CHARLESTON, W. Va.– The proposed four-lane Coalfields Expressway has moved one step closer to becoming a reality.

Beginning this fall, the West Virginia Division of Highways will let a $20 million contract for a two mile, grade and drain section of the highway.

West Virginia Department of Transportation Secretary Paul Mattox and Coalfields Expressway Authority Executive Director Richard Browning made the announcement in a DOH release.

This project will extend the four-lane highway from West Helen in Raleigh County to County Route 12/1 in Wyoming County. This will be one of four projects that will link the new highway from West Helen to Mullens.

“As Southern West Virginia continues to diversify its economy, the Coalfields Expressway continues to be critical to the future prosperity of the entire region,” stated Browning in the release.

Sixty percent, or $12 million, of the $20 million funding will come from Federal-Aid; with another 25 percent, or $5 million from the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program; while the remaining 15 percent, or $3 million, is state money.

According to the DOH, TIGER or TIGER Discretionary Grant program, allows the U.S. Department of Transportation to invest in projects that have a significant impact on the Nation, a region or a metropolitan area.

“The existing two-lane roadway has many deficiencies for today’s transportation needs,” Mattox said in the release. “The project to be let this fall will be another large step toward our goal of delivering a safer, modern highway to southern West Virginia.”

The Coalfield Expressway, designated as U.S. 121, is a rural, four-lane divided, partially controlled access highway that is 62 miles in length.

Once completed, it will connect the city of Beckley with the Virginia/West Virginia state line where it intersects the Virginia alignment for the Coalfields Expressway.

Coalfield Expressway discussions first began in the early 1960s with construction on the project not starting until 2000.

Currently, 6.9 miles of the Coalfields Expressway is open to traffic in Raleigh County.

The new road will be the first four-lane for both Wyoming and McDowell counties.

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  • Ax Man

    You need to be careful, who you vote for, they might just win.

  • Kevin

    We need more toll roads in this state to help build new roads!!! And for you to wonder why the new roads are down state and not up North you answered your own question!! all they care about is the Southern part of the state!! Heck we have been trying to get I68 from Morgantown to the Northern Panhandle since I have been a kid and I am 38

    • pc

      Not up North? Time for a Geography check. Um, let's see, new construction on Corridor H from I-79 east to Virginia; widening of I-79 throughout Clarksburg area; $100 million plus to widen 1 mile exit off I-79 in Fairmont; plans for multi-million new interchange off I-79 north of Morgantown; "newer" interstate, I-68 from Morgantown to Maryland; widening of I-81 in Martinsburg; 4 lane upgrade of Route 9 from Martinsburg to Virginia line; plans to 4 lane route 340 from Charles Town to Virginia line, etc. Look at a map, these projects are in North, North Central, or Northeastern West Virginia and NOT Southern WV. Want to go to Wheeling from Morgantown? Take I-79 to I-70 west, you can make it a lot easier than the travel in Southern WV in Logan, Williamson, Mullens, Welch, Bluefield, etc!!

  • Harpers Ferry

    How about the "tunnel to nowhere" outside Bluefield. Looks the same as it did 10 years ago when it was started. What a joke!

  • RW

    Just wish they would get it done and wish the state would make it so some of the folks who help build it didn't have to be in the union companies that build it. We have a lot of folks out of work from the coal companies that are very capable operators and very good labor who could help out here. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for the union, but the union needs to make it easier for folks to get in there.

  • Jim G.

    Is this going to be a toll highway? Why doesn't WV finish Route 35? Only 12 miles remain to finish Route 35. Those 12 miles are the only 2 lane section on the entire length of that highway. I am sure that the traffic on Route 35 is certainly heavier now than any projected traffic on this road. Why does this road get built without tolls but the only way to finish Route 35 is with tolls? The potential economic development of the vast amounts of level land along Route 35 certainly has greater potential.

    • Charles

      Because at least the counties that rt 35 serves has a 4 lane road that serves them. No less than a road that can handle trucks to carry goods. The counties that this road will service has no such road. To give these people a chance you have to give them a road. Period!!! They have none. To complain about this road getting funding is selfish. Everyone wants to make fun of McDowell but doesn't want to help these people out. I'm sure 35 is a pain in your butt. But it beats the heck out of anything in McDowell or Wyoming counties. This road is a must have them to even have a chance at recovery from coal's demise. Rt 35 needs tolled. The majority of traffic is out of state drivers. Let them pay for it.

      • Jim G.

        Charles to put it bluntly the Coalfield Expressway is a road to nowhere. The entire length of Route 35 in WV and Ohio is 4 lane except for these 12 miles. The project is already engineered and ready to go except for lack of funding. Route 35 is a busy highway full of commerce. The Coalfield Expressway will provide easy access for people who have moved out of state to visit the graves of the loved ones they left behind.

  • Ray Tanner

    Here we go again, with the state working on road projects that will never be completed. What about the interstate from Elkins to Va. (Rt.33). Our secondary roads are so bad. Every year they patch here and there. They make interstates for people out of state to travel thru and we people who live here have to deal with roads that wear out your tires and cars. Aren't we the ones that pay the taxes for roads thru our high gas prices.

    • Mr Roads

      the state needs to finish projects before starting new ones. Corridor H just needs to be build between Elkins and Davis and it will run all the way to the VA line.