U.S. Route 52 in West Virginia
U.S. Route 52 (US 52) skirts the western fringes of the U.S. state of West Virginia. It runs from the Virginia state line near Bluefield, where it is concurrent with Interstate 77 (I-77), in a general northwest and north direction to I-64 at Kenova. There it turns east, overlapping I-64 for five miles (8.0 km) before splitting off onto the West Huntington Expressway into Ohio via the West Huntington Bridge. Despite having an even number, US 52 is signed north–south in West Virginia. In some other states along its route, it is signed east-west. The West Virginia segment is signed such that US 52 north corresponds to the general westward direction of the highway, and vice versa. For a while, US 52 parallels US 23, which is on the other side of the Big Sandy River in Kentucky. This continues into Ohio, where US 52 travels on the Ohio side of the Ohio River while US 23 travels on the Kentucky side.
|Maintained by WVDOH|
|South end||I-77 / US 52 at Rocky Gap, VA|
|North end||US 52 near Chesapeake, OH|
|Counties||Mercer, McDowell, Wyoming, Logan, Mingo, Pike (KY), Wayne, Cabell|
Most of the route is being upgraded to a high-speed four-lane divided highway, but not to interstate standards. It has been designated as part of the I-73 and I-74 corridors. From I-77 south of Bluefield to near Williamson, the new highway has been referenced to as the King Coal Highway; from Williamson north to Kenova, it is the Tolsia Highway.
West Huntington ExpresswayEdit
The West Huntington Expressway is a controlled-access elevated highway that crosses the west end of Huntington WV. It was constructed in 1965 and originally signed as West Virginia Route 94 (WV 94). The first segment to open was a stub from I-64 to Jefferson Avenue in West Huntington in the fall of 1965. This included a bridge over a CSX railroad mainline. In the early 1970s, the expressway was extended northward across what is now the Nick Joe Rahall II Bridge across the Ohio River to US 52 and State Route 7 in Ohio.
Tolls were collected at the Ohio River bridge until the mid-1980s. The expressway has four lanes from I-64 to the US 60 interchange, where it drops to two lanes for the remainder of the highway, which includes the Ohio River bridge. The expressway was renumbered US 52 in 1979 when that highway was re-routed out of downtown Huntington to a new alignment on I-64 west to the Tolsia Highway south of Kenova.
The Tolsia Highway is defined as running from I-64 at Kenova to Corridor G (US 119) north of Williamson. Portions of the 66-mile (106 km) highway have been completed. In 1998, US 52 south of the I-64 interchange in Kenova was upgraded to four-lane highway standards to the Tri-State Airport Access Road. In 2001, the four-lane highway was extended southward approximately two miles (3.2 km) to a stub interchange with WV 75.
Also in 1998, the Prichard bypass was opened to traffic with one interchange and one at-grade intersection. This four-mile (6.4 km)bypass includes very large rock cuts and a long and winding grade down a hill. In 2001, the four-lane highway was extended northward for a mile (1.6 km), removing some grades and curves along US 52. The extension was completed in 2002 at a cost of $9.6 million.
Before the eastern bypass was built, US 52 inside Prichard involved two alignments. US 52 originally took the path of WV 152, approximately 10 miles (16 km) east of the current alignment. In the mid-1960s, state funding was secured to upgrade most of County Route 1 (CR 1), which ran along the Big Sandy River and Tug Fork River. The upgraded CR 1 was renumbered as US 52 in 1979. A western bypass of Prichard was constructed in the mid-1970s and partially abandoned in 1999, when the new four-lane alignment east of the community was constructed.
In 2001, the Crum segment of the Tolsia Highway opened to traffic. The highway begins just north of Crum at an incomplete diamond interchange and heads eastward towards CR 2. It has at-grade intersections with CR 52-47 and CR 52-31 along with a side road at the eastern terminus that takes traffic to CR 2. There are stubs for future bridges and ramps. Signage along this segment is minimal, with only a handful of arrows to designate the route. While the highway was built to four-lane standards, it is only striped for two.
In late 2002, Senator Robert C. Byrd received $20 million in funds to jump-start construction on the northern half of the Tolsia Highway. The money would be used to speed up construction on the 10-mile (16 km) link between Huntington and Prichard, serving several industrial parks and relieving two-lane US 52 of coal-truck congestion.
US 52 enters Kentucky twice along the Williamson, West Virginia bypass; bridging the Tug Fork River was preferred because it prevented the blasting of several hillsides in West Virginia. It was completed in 1996 as part of the Corridor G (US 119) project. The speed limit in West Virginia is 65 mph (105 km/h) but drops to 55 mph (89 km/h) in Kentucky.
The Tolsia Highway is expected to meet the King Coal Highway at WV 65 and Corridor G (US 119).
King Coal HighwayEdit
The King Coal Highway is defined to run from WV 65 and Corridor G (US 119) near Belo, West Virginia to I-77 at its US 52 interchange near Bluefield. The Coalfields Expressway (US 121) and the Shawnee Expressway will connect to the King Coal Highway.
The travel time, currently over 120 minutes from Williamson to Bluefield, will be reduced to 87 minutes. South of Ikes Fork, a two-hour trip to Bluefield will be reduced to 44 minutes.
Interchanges and intersections proposed for the King Coal Highway include:
- Mingo County:
- Logan County:
- Horsepen Mountain at Mountain View
- McDowell County:
- Wyoming County:
- Mercer County:
Construction began in 1999 on the three-level diamond interchange on Indian Ridge near Welch that will facilitate traffic between the King Coal Highway (US 52, Interstate 73/74) and the Coalfields Expressway (US 121).
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Initial site work was completed in 2003, with grading evident; this required the filling in of a large valley. It will also be the site of a new state prison along with future industrial development.
Work has progressed on the four-lane upgrading of US 52 in Mercer County just east of Bluefield. On November 24, a contract totalling $2,057,914 was let to move approximately 500,000 cubic yards (380,000 m3) of dirt and to grade and drain .22 miles from the recently completed $27 million interchange with Corridor Q (US 460) east of Bluefield to US 19 just north of James P. Bailey Lake. Six buildings will be demolished. This is the first of several projects that will extend the King Coal Highway to West Virginia Route 123 (Airport Road) north of Bluefield. Extending this project east, another contract was awarded December 15 and totals $1,371,251. The contract calls for more than 200,000 cubic yards (150,000 m3) of excavation to grade and drain .18 mile of the King Coal Highway from county route 25 just north of the US 460 interchange to south of the old Raleigh-Grayson Turnpike. 36 buildings will be demolished. A future contract will include a bridge over US 19 which will cost $15 million.
Design work is being commenced on a 11-mile (18 km) segment of the King Coal Highway from Horsepen Mountain to Isaban and from the Mercer County Interchange to West Virginia Route 123/Airport Road. The work being done on a 2.5-mile (4.0 km) section of highway near Horsepen Mountain is being done by mining companies that will save taxpayers over $20 million.
The total cost for both the Tolsia and King Coal Highways will be over $2 billion.
This section contains a table that is missing mileposts for one or more junctions.
|East River Mountain||I-77 south / US 52 south – Wytheville||Continuation into Virginia|
|East River Mountain Tunnel; Virginia–West Virginia state line|
|Mercer||Bluefield||I‑77 north / CR 290⁄1 (Cumberland Industrial Center Road) – Beckley||Northern end of I-77 overlap; US 52 north follows exit 1|
US 460 east / US 52 Truck north – Princeton
|Interchange; southern end of US 460 overlap|
|Bluefield||US 460 west||Northern end of US 460 overlap|
|WV 598 south to US 460|
US 19 north / US 52 Truck south (Princeton Avenue)
|Southern end of US 19 overlap|
|US 19 south – Bluefield, VA||Northern end of US 19 overlap|
|Brush Fork||WV 123 – Airport|
|Bluewell||WV 20 north – Princeton|
|WV 71 north / CR 52⁄6 (Cutoff Road) – Matoaka|
|Bramwell||CR 120 south – Pocahontas, VA, Bramwell Historic District|
|McDowell||Elkhorn||WV 161 south – Anawalt|
US 52 Alt. north to WV 16 – Welch
US 52 Alt. south / WV 16 north / WV 103 east – Gary, Welch
|Southern end of WV 16 overlap|
|WV 16 south – Coalwood, War||Northern end of WV 16 overlap|
|Iaeger||WV 80 south – Downtown Iaeger, Bradshaw||Southern end of WV 80 overlap|
|Wyoming||Hanover||WV 97 east – Pineville|
|Mingo||Gilbert||WV 80 north – Man||Northern end of WV 80 overlap|
|Mountain View||WV 44 north / CR 252⁄57 (Old US 52) – Logan||Southern end of WV 44 overlap|
|||CR 8 (Beech Creek Road)||Northern end of WV 44 overlap|
|||WV 65 south – Matewan||Southern end of WV 65 overlap|
|||CR 252⁄57 (Old US 52)|
|Delbarton||WV 65 north||Northern end of WV 65 overlap|
|Williamson||WV 49 south – Matewan|
US 52 Truck north (Prichard Street)
|US 119 south – Williamson, Pikeville, KY||Southern end of US 119 overlap|
|West Virginia–Kentucky state line|
|||To KY 292|
|Kentucky–West Virginia state line|
|Mingo||||CR 14 – Chattaroy|
|West Virginia–Kentucky state line|
|Kentucky–West Virginia state line|
|Mingo||Nolan||CR 52⁄19 (Nolan Street)||To Nolan Toll Bridge|
|||US 119 north – Logan||Northern end of US 119 overlap|
|Naugatuck||WV 65 south – Delbarton|
|Kermit||To KY 292 / Virginia Avenue – Inez, KY||To Kermit Bridge|
|Wayne||||CR 152⁄46 (Crum Bypass)|
|||WV 152 north|
|Fort Gay||WV 37 west – Fort Gay, Louisa, KY||Southern end of WV 37 overlap|
|||WV 37 east – Wayne||Northern end of WV 37 overlap|
|||CR 52⁄83 – Prichard||Interchange|
|||WV 75 east – Wayne||Southern end of WV 75 overlap|
|Kenova||I‑64 west / WV 75 west – Ceredo, Kenova, Ashland, KY||Northern end of WV 75 overlap; southern end of I-64 overlap; US 52 south follows exit 1|
|Cabell||Huntington||I‑64 east – Huntington, Charleston||Northern end of I-64 overlap; US 52 north follows exit 6|
|Madison Avenue - VA Medical Center||Interchange; northbound exit and southbound entrance|
|US 60 (Adams Avenue) – West Huntington||Interchange|
|Ohio River||West Huntington Bridge; West Virginia–Ohio state line|
|US 52 west – Ironton||Continuation into Ohio|
|1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi|
- Mitchem, Mike; Akers, David B. (n.d.). King Coal Highway, I-73/74 Authority. Gilbert: West Virginia Department of Highways.
- West Virginia Department of Transportation (n.d.). "Executive Summary.". King Coal Highway. n.p.: West Virginia Department of Transportation.
- West Virginia Department of Transportation (December 18, 2003). "DOH Awards King Coal Highway Contract" (Press release). West Virginia Department of Transportation. Archived from the original on February 2, 2004. Retrieved December 24, 2003.
- "Contract Allows More King Coal Highway Construction". Bluefield Daily Telegram. December 20, 2003. Retrieved December 24, 2003.