Proposed Coalfields Expressway in Virginia takes another step forward

Photo Courtesy: Virginia Department of Transportation

Photo Courtesy: Virginia Department of Transportation

BRISTOL, Va. (WYMT/WJHL) - A long-discussed road project in Southwest Virginia took an important step forward Wednesday.

The Virginia Commonwealth Transportation Board gave its approval to two proposed locations for sections of the Coalfields Expressway.

One is from Route 23 at Pound, Virginia to the proposed Route 460 Connector.

The second section approved Wednesday is the Hawks Next section of the Coalfields Expressway in Buchanan County.

The next step is for VDOT to revise an environmental assessment of the road and then get approval from the Federal Highway Administration.

Funding is available for only part of the project which, if all goes as planned, will be paid for through a unique partnership between VDOT and private partners Alpha Natural Resources and Rapoca Energy.

"By partnering with the coal companies, VDOT can build CFX for about half of the cost of traditional construction methods," according to a VDOT news release.

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