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Author Topic: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)  (Read 36993 times)

Dirt Roads

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Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
« Reply #75 on: April 24, 2021, 09:06:39 PM »

The worst situation in West Virginia is in western Randolph County.  It's a 70-mile drive from Pickens to Elkins, and even longer timewise for folks living down in Helvetia.  Pickens High School remains the smallest school in the state, now down to only 6 students in grades 9 through 12.  They had about 12 students back in the 1970s.

It's about 40 miles from Pickens to Elkins. Helvetia is several miles closer along the route to Elkins. Pickens School is K-12 and received a new building in the last decade or so. Randolph County also maintains a K-12 school in Harman, which involves several mountain crossings along US 33 to get to Elkins, and there are two high schools (Elkins and Tygarts Valley) along the US 219 corridor.

I haven't driven the route through Adolph, but it looks like Helvetia-Adolph Road is paved now.  Even back when I was in school, Randolph County had considered that one and the route past Kumbrabow State Forest and decided that they were impassable for school buses during much of the winter.  The 40 miles to Elkins via Adolph is not much worse than the longest routes in some other West Virginia counties with consolidated schools. 

It looks like Corridor H has whacked about 10 miles off the main route to Elkins (which goes through Upshur County).  It's now only 60 miles to go that way. 
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Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
« Reply #76 on: April 24, 2021, 10:59:56 PM »

The worst situation in West Virginia is in western Randolph County.  It's a 70-mile drive from Pickens to Elkins, and even longer timewise for folks living down in Helvetia.  Pickens High School remains the smallest school in the state, now down to only 6 students in grades 9 through 12.  They had about 12 students back in the 1970s.

It's about 40 miles from Pickens to Elkins. Helvetia is several miles closer along the route to Elkins. Pickens School is K-12 and received a new building in the last decade or so. Randolph County also maintains a K-12 school in Harman, which involves several mountain crossings along US 33 to get to Elkins, and there are two high schools (Elkins and Tygarts Valley) along the US 219 corridor.

I haven't driven the route through Adolph, but it looks like Helvetia-Adolph Road is paved now.  Even back when I was in school, Randolph County had considered that one and the route past Kumbrabow State Forest and decided that they were impassable for school buses during much of the winter.  The 40 miles to Elkins via Adolph is not much worse than the longest routes in some other West Virginia counties with consolidated schools. 

It looks like Corridor H has whacked about 10 miles off the main route to Elkins (which goes through Upshur County).  It's now only 60 miles to go that way. 

Winter conditions and travel time are why Pickens still has its own school. That part of Randolph County is at a high elevation and gets much more snow than where the other nearest schools are at Mill Creek. It's about 25 miles from Pickens to Mill Creek but takes 40-45 minutes.

All of Helvetia-Adolph Road and, as I recall, Pickens Road are paved with center lines and edge lines. They've been paved for at least 20 years, and I think much longer than that. Turkey Bone Road through Kumbrabow State Forest remains gravel.

Other than perhaps in the middle of a snowstorm, I can't imagine where someone nowadays would go from Helvetia/Pickens to Elkins via Buckhannon. It's a much longer distance with a worse road alignment. There are 1-2 mountain crossings going via Adolph depending on if you travel through Mabie or Mill Creek, but the road east of Helvetia is overall much straighter and supports 45-50mph travel. West of Helvetia, a lot of the road is 35-40 because of curves to follow the ridgeline.
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seicer

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Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
« Reply #77 on: April 29, 2021, 07:51:36 PM »

Interesting find today while researching properties: you can view certain future roadway projects (e.g. King Coal Highway) through the SHPO viewer: https://mapwv.gov/shpo/viewer/index.html?wkid=102100&x=-9078610&y=4506855&l=8

froggie

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Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
« Reply #78 on: May 05, 2021, 10:06:46 AM »

Notable that the SHPO viewer suggests US 52 has been fully rerouted onto the new alignment between WV 65 and WV 44.
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seicer

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Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
« Reply #79 on: May 05, 2021, 01:50:38 PM »

I just picked up a copy of the latest state map and it shows US Route 52 on the new alignment.

Bitmapped

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Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
« Reply #80 on: May 05, 2021, 09:56:57 PM »

I just picked up a copy of the latest state map and it shows US Route 52 on the new alignment.

What year is the map you picked up?

The 2017 state map showed the new road but US 52 still on the old road. The 2019 map shows US 52 on the new road with the old road indicated as a county route.
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seicer

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Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
« Reply #81 on: May 06, 2021, 09:22:51 AM »

I guess 2021? It's not my favorite map style, which makes the four-lane corridor routes look so minor in comparison to the interstates. I do like the hand-drawn graphic on the other side showing a stylized version of the map with attractions listed.

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Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
« Reply #82 on: May 31, 2021, 07:59:06 PM »

The new map seems to be a departure from past cartographic styles. It's also printed on heavier, slicker paper. (I picked up a few at the Hurricane rest area Saturday morning).

It looks like construction is underway beyond the bridge that crosses US 19, WV 112, and the valley below. You can see a rock cut on the other side of the bridge.

Does anyone know if there are any access points that are easily reachable from which one could check out the US 52 construction (similar to the county roads I used to see the US 35 work)? I will probably be back up that way later in the year and would like to check out what progress is being made. I don't know a lot about the back roads in that area, having driven only on the US and state primary routes (WV 20, WV 123, etc.)
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Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
« Reply #83 on: May 31, 2021, 09:37:04 PM »

The new map seems to be a departure from past cartographic styles. It's also printed on heavier, slicker paper. (I picked up a few at the Hurricane rest area Saturday morning).

The cartographic style is what has been used for the last edition or two. The slick paper is new with this edition - the governor held one of his press conferences to make a big deal about it. I'd rather have regular map paper, which tends to hold up better to repeated folding and unfolding.
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seicer

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Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
« Reply #84 on: June 07, 2021, 09:47:27 AM »

400 new road projects proposed because of the surplus, including a line about the Welch bypass which could either be for the King Coal or Coalfields Expressway: https://www.wvnstv.com/top-stories/more-than-400-road-projects-planned-if-funding-approved-by-wv-legislature/

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Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
« Reply #85 on: June 07, 2021, 12:20:40 PM »

400 new road projects proposed because of the surplus, including a line about the Welch bypass which could either be for the King Coal or Coalfields Expressway: https://www.wvnstv.com/top-stories/more-than-400-road-projects-planned-if-funding-approved-by-wv-legislature/

These are small dollar projects, mostly resurfacing. The project is for repaving the existing "bypass" that goes over the hill around downtown Welch.
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hbelkins

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Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
« Reply #86 on: June 19, 2021, 10:00:25 PM »

I'm in Princeton, WV tonight. Checked out the construction of the short extension of US 52 from US 460 northward beyond the big "bridge to nowhere" that crosses US 19. There is construction underway on two other bridges beyond that, including a bridge across WV 123. It looks like some grade work is taking place to the north of WV 123, although my understanding was that the next phase of construction was going to end at WV 123 and that would be the end of the road for the foreseeable future, as nothing else is planned beyond that spot. There will have to be an access road built, though, since the four-lane and 123 are grade-separated.
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seicer

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Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
« Reply #87 on: August 07, 2021, 11:33:54 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.

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Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
« Reply #88 on: August 07, 2021, 10:18:03 PM »

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.

The state having a 10-year plan would be news to the people I know at WVDOH. They've been hesitating on releasing STIP updates as of late because their cash flow problems are so acute that projects shift constantly.
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Re: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
« Reply #89 on: September 08, 2021, 05:06:52 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: King Coal / Tolsia Highway (US 52)
« Reply #90 on: September 08, 2021, 07:32:34 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."

I saw a similar story on the Bluefield paper's website.

I was up there just a few months ago. There's no way they'll get the road from US 460 to WV 123 finished this year. I didn't see any excavation for the connector between the four lane and Airport Road. And it will be a grade-separated crossing, because bridges are being built over WV 123.
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