The King Coal Highway is a proposed four-lane highway in southern West Virginia that will form a critical part of Interstate 73. Stretching approximately 95 miles through five counties, it aims to follow or run near the existing U.S. Route 52, connecting U.S. Route 119 near Williamson to Interstate 77 in Bluefield.
The King Coal Highway plays a crucial role in completing the I-73 corridor, a north-south transportation artery stretching from Michigan to South Carolina. Currently, a significant portion of southern West Virginia lacks immediate access to the I-73 corridor, hindering economic development and tourism. The completion of the King Coal Highway will bridge this gap, providing much-needed access to the interstate and fostering regional progress.
Both I-73 and the King Coal Highway are expected to significantly stimulate economic growth in West Virginia. Improved transportation infrastructure will attract new businesses and industries to the region, creating jobs, boosting tourism and diversifying the economy. This economic engine will benefit not only southern West Virginia but also the state as a whole.
Despite facing a series of setbacks, the King Coal Highway project is moving forward with several sections already open to the public. Construction continues on other portions, including the recently inaugurated Airport Road segment that connects I-77 to the existing highway network near Bluefield. While the completion date for the entire project remains uncertain due to financial and planning considerations, the West Virginia Department of Transportation is actively working to overcome these hurdles and bring the project to fruition.
The King Coal Highway is a key component of I-73 with the potential to revolutionize southern West Virginia. Despite facing challenges and delays, the project continues to progress and holds immense promise for economic growth and regional development.