Welch, WV (WOAY)- Governor Justice and West Virginia Department of Transportation officials held a groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the beginning of road work that will connect the town of Welch to The Coalfields Expressway. The project is a part of the Governor’s Road to Prosperity program.
Governor Justice spoke on the importance of the Coalfields Expressway at the ceremony. “The Coalfields Expressway has been in the making for over 30 years. It should have been done a long time ago…but now we’re making it happen,” Says Gov. Justice. “We’re getting this done for the people of southern West Virginia.”
Governor Justice announced the bid award for the project in May. Roadwork involves building a 5.12-mile section of highway from Welch to WV 16. The $147.6 million project will be completed by Bizzack Construction Company of Lexington, Kentucky.
The project will require more than 16 million yards of excavation and includes the construction of two ramps and bridges. Additionally, construction will place more than 10,000 feet of large diameter drainage pipe for the project. The project is expected to be completed in Summer 2026.
In 2017, Governor Justice committed to extending the Coalfields Expressway if the road bond referendum passed. Within a year of the referendum passing with 73% in favor, a contract for an extension project was awarded to Kokosing Construction Company. The extension project resulted in the first four-lane highway in Wyoming County, which opened in October 2020.
Plans include building a five-mile stretch of the Coalfields Expressway from Mullens to Twin Falls State park. Additionally, there is a plan to create a three-mile link from Twin Falls to Pineville. Once planned sections are complete, the expressway will connect the WV Turnpike with US 23 at Slate, Virginia.