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Summersville - US 19

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Toronto, Canada
posts: 2
reviews: 6
Summersville - US 19

My extended family and I are planning a trip from Ontario to Florida next summer, all 11 of us. We considering using the US 19 short cut but of course have heard all the stories about the "Summersville speed trap". I just want to make sure that it is just a case of follow the posted signs. I have no problem following the speed limit. I just want to make sure that thats all that it is. I suspect that it is simular to a stretch of Highway close to my grandparents. Its an uncontroled highway with 2 lanes in each direction. It goes from many bush on each side to a small populated area with a gas stations, homes and a school. The speed drops sharply from 90 km (55mph) to 70 km (43mph). It is also a community safety zone which means fines are doubled in this area and the speed limit is enforce (although not right to km) This isn't to cash in on speeding tickets but for saftey reasons. Police do sit in this area. On busy summer weekends you can almost always find two or 3 police officers with radar guns in this area (after all there is a Tim Hortons donut place in this stretch). Locals or people familiar to the area know to drive the speed limit in the area but out of towners always speed by the locals and end up getting dinged. I imagine tourists feel that this area is a speed trap.

If the situation is the same in Summersville I have no problem with it. I just want to make sure that there is no validity to the stories of people with out of state plates getting tickets "for no reason". I just want to make sure that it isn't an improvised toll road.

I guess I'm just looking for what its like now and not what it was like 4 years ago.

Any advice as to if this short cut is worth it?

Wheeling, WV
posts: 69
reviews: 2
1. Re: Summersville - US 19

I travel 19 many times a year to vacation in Fayetteville and have seen many cars pulled over, but I don't believe the police are just looking for out of state plates. The speed limit drops considerably from 65 mph to, I believe, 50 mph . So long as you respect the posting, you will be fine.

There are signs giving you warning that the limits will drop further up the road. In reality, you will be through Summerville in 10 minutes if the traffic is flowing. Watch your speed also through Fayetteville for the same reasons.

Destination Expert
for West Virginia
posts: 1,991
reviews: 35
2. Re: Summersville - US 19

We use that short cut two-four times a year and have never been ticketed. Of couse, we have WV plates on our vehicle...but I doubt they're targeting out of staters....what would that do to help tourism? Just watch your speed and your should be fine!

charleston, wv
posts: 2,913
reviews: 3
3. Re: Summersville - US 19

Sounds like you already have the right idea of the place. Yes it is about safety. Not a "speed trap".

Through the years there have been many accidents in a couple of areas of RT 19. The heavier enforcement of speed limits has saved who knows how many lives.

Watch the signs and use common sense. Any stretch that looks a little congested you can figure the speed limit will be lower.

Besides Summersville. Maybe 20 miles south of there. Just south of New River Bridge. Town of Fayetteville also has lower speed limit and works the road hard. .

Any Beach
Destination Expert
for Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach, West Virginia
posts: 5,397
reviews: 37
4. Re: Summersville - US 19

I just drove home on Rt. 19 in the Oak Hill area. (south of Fayetteville)

I was doing the speed limit of 65...55 in some places. I lost count of

the cars that flew by me.....most out of state. There are a couple of dangerous intersections where there are flashing lights...and 55 mph posted. Nope...they didn't slow down at all in those places either!!

(didn't see a cop the whole time either)

Please...be careful on this road! And drive the speed limit!!

North East...
posts: 1
5. Re: Summersville - US 19

My daughter was on her way to her honeymoon destination recently and her husband threw a cigarette butt out of the window in Summersville. Bad move. Total fine=$410.00. You are given a phone number to call to find out the amount of the fine (like the officer doesn't know) and you are connected to a rude worker who won't break down the fine or offer to send a receipt. Finally after four calls she got a nice person who broke it down. $50 littering fine, $160 court costs(even though you mail in a check), $100 state litter control fund, $100 solid waste fund. Yes littering is wrong but fines of this amount make lifelong haters of West Virginia.

Any Beach
Destination Expert
for Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach, West Virginia
posts: 5,397
reviews: 37
6. Re: Summersville - US 19

Your second sentence said it all....."Bad Move!!"

Don't litter!!!

Fairmont, West...
posts: 273
reviews: 17
7. Re: Summersville - US 19

I agree that the police probably do not target out of state plates. I think they vigorously and cheerfully enforce the speed limits. I do not think it is entirely a safety issue, although I do believe that is part of it. The other part is that the town has made its reputation on being a speed trap, so I believe that the police also operate to maintain that reputation. I think they take great pride in having so many motorists passing through in fear of getting a ticket. Police are like everyone else, they have egos to feed. All this being said, we always go through Summersville about 5 miles under the posted limit. We have never been stopped, it only takes as someone said about 10 minutes to get through town. We leave quietly with our wallet intact.

Morgantown, West...
Destination Expert
for Morgantown
posts: 1,370
reviews: 28
8. Re: Summersville - US 19

Just drove through the area this past weekend on our way back to Morgantown after a vacation. I've always defended the speed zones and the strict enforcement, as this has been a notoriously dangerous road. We've traveled on 19 for twenty five years, and remember when much of it was 2 lane. But I'm starting to think that we won't be going this way much more.

What's bothering me now is the incredible number of stoplights between Beckley and the Birch River area. With all of the new Wal-Marts and other businesses, it frankly is no longer a shortcut from the north to the south.

As much as I always enjoyed driving on 19, I think we'll start heading down 79 to Charleston to get on 77 again. It may be 30 miles longer, but at least there aren't 100 traffic lights on the interstate!

9. Re: Summersville - US 19

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Toronto, Canada
posts: 2
reviews: 6
10. Re: Summersville - US 19

Thanks everyone for the great information. It is really appreaciated as it now looks like we may need to take 3 cars instead of 2!