Justice helps break ground on new section of Coalfields Expressway

WELCH, W.Va. — Gov. Jim Justice vowed to residents of McDowell County Monday he would not stop pushing until the Coalfields Expressway is complete.

“I want to see it completed and done. It’s not going to be completed to the Virginia line before I’m gone, but honest to God I’m going to leave enough stone so that it will be completed,” said the Governor during a groundbreaking for a 5.12 Mile section of the highway from Welch to state Route 16.

Justice announced the bid award for the project back in May.

Justice told those gathered it was his company, Bluestone Industries, who had done the original work to clear the area where the groundbreaking was being held. He said the initial discussions of the idea happened in the back room of a Bluefield restaurant many years ago and at first he thought it was a crazy idea.

However, he saw the determination among those wanting to open up the area to a four-lane roadway. He said his company bid $2 Million dollars for the initial job. The second lowest bid was $22 million.

“We did all this work, Bluestone did every bit of this work. We didn’t leave $20 million on the table, we knew they only had so much money and we knew to do this project, somebody had to step up,” he said.

The Governor deflected any credit from his company claiming those who stepped up were local decision makers and residents determined to see the project finished. He counted himself among them.

“This is the God-awfullest thing in the world. It’s been in the making for 30 plus years now. Truly, it would have been done a long, long time ago,” he said.

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