Plans underway for pre-engineering work on Coalfields Expressway in Southwest Virginia | New
By CHARLES OWENS
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
GRUNDY, Va. — U.S. Representative Morgan Griffith, R-Va., was in Buchanan County last week to help determine details of how the Virginia Department of Transportation plans to use $1.995 million in dollars federal funds recently allocated for pre-engineering work on the Coalfields Expressway project.
Griffith, who represents Virginia’s 9th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives, attended a Virginia Coalfields Expressway Authority board meeting in Grundy. He spoke about the recent allocation of federal funds for the new four-lane corridor.
“I am very committed to this project,” Griffith said in a press release issued after the meeting by CFX’s board of directors. “This road has a huge benefit in Virginia and will transform the economy, or at least give us a chance to transform the economy.”
Griffith said the Coalfields Highway in Virginia and its connectivity to Kentucky and West Virginia also benefits those states by providing another transportation artery to the south.
“This route will give us bigger and better opportunities to land some major job creators,” Griffith said.
Virginia Coalfields Expressway Authority executive director Jonathan Belcher said that in addition to federal funds in the current fiscal year federal budget, the highway authority is again working with federal lawmakers on a funding request. of $7 million directed by Congress for the paving of additional lanes at the US 121 Intersection /460 and Hawk’s Nest sections. That request has been submitted for consideration in the upcoming federal budget, according to the board’s press release.
The House Appropriations Transportation Subcommittee released its FY23 bill and the highway project was included, but at the $3.5 million level.
Griffith said he would continue to work with Virginia Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine to see if additional funds could be found for the project. The Coalfields Highway also connects to neighboring West Virginia. Sections of the new four-lane corridor have already been completed in Raleigh and Wyoming counties, and construction is expected to begin soon on a section of the freeway in McDowell County.
Construction of the remaining sections of the CFX in Virginia is currently unfunded, which is the main challenge, Belcher said, adding that West Virginia plans to complete its sections of the highway in that state within 10 year.
“The momentum for CFX continues to build and is moving in the right direction,” Belcher said, adding that “CFX is the only solution to the economic plight of many coalfield regions.”
— Contact Charles Owens at [email protected]