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User Content => Road Trips => Topic started by: hbelkins on February 19, 2017, 10:34:42 PM

Title: West Virginia weekend
Post by: hbelkins on February 19, 2017, 10:34:42 PM
Went this weekend to do final scouting for the NRG Bridge/Beckley meet, and took the opportunity to do some route clinching.

My route to Beckley was a little convoluted. I typically cross over into West Virginia at Kermit, and to get there I took US 460 out of Salyersville to where it joins US 23, then went south to KY 1428. Took that route to KY 302, and then joined KY 3 to get to Inez, where I took KY 645 and KY 40 to Warfield and then crossed the state line.

From there it was south on US 52 and US 65 to US 119, then north to WV 73 at Logan. Signage now fully shows WV 73 turning left where WV 44 goes straight and then continuing to WV 10.

I don't really remember how WV 10 was configured south of Logan, but there will be a seamless tie-in to the new four-lane WV 10 that is under construction to meet the existing portion near Man. I really couldn't tell how close they are to opening the new route.

From Man I took WV 80 to Gilbert where I rejoined US 52. This routing allows me to bypass the mountain crossing, and is just about as fast as staying on WV 65 and US 52 through Delbarton. I then took PA 97 (yes, the two PA 97 signs at the end of WV 97 are still there) all the way through Pineville to where it joins WV 54, then cut across Slab Fork Road (CR 34) to reach the Coalfields Expressway, which I took on in to Beckley. I did some scouting on the East Beckley Bypass to find areas to stop for the meet tour before calling it a night.

Saturday morning I drove the meet tour route, noting mileage and time to travel the route without stopping. I then timed the route from that point to the New River Gorge visitors center via US 19. Once there, I drove and timed the route down Fayette Station Road back to the visitors center, then set out on a mission to clinch WV 16.

From the Lansing area, I took US 19 north to WV 129, then took that route west to WV 39, clinching it. From there I drove WV 39 west to Belva to pick up WV 16 north. The area just north of the intersection appeared to have been hit hard by last year's flooding. WV 16 wasn't too stressful of a drive to Clay, but the pavement is in poor shape in places.

Between WV 4 and I-79, WV 16 appears to be a forgotten route. The pavement is very rough and there is some older, nonreflective signage. North of I-79, the route had areas where the pavement was rough and the alignment was about what one would expect in this part of West Virginia. North of US 33/US 119, the route is much like roads in north-central Kentucky, where it ascends and runs across a ridgeline. It descends to Grantsville, which is a tiny, isolated county seat town, crosses WV 5 and then ascends a ridgeline again. Again, the pavement is in poor condition.

After a brief concurrency with WV 47, the route runs north to Harrisville, which is another small town county seat. Despite its proximity to US 50, there has been little appreciable economic development.

There's a curiosity regarding WV 31, which ends in Harrisville. It comes into town on Court Street. Signage indicates that it ends at Main Street. To access WV 16, you turn right and go one block on Main Street. Signage on WV 16 is "To WV 31." So I'm not certain if WV 31 ends at CR 5 or at WV 16.

WV 16 crosses Corridor D (US 50) at Ellenboro, about five miles from Harrisville. There's a big newish Sleep Inn there, which seems to be an odd middle-of-nowhere place for a major hotel chain.

From here, it's obvious how WV 16 ran concurrently with old US 50 before the four-lane was built. The best-aligned portion of WV 16 is between where it splits from old US 50 and St. Mary's at WV 2. This used to be Alt. US 50 years ago.

Once I crossed into Pleasants County, I started noticing tiny county route markers posted for many of the county routes WV 16 intersects. There is a mandatory truck stop and a truck escape ramp as WV 16 descends toward WV 2 and the Ohio River.

After clinching WV 16, I wondered about its status as a multi-state route. While it connects a number of county seats (St. Mary's, Harrisville, Grantsville, Clay, Fayetteville, Beckley, Welch, comes close to Pineville) it is by no means a major through route. If you're in St. Mary's and you want to get to Beckley, you're going to take WV 2 and I-77, not WV 16. In Virginia, it's really only a major route where it connects I-81 to US 58. I don't know anything about its importance in North Carolina, I'm curious as to how the route became a multi-state route involving three states, when it is not a major corridor.

Once I reached St. Mary's, I started examining lodging options for the night, and decided to stop in Parkersburg instead of pressing on to Ripley or Charleston. This allowed for more route-clinching options the next day.

Sunday, I took WV 68 from Parkersburg out to US 50, then clinched WV 892 and headed back north on WV 68, then U-turned and headed to Ravenswood, which clinched WV 68 for me. This got me to thinking as to why WV 2 was rerouted onto I-77. The quality of WV 68 between Parkersburg and Ravenswood is just as good as anything else along the river on WV 2, and the alignment is better than I-77. The only thing I can see is that it took through WV 2 traffic out of downtown Parkersburg. The WV 68 designation was moved from the short connector and bridge between WV 49 at Matewan and KY 1056 at Buskirk, but now that there is an I-68, I think that WV 68 should be renumbered Alt. WV 2 or WV 2W.

My V-1 saved me from at least four speeding tickets, as the routes I was on today were under heavy patrol by WV state police and local officers. In every case, it gave me plenty of advance warning to slow down from the 65-70 mph I was safely driving to the 55 mph speed limit.

I've driven WV 2 from Ravenswood to Huntington several times. I detoured at Mt. Alto to clinch WV 331 (which I presume is an old routing of US 33) and then took WV 62 (former US 33) to WV 87, and then back to WV 2. I can see why WV 331 was bypassed; the alignment is poor between Mt. Alto and WV 62. WV 87 wasn't on that bad of an alignment, but the pavement was in horrible shape.

The rest of the trip was uneventful. WV 2 to WV 193, with a stop at the Barboursville Target to look for something my wife wanted, then I-64. I got off at US 52 to make a Sheetz stop, then back on I-64 to Grayson and my normal route on home. This was the first time I had driven the new KY 7 alignment in Elliott County since it was completed. Road construction signs are still up but the work seems to be complete.

Accomplishments: Clinched WV 129, WV 16 (thereby clinching two of the three states this multi-state route crosses), WV 892, WV 68, WV 331 and WV 87.
Title: Re: West Virginia weekend
Post by: froggie on February 26, 2017, 08:45:22 AM
There's nothing that says a multi-state route has to be a "major corridor".  It's simply an effort between adjacent states to have route cohesion across state lines.