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Author Topic: West Virginia Turnpike  (Read 27940 times)

Dirt Roads

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Re: West Virginia Turnpike
« Reply #50 on: August 12, 2022, 10:57:23 AM »

You were dying for a service plaza by the time you got to Beckley when you were going south since you weren't allowed to go into the northbound ones from the southbound lanes anymore and a lot of the exits were like Pax which had just nothing. And you weren't allowed to enter the Beckley one either if you were going north at that time. I can't remember if they built the ramps/overpasses to restore northbound access to Beckley at the same time they built Tamarack or if they did it a few years before.

Indeed.  Back in those days there was the southbound Truck Service Area just beyond the northbound Morton Service Area, which had "No Facilities" posted.  Eventually, the [then] Turnpike Commission put in a bunch of porta-potties.

Sorry, I got cut off in the middle of this response.  Also during the widening of the West Virginia Turnpike, a construction staging area was established on the northeast rim of the Bluestone Gorge during construction of the new span over the Bluestone River.  That location also became a southbound Truck Service Area (which also had "No Facilities" posted).  For a short time, the Truck Service Area had porta-potties, but that became problematic and they were removed.  Today, that site also serves as a Scenic Overlook (as well as a temporary Weigh Station).  I've heard rumors for many years of plans to convert the location to a Rest Area just like the other southbound [former] Truck Service Area, but I suspect that businesses at the Princeton exit have fought that tooth-and-nail.
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GCrites80s

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Re: West Virginia Turnpike
« Reply #51 on: August 12, 2022, 11:20:33 AM »

The Welcome Center is only a few miles to the south and has full facilities so that could be a factor too. Granted you do have to fully exit the freeway to access it.
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SP Cook

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Re: West Virginia Turnpike
« Reply #52 on: August 12, 2022, 11:54:31 AM »

As I understand it, the ďservice areasĒ on the Turnpike are money losers.  I do know that they have cut back on the hours at the southernmost one, and all of them have food court spaces that are unused now.

The road is only 88 miles long, it doesnít cost anything to use the exits, and not only Princeton, but Beckley have plenty of road focused businesses, and ther are also plenty  of services along all the roads that feed into it. 
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seicer

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Re: West Virginia Turnpike
« Reply #53 on: August 12, 2022, 12:10:36 PM »

I'm not sure about the "money losers" comment but I got into a conversation with someone working at the Beckley plaza a while back and they are working to replace that service area within the next 5 years. It's pretty dated and the only tenants remaining is Burger King, Starbucks, and the convenience store. They are also looking to expand showers to the other two service areas since those are consistently used (and a feature I wish would be expanded to all service areas).

seicer

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Re: West Virginia Turnpike
« Reply #54 on: August 25, 2022, 12:13:55 PM »

The northern half of the Turnpike is closed to through traffic after a rollover accident involving a truck with hazardous chemicals - that's blocked all lanes: https://wchstv.com/news/local/part-of-wv-turnpike-closed-after-box-truck-with-hazardous-materials-flipped

The driver was arrested for DUI. Traffic is being detoured via Detour A - US 19 and Interstate 79.

Much of the two-lane portions of US 60, especially around Hawks Nest, are hopelessly congested because of the steep grades and curves. WV 16 coming out of Fayetteville is a slog, too.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2022, 12:17:53 PM by seicer »
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SP Cook

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Re: West Virginia Turnpike
« Reply #55 on: August 25, 2022, 01:25:25 PM »

Drunk truck driver.

https://www.wsaz.com/2022/08/25/west-virginia-turnpike-closed-after-tractor-trailer-accident/

As all of the major alternates are hopeless, my detour (for cars) would be Corridor G (US 119 South) to either WV 3 or WV 85 -99 - 3. 

They are saying late tonight or maybe tomorrow morning. 
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seicer

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Re: West Virginia Turnpike
« Reply #56 on: August 25, 2022, 02:18:50 PM »

US 19 and I-79 are pretty clear, with some backups in Summersville. There are multiple accidents now on US 60 that have it completely gridlocked.

And the one-lane shunpike next to the Turnpike is closed because of a bridge replacement.

I wonder how water quality will be affected on Paint Creek. We were just at Paint Creek Falls swimming. It's still a fairly clean stream.

hbelkins

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Re: West Virginia Turnpike
« Reply #57 on: August 25, 2022, 08:22:11 PM »

I meant to look at Google Maps to see traffic levels earlier today, but forgot.

If the county parallel road is closed and WV 16 is tied up, I'd probably try to get to Whitesville, either via WV 3 straight out of Beckley or via some of the county routes that connect with US 19 near Corridor L, and then WV 94 back to the turnpike.
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seicer

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Re: West Virginia Turnpike
« Reply #58 on: August 25, 2022, 08:46:32 PM »

That county parallel road is one lane in places because of narrow bridges and because of the kudzu. There is also a bridge out because of replacement so it can't be traversed north of Pax.

WV 94 and WV 3 could be workable but that's 2 hours without traffic. For tractor-trailers, that would be a disaster.
US 60, WV 61 and US 19 is 1.25 hours but there are also unforgiving grades, and it's also pretty congested with the rerouting.
US 60, WV 16 and US 19 is around 1.4 hours but any slow vehicle will make that drive a slog. Plus you have to deal with the steep grades and curves west of Hawks Nest which was the scene of several accidents and major slowdowns. So that may be a 2 hour or more drive.

You could... take County Route 13 over Cotton Hill Mountain behind Kanawha Falls but that's easy a 2+ hour trip and is one lane most of the way.

I-79 to US 19 is still the preferred route and is 2 hours with moderate congestion at in Summersville and around the traffic lights closer to Beckley and Oak Hill.

SP Cook

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Re: West Virginia Turnpike
« Reply #59 on: August 31, 2022, 08:40:16 AM »

https://wvmetronews.com/2022/08/30/big-update-coming-on-turnpike-with-rebuild-of-travel-plazas/

Turnpike to replace the three service areas.  Beckley (Scamarack is a separate deal and not involved) and Bluestone will close for 20 months next February; Morton will follow after the other two are finished. 

IMHO, this seems like a waste.  This is not PA, NY, IN, OH, IL where you are on the toll roads for many hours.  It is 88 miles, and, with one exception, the exits are free.  There are plenty of services on each of the major approaches to the road and in Beckley. 

It would seem the money could be better spent upgrading the companion to the Morton area with fuel, or in building ramps so Morton could be accessed south/east bound. 

In particular the Bluestone area serves little purpose, only 35 miles from Wythevilleís plethora of services, and 7 from Princeton, which has everything one needs, with Beckley only a few more miles farther up. 
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seicer

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Re: West Virginia Turnpike
« Reply #60 on: August 31, 2022, 09:31:15 AM »

Except that the Bluestone service area is 37 miles (38 minutes) away from the Beckley service area. The Beckley service area is 27.2 miles (30 minutes) from the Morton service area. So your comments about one being "a few miles farther up" is bunk. We get it, you don't like the toll road but there are vast areas that no longer have services off of the Turnpike. Especially north of Beckley, gas stations except for Morton are getting hard to find as several have closed in recent years or are no longer open at night. And the same can be said between Beckley and Bluefield with the exception of the Ghent interchange because of the nearby ski resort.

During peak times, I can attest that all three service areas will have fairly full parking lots. The Beckley service area is often too full because of larger trucks and RVs that will park in the front parking lot - because of a lack of parking space elsewhere. Truck parking is also next to impossible to grab on weeknights and weekends with trucks spilling over onto the ramps at all three plazas. RVs (and vanlifers like myself) will often go to the Tamarack lot where it's allowed and encouraged.

The biggest takeaway is that there is a new operator and different dining choices - and multiple options to eat at both Morton and Bluestone. There will also be more truck parking and EV charging spots (a first for the Turnpike). Showers, not mentioned, will be at all three service areas - this is a trend I hope comes to more service areas, and I'm pleased to see it coming to a significant portion of the New York State Thruway's service areas.

plain

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Re: West Virginia Turnpike
« Reply #61 on: August 31, 2022, 09:48:21 AM »

Yeah you beat me to it. Out of all the times I've driven the turnpike, the only one I didn't see crowded was Beckley and that was just one time and probably because it was around 8am on a Monday when I stopped there. Those plazas are almost always overrun when I stop by or pass by them.

I do agree that it would be nice to have an upgraded facility SB at Morton though.
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SP Cook

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Re: West Virginia Turnpike
« Reply #62 on: August 31, 2022, 10:31:20 AM »

Every car I have ever owned had a gas gauge. 

I would hate the think I was incapable of traveling a wasteland of, gosh, almost 34 miles (Princeton MP 9 to Beckley MP 44) or even 51 miles (Beckley MP 44 to Kanawha City MP 95) without a gas station.

Except such trips are taken, throughout the less populated parts of the country, millions of times every day.
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hbelkins

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Re: West Virginia Turnpike
« Reply #63 on: August 31, 2022, 12:00:31 PM »

That Beckley service plaza isn't that old, is it?

It's the only one at which I've stopped. I'm not usually on the Turnpike northbound between Beckley and Princeton, and have had no need to stop when I've been going north between Beckley and Charleston.
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seicer

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Re: West Virginia Turnpike
« Reply #64 on: August 31, 2022, 12:36:24 PM »

They are over 30 years old. Some of the plazas on the New York State Thruway are around the same age and are also being outright replaced, too.

Bitmapped

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Re: West Virginia Turnpike
« Reply #65 on: August 31, 2022, 03:52:14 PM »

I would hate the think I was incapable of traveling a wasteland of, gosh, almost 34 miles (Princeton MP 9 to Beckley MP 44) or even 51 miles (Beckley MP 44 to Kanawha City MP 95) without a gas station.

Except such trips are taken, throughout the less populated parts of the country, millions of times every day.

51 miles is a pretty long distance between services on an Interstate in this part of the country. The plazas seem to get a good bit of traffic and have at least historically been turning a profit for the Parkways Authority. I don't see the problem with keeping them, especially considering that you'd likely put rest areas around these locations anyway.
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GCrites80s

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Re: West Virginia Turnpike
« Reply #66 on: August 31, 2022, 08:17:12 PM »

Small businesses like gas stations are having a harder and harder time finding people so a lot of local gas stations are closing early -- like 7pm. I don't know who signs the paychecks at a service plaza gas station, but a lot of smaller gas stations are so dependent on the owner's labor these days that they are tapping out and going either 9-5 or closing altogether.
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wriddle082

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Re: West Virginia Turnpike
« Reply #67 on: August 31, 2022, 09:38:10 PM »

I would hate the think I was incapable of traveling a wasteland of, gosh, almost 34 miles (Princeton MP 9 to Beckley MP 44) or even 51 miles (Beckley MP 44 to Kanawha City MP 95) without a gas station.

Except such trips are taken, throughout the less populated parts of the country, millions of times every day.

51 miles is a pretty long distance between services on an Interstate in this part of the country. The plazas seem to get a good bit of traffic and have at least historically been turning a profit for the Parkways Authority. I don't see the problem with keeping them, especially considering that you'd likely put rest areas around these locations anyway.

The only gas stations I can find between the North Beckley and Chelyan exits are an Exxon at Mossy and a tiny little non-branded station at Pax.  North Beckley to Chelyan is 37 miles, and then add a couple more miles because the gas stations off those exits are a little ways away from their respective exits and itís roughly 40 miles.  The Morton service plaza is very much a necessity along this route, and it would be nice if it was accessible to southbound traffic.
 
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seicer

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Re: West Virginia Turnpike
« Reply #68 on: August 31, 2022, 11:07:24 PM »

Even more difficult is finding food late. Sheetz and McDonalds are the only places in Beckley (might be a few others) other than the service area, but Sheetz is a good 10 minute drive north. Bluefield is a little easier with options right off I-77 but there is nothing until you get to Kanawha City or Charleston proper.

Fuel is a little easier but there are few options directly off the turnpike. One requires a detour over the Kanawha River while some (like at Pax and Mossy) donít even have signs off the interstate anymore. As was mentioned above, itís getting quite hard to find fuel in rural areas these days. Thousands of stations have closed nationwide in the past few decades as there is little profit to be made, and especially in rural areas, finding anything open past dusk is a gamble.

And letís not forget trucks and RVs. There are no truck stops anywhere along the Turnpike. You either have to drive into Virginia at Bastian (40 minutes) or go to a small one in Grandview or drive towards Teays Valley. And finding one with showers or amenities is even more scarce.
« Last Edit: August 31, 2022, 11:11:33 PM by seicer »
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thenetwork

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Re: West Virginia Turnpike
« Reply #69 on: September 01, 2022, 09:31:29 AM »

Even more difficult is finding food late. Sheetz and McDonalds are the only places in Beckley (might be a few others) other than the service area, but Sheetz is a good 10 minute drive north. Bluefield is a little easier with options right off I-77 but there is nothing until you get to Kanawha City or Charleston proper.

Fuel is a little easier but there are few options directly off the turnpike. One requires a detour over the Kanawha River while some (like at Pax and Mossy) donít even have signs off the interstate anymore. As was mentioned above, itís getting quite hard to find fuel in rural areas these days. Thousands of stations have closed nationwide in the past few decades as there is little profit to be made, and especially in rural areas, finding anything open past dusk is a gamble.

And letís not forget trucks and RVs. There are no truck stops anywhere along the Turnpike. You either have to drive into Virginia at Bastian (40 minutes) or go to a small one in Grandview or drive towards Teays Valley. And finding one with showers or amenities is even more scarce.

I live out west in Colorado, where there are a lot of wide-open rural areas (west of the divide) and in some areas 40 miles between gas stations is the norm.

Out here, more times than not, gas stations allow for self-serve pumps to remain on 24/7 as credit/debit payment only during the "off hours", so at least people with plastic can always get gas whether the c-store cashier is open or not.

Is it state or local regulations that prevent some of these stations out east from having 24/7 pumps?
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seicer

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Re: West Virginia Turnpike
« Reply #70 on: September 01, 2022, 11:11:22 AM »

None that I know of. There is one station in Elkins that I use that is open 24/7 that has no attendant.

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Re: West Virginia Turnpike
« Reply #71 on: September 21, 2022, 02:13:34 PM »

File this one under nitpicking, but I noticed when driving the WV Turnpike last month that on some newer toll plaza signage, the WVPA got lazy with the E-ZPass logo. As an example, here is how it looks on newly-replaced signage approaching the Ghent plaza northbound. Additionally, here approaching the Pax plaza northbound the logo was replaced while the rest of the sign was retained (compare the newest streetview against ones a few years back).  I imagine it was cheaper to not slant the letters in "E-ZPass", but I can't say I've seen another toll authority do anything along those lines.
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GCrites80s

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Re: West Virginia Turnpike
« Reply #72 on: September 21, 2022, 08:21:57 PM »

The way companies are so aggressively debranding their logos by going from proprietary logotypes to generic fonts these days it might be the actual logo. I mean Cadillac and PacSun now have the same logo as each other which is also just the eye chart font.



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seicer

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Re: West Virginia Turnpike
« Reply #73 on: October 23, 2022, 10:22:51 PM »

RFP for the travel plazas and the northbound rest area at mile marker 69

See page 44 for preliminary layouts and page 54 for preliminary renderings. The plazas will be rebuilt entirely from the ground-up, including new fuel tanks, more parking for trucks/RVs/cars, and charging stations. A truckers lounge will be added to the Beckley service area, with amenities similar to what you find at private operators - including showers, laundry facilities, and work sites. It does not appear a truckers lounge will be added to the Morton or Bluestone service areas at this time.

GCrites80s

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Re: West Virginia Turnpike
« Reply #74 on: October 24, 2022, 07:01:06 PM »

Those renderings do look nice, though I think the old ones are still fine if it wasn't for the vacancies and lack of modern trucker services and capacity. The new ones look like they have a little Glass House influence in their design.

Now that demographic survey is quite interesting. I was a little surprised how much demand there was for drive-thru considering how much I despise eating in cars. Maybe it's more for the coffee aspect. Then again some of these users are closer to their homes than I expected.
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