U.S. Route 52 in West Virginia

From the AARoads Wiki: Read about the road before you go
Jump to navigation Jump to search

U.S. Route 52

US 52 highlighted in red
Route information
Length184.9 mi (297.6 km)
Major junctions
South end I-77 / US 52 at Rocky Gap, VA
Major intersections
North end US 52 near Chesapeake, OH
CountryUnited States
CountiesMercer, McDowell, Wyoming, Logan, Mingo, Pike (KY), Wayne, Cabell
Highway system
WV 51WV WV 53
US 51KY KY 52

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.

Most of the route is being converted to a 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.

View north along current US 52 in Gilbert


West Huntington Expressway

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.

Tolsia Highway

A 2005 photograph of US 52 and WV 75 ending at an interchange stub south of Kenova, West Virginia.
US 52 at Prichard, West Virginia where the 1998 and 2001 sections join; it is visible by the change of pavement.

The Tolsia Highway is defined as running from I-64 at Kenova to Corridor G (US 119) north of Williamson.[1] The name Tolsia takes the names from the first initials of the Tug, Ohio, Levisa, and Sandy Improvement Association.[2] 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 for a construction project along most of County Route 1 (CR 1), which ran along the Big Sandy River and Tug Fork River. The rebuilt CR 1 and CR 29 was renumbered as US 52 in 1979.

Portions of the 66-mile (106 km) highway have been widened to four lanes. In 1998, US 52 south of the I-64 interchange in Kenova was widened to four-lane highway standards to the access road for Tri-State Airport. In that same year, 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 southward approximately two miles (3.2 km) to a stub interchange with WV 75. Also in that year, the four-lane highway near Prichard was extended northward for one-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.

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.

In 2003, survey and design of five miles (8.0 km) of four-lane US 52 from Prichard north to Cyrus were completed. Plans include an interchange and five bridge structures.[citation needed]

Williamson Bypass

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.


I-73 (Future).svg
I-74 (Future).svg

The Tolsia Highway is expected to meet the King Coal Highway at WV 65 and Corridor G (US 119).

King Coal Highway

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.[3] 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.[3] 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:[1]

A former strip mining site being converted for the King Coal Highway and Coalfields Expressway three-level diamond interchange. Taken in 2004, construction is not expected on the actual interchange itself for years.

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). 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.

Future overpass for the King Coal Highway in Bluefield.

Work has progressed on the four-lane widening 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.[4][5]

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.

Major intersections

West VirginiaEast River Mountain0.00.0

I-77 south / US 52 south – Wytheville
Continuation into Virginia
East River Mountain Tunnel; VirginiaWest Virginia state line
I-77 north / CR 2901 (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
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 Fork10.917.5 WV 123 – Airport
WV 20 north – Princeton
WV 71 north / CR 526 (Cutoff Road) – Matoaka
CR 120 south – Pocahontas, VA, Bramwell Historic District
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
WV 80 south – Downtown Iaeger, Bradshaw
Southern end of WV 80 overlap
WV 97 east – Pineville
WV 80 north – Man
Northern end of WV 80 overlap
Mountain View84.5136.0
WV 44 north / CR 25257 (Old US 52) – Logan
Southern end of WV 44 overlap
86.1138.6 CR 8 (Beech Creek Road)Northern end of WV 44 overlap
WV 65 south – Matewan
Southern end of WV 65 overlap
96.7155.6 CR 25257 (Old US 52)
WV 65 north
Northern end of WV 65 overlap
WV 49 south – Matewan

US 52 Truck north (Prichard Street)
US 119 south – Williamson, Pikeville, KY
Southern end of US 119 overlap
West VirginiaKentucky state line
To KY 292
KentuckyWest Virginia state line
West VirginiaMingo110.6178.0 CR 14 – Chattaroy
West VirginiaKentucky state line
KentuckyPike1.01.6 KY 292Interchange
KentuckyWest Virginia state line
West VirginiaMingoNolan115.2185.4 CR 5219 (Nolan Street)To Nolan Toll Bridge
US 119 north – Logan
Northern end of US 119 overlap
WV 65 south – Delbarton
To Virginia Avenue / KY 292 – Inez, KY
To Kermit Bridge
Wayne136.4219.5 CR 15246 (Crum Bypass)
WV 152 north
Fort Gay156.4251.7
WV 37 west – Fort Gay, Louisa, KY
Southern end of WV 37 overlap
WV 37 east – Wayne
Northern end of WV 37 overlap
165.4266.2 CR 5283 – PrichardInterchange
WV 75 east – Wayne
Southern end of WV 75 overlap

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
I-64 east – Huntington, Charleston
Northern end of I-64 overlap; US 52 north follows exit 6
184.0296.1Madison Avenue - VA Medical CenterInterchange; northbound exit and southbound entrance
184.3296.6 US 60 (Adams Avenue) – West HuntingtonInterchange
Ohio River184.9297.6West Huntington Bridge; West VirginiaOhio state line

US 52 west – Ironton
Continuation into Ohio
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi


  1. ^ a b Mitchem, Mike; Akers, David B. (n.d.). King Coal Highway, I-73/74 Authority. Gilbert: West Virginia Department of Highways.
  2. ^ Draft Environmental Statement Administration Action for Project S-617 Wayne County 1 and 29 Prichard to Fort Gay Wayne County, West Virginia. U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, West Virginia Department of Highways. 1974. p. 1-1. Retrieved August 21, 2020.
  3. ^ a b West Virginia Department of Transportation (n.d.). "Executive Summary.". King Coal Highway. n.p.: West Virginia Department of Transportation.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ "Contract Allows More King Coal Highway Construction". Bluefield Daily Telegram. December 20, 2003. Retrieved December 24, 2003.

External links

U.S. Route 52
Previous state:
West Virginia Next state:
Previous state:
Next state:
Interstate 73
Previous state:
West Virginia Next state:
Previous state:
Next state:
Interstate 74
Previous state:
West Virginia Next state:
Previous state:
Next state: