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A detailed look at the King Coal Highway

A few weeks ago, I received a packet from the West Virginia Division of Highways. I had requested maps on their proposed routings for the King Coal, Coalfields, and Tolsia Highways. King Coal and Tolsia are designated to be a part of the fun and exciting I-73/74 project.

The reason why I requested these maps is that these three routes are widely discussed but no one (that I know of) really has any clue on what the routings of these three highways are to/or could be.

So let's take a closer look at the King Coal Highway (Future I-73/74):

WVDOH has broken down the route into segments similar to what they have done with Corridor H. In total, there are ten segments and two connector routes that are to be built for the King Coal.

I will be heading South to North starting at the US 52 interchange with US 460 (just west of I-77 exit 1) to US 119 near Belo and where US 119 intersects WV 65.

Segment 1: Bluefield (US 52/460) to Mercer County Airport (WV 123). Length 2.3 miles.

The status for this section is that the US 52/460 interchange has been built and partially open while the King Coal waits to be extended northward. Currently, construction is underway to extend the highway from the US 52/460 interchange northward. A $16.3 million project is extending the highway over US 19 to Stoney Ridge. That project is about 34% complete.

Mercer County officials hope to see about $53 million in new funding to complete this segment of highway to the Mercer County Airport.

Segment 2: Mercer County Airport (WV 123) to Littlesburg (WV 20). Length 3 miles.

Mercer officials hope that this section will receive funding soon in addition to or part of the $53 million request they have made.

Segment 3: Littlesburg (WV 20) to Montcalm . Length 2.7 miles.

This segment crosses over WV 71 and over the Bluestone River.

Segment 4: Montcalm to Northfork. Length 16 miles.

The King Coal remains north of US 52 and pretty much will hover along the Wyoming/McDowell County Line. The Shawnee Parkway will also intersect the King Coal within this segment.

Segment 5: Northfork to Coalfields Expressway Interchange. Length 8 miles.

King Coal will continue to hover the Wyoming/McDowell County line to the interchange with the Coalfields Expressway north of Welch. The Coalfields/King Coal interchange has been completed but sits empty and unused until the two highways finally reach the three level interchange.

Segment 6: Coalfields Expressway Interchange to US 52 at the Wyoming/McDowell County Line. Length 17 miles.

This will be the first time since Bluefield that the King Coal will intersect the current route of US 52.

Segment 7: US 52 at the Wyoming/McDowell County line to Mingo/Wyoming/McDowell County Lines (County Route 13). Length 5 Miles.

The King Coal now running to the south and west of US 52 continues to hug the McDowell/Wyoming County line until it nears the tri-point of Mingo/Wyoming/McDowell south of Gilbert.

Segment 8: Mingo/Wyoming/McDowell County Line (CR 13) to Mountain View (WV 44 connector). Length 11 miles.

Now entirely in Mingo County. This segment will end at the WV 44 Connector a few miles south of Mountain View and where WV 44 currently ends at US 52.

The WV 44 connector will run about 1-2 miles north from the King Coal to where WV 44 meets US 52.

Segment 9: Mountain View (WV 44 Connector) to Delbarton (US 52). Length 15 miles.

This segment ends at US 52 between WV 65/Delbarton and US 119 in Williamston. From here it appears that the King Coal will use a brief segment of US 52 before splitting in two.

Segment 10: Delbarton (US 52) to Belo (US 119) Length 6.8 miles.

This segment will run from US 52 to where WV 65 North meets US 119 near Belo. From here there will be a brief routing along US 119 before the continuation of I-73/74 northwards along the Tolsia Highway.

Segment 10A: Williamson Connector - Delbarton (US 52) to Goodman (US 52/119). Length 5.7 miles.

The connector will branch off of the King Coal west of Delbarton and cross over US 52 north of Williamson before meeting current US 52/119 near Chattaroy.

So that's it, and about all I know on it. The maps painted a much clearer picture of what the planned route of this highway will be. (Now if I can get there to take photos) When I work on my WV updates later this summer, I will include this on a new page and also try to scan the large King Coal Highway (Build Alternatives) map that I received.

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