Southern West Virginia
|Project Sponsor / Borrower||
West Virginia Department of Transportation (WVDOT)
King Coal Highway Authority
The King Coal Highway is a planned four-lane highway approximately 95 miles long running through McDowell, Mercer, Mingo, Wyoming, and Wayne Counties, West Virginia along or near currently existing U.S. Route 52 from U.S. Route 119 near Williamson to I-77 in Bluefield. Congress designated the route as part of the high priority I-73/I-74 North-South Corridor from Michigan's Upper Peninsula to the Carolinas.
Environmental approvals have been obtained for the entire King Coal corridor, and the project has been divided into 11 usable and operationally independent sections. However, since the priority designation in 1995 and the formation of the King Coal Highway Authority in 1999, a lack of funding compounded by two recessions has limited construction to one section, the 12-mile "Red Jacket" section in Mingo County stretching from four miles south of Delbarton to U.S. 44 at Horsepen Mountain.
The Red Jacket section has been constructed through a partnership among WVDOT, private coal mining enterprise (Nicewonder Contracting, Inc. [NCI]), a local redevelopment authority, and FHWA. In the early 2000s, the Mingo County Redevelopment Authority helped facilitate permits for construction of the Red Jacket highway section that included permission to mine coal along the route. Regulatory agencies were more willing to allow permits for coal removal if a constructive use was found for the excess material that occurred as a byproduct of the removal process. In this case, participating coal companies contributed right-of-way, road foundation construction, and rough grading that the state could subsequently pave and complete. The mining companies also provided input in determining the alignment of the highway to ensure that it provided good access to coal-rich areas.
The negotiated special agreement resulted in significant cost savings to the state due to private, in-kind contributions and an accelerated construction timetable.
Entire 95-mile facility - $1.6 billion (2004 estimate)
Red Jacket section inclusive of design, right-of-way, utility relocation, and construction
Federal and state funding
|Project Delivery / Contract Method||
Special negotiated agreement
Design-builder - The Alpha Corporation
Equity/in-kind contributor - Nicewonder Contracting, Inc.
|Project Advisors / Consultants||
|Duration / Status||
Red Jacket section opened 2011.
Other sections in various stages of planning, design or construction.
Red Jacket section closed. Other sections seeking funding arrangements.
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