US 121
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US 121 view
Photo: US 121 leaving SR 744. (photo by H B Elkins 12/2/23)

From:  (Buchanan County)
To:  near Southern Gap (Buchanan County)
Total Length: about 1 mile  
Nationally, US 121 is just this segment
VA 460 WB: 0 - 0
SR 744: 1 - 1
Creation: First designated in 2002 as the route for the Coalfield Expressway which will roughly parallel VA 83 Pound to West Virginia east of Grundy, on its way to Beckley WV.
Adjustments: The first segment to open was from where US 121-460 western split will be built east to SR 744 near Southern Gap
Improvements:  Upon oprning in 2023, US 121 was fully paved and 4-lane undivided
Posted:  Fully posted
Multiplexes:  VA 460 (entire route)
Legislative names:  None
Other names:  Coalfields Expressway
Scenic Byway:  No segments
Comments: The Coalfields Expressway will connect Pound, VA to Beckley, WV generally along the VA 83 corridor.
The project began in 2002 and some construction has occurred as of this writing. But it is very slow in developing. As of Jan 2023 only the segment concurrent with future US 460 has funding identified and schedules set, with the last segment near Grundy set to open in 2027. All other US 121 segments are shown as unfunded.
The segment from SR 744 east to US 460 Grundy is scheduled to open in 2027.
West Virginia has completed its portion of US 121 from Beckley south to Mullens, with another segment near Welch under construction.
Previous US 121:

US 121 #1: Appeared in March 1926 (AASHO) a US Highway corridor requested by North Carolina. Virginia was not interested in this and in fact the March 1926 ballot to add this only had the North Carolina portion. However, the NOvember 1926 list did include the Virginia portion, assigned to all of VA 15 from US 11 (now F044) Fort Chiswell southeast via Hillsville to the North Carolina line near Mt. Airy.
Around 1931 or 1932, US 121 was removed from Old Jacksons Ferry Rd and put on the original New River Bridge in this location.
In Sept 1934 (AASHO), US 121 was renumbered as US 52.
The route of US 121 today is: US 52; SR 632/738 loop; US 52; Galena Church Rd; US 52; SR 719 Old 52 Rd; VA 69; US 52 to Hillsville except Creek Ln; US 52 to NC except SR 906 Kinglet Ln, Wisler Rd, SR 892, SR 841 Mainline Rd.
So did US 121 not ever meet US 21 in Wytheville? While it seems logical to have done so, the answer seems to be no. Some Esso maps in the 1930s show US 121 going to Wytheville. However, the 1931 and 1933 VDOT Route Logs both have US 121 ending at US 11.

1926 Official
VA 15 Ft Chiswell to NC
1926 Official
US 121 (1932 Official)
US 121 replaces VA 15
1932 Official
1931 VDOT Route Log
US 121 Official Description
1931 VDOT Route Log
1936 Official
US 52 replaces US 121
1936 Official

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Page last modified 8 December 2023