to North Carolina (especially Charlotte) instead over the past 30+ years.


Not just West Virginia, but those areas of the Rust Belt that I-77 serves where Buckeyes have moved south but return back north for holidays.

Kind of in reverse of what Kentucky does, where people moved north but come back south for special occasions.

The Research Triangle and NC schoolteaching jobs are big magnets for Rustbelters.
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seicer

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Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #168 on: March 24, 2022, 01:40:12 PM »

Three Coalfields Expressway projects scheduled for construction

Construction will get underway on three Coalfields Expressway projects this year.

A five-mile segment from Welch to W.Va. 16, another five-mile stretch from Mullens to Twin Falls Resort State Park, as well as a three-mile link from Twin Falls toward Pineville are included in the state's 2022 road projects.

[...]

Right-of-way is currently being obtained for the Welch to W.Va. 16 segment as well as the Mullens to Twin Falls Resort State Park stretch, according to officials.

[...]

Next year, the environmental impact study will be completed on the seven-mile link from W.Va. 16 to Pineville, with construction scheduled to begin in 2026.

--

After completion after 2026, there will be 20 miles of new Coalfields Expressway finished from Mullens to Welch.

The Ghostbuster

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Re: Coalfields Expressway
« Reply #169 on: March 24, 2022, 04:38:10 PM »

Given that the project is proceeding at a snail's pace, I didn't expect to see any more segments to be built for decades. I still don't see it making it to US 23 in my lifetime.
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