Approval Sought for Numbering for New Highways




West Virginia has placed its reservation, but only time will tell whether two US route numbers will be among those designated for future expressways in the Mountain State.

Highways has recommended US route numbers for Appalachian Corridor H and the Coalfields Expressway and state route numbers for the Mon Valley and Shawnee expressways but, according to DOH officials, even with the concurrence recently requested from Virginia, through which both US routes would pass, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials has the final word.

Says Highway Commissioner Sam Beverage: "AASHTO's Special Committee on US Route Numbering will not approve the use of these two numbers until we are ready to place them on highways that are actually in existence. It could be that when that time comes, we will have to choose other available numbers."

Corridor H from I-79 at Weston to I-81 in Virginia would be designated US 48, the number once given to Corridor E from I-79 at Morgantown to I-70 in Maryland before it became Interstate 68. The Coalfields Expressway from I-77 at Beckley to US 460 at Grundy, Virginia, would become US 121. WV 43 would identify the Mon Valley Expressway from I-68 at Cheat Lake to I-70 in Pennsylvania, mirroring that state's current designation of its portion as PA 43. The Shawnee Expressway from US 52 at Crumpler in Mercer County to I-77 at Ghent would be numbered WV 78. Even the uncertainty over US route designation has not dampened the enthusiasm of an active supporter of one of the future expressways.

Coalfields Expressway Authority Executive Director Richard Browning notes he is "excited" at Highways' designation of the Coalfields Expressway as US 121. "This gives our highway an official identity of its own," he says. "When I talk to people who come into the Authority's offices in Pineville, I tell them that every day brings us a little closer to actual construction. Route designation is definitely a milestone and a very significant event in the development of this highway for Raleigh, Wyoming and McDowell counties. Completion of new US 121 will put these three counties on a level playing field for economic development with the rest of West Virginia and our sister state of Virginia, and that's what we're here for."





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