6/17/2013 5:04 PM
by Karen Franklin
HINTON - State officials and local leaders hope a new section of parkway in Hinton will bring more people to the area.
Rep. Nick Rahall, alongside Hinton Mayor Joe Blankenship and other officials, cut a ribbon to celebrate the opening of 1.36 miles of the New River Parkway.
"This is good for our people," Rep. Rahall told WOAY. "There's an old line that if you build it, they'll come. When it comes to infrastructure, our highway and roadways, well, if you protect it, they'll come too."
A larger 10-mile section, that will connect Interstate-64 to Hinton, is scheduled for construction next. Officials hope the new road will make for easier access to the parks.
"We can't protect a park by ourselves," said Trish Kicklighter of the National Park Service. "We have to have partners, and we have to have advocates, and one of the ways that you grow those is for people to be able to experience the park, to actually get out there and enjoy it."
Many who spoke to the crowd said the new infrastructure is critical to growth.
"It just means a lot to us, and once we get the reality and the dream completed, it's going to be fantastic for us," Blankenship told WOAY.
Triton Construction is expected to begin the other phases of the project soon.