Saturday, June 25, 2005

Highway agency yanks funding for southwest highway project

Link here

June 25, 2005 6:42 PM


The three-point-eight billion dollar Coalfields Expressway project in southwest Virginia has effectively been halted.

That's because the Federal Highway Administration is withdrawing funding.

The agency cited delays and escalating costs in pulling the money from the 51-mile highway, a four-lane road from Wise County, Virginia, through Dickenson and Buchanan counties to link with the West Virginia Coalfields Expressway near Paynesville, West Virginia.

Highway administration officials say the project is behind schedule with no anticipated date for the start of construction of the first eight-mile section.

About 80 percent of funding for the roadway project would come from federal money.

Virginia's initial plans, developed as part of a public-private partnership under Governor Jim Gilmore, called for the expressway to be finished by 2012. The state hopes the road would be an economic godsend for a region with high unemployment and a shrinking population.

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