Governor Justice, WVDOT Officials Celebrate Groundbreaking

RALEIGH COUNTY, W.Va. (WOAY) – About two years after promising to finish the Coalfields Expressway, Governor Jim Justice held a groundbreaking ceremony to commemorate the start of new paving work.

The current phase will connect Mullens to Slab Fork It is the latest roadwork project as part of the Roads to Prosperity program.

“If you’ve ever driven the roads in southern West Virginia, you can’t get anywhere without going all over here and there,” said Justice. “It takes forever, so the ability to be able to connect [everything] gives us the access to Kentucky and many other states.”

The project is almost 30 years in the making. When it is finally complete, over 64 miles of road will connect the area to the rest of the world. Right now, less than eight miles of the expressway is open for use. It is expected that paving the area between Mullens and Slab Fork will last until mid-October.

“When we started this project 29 years ago, that’s longer than I’ve been with highways,” said Commissioner of Highways Jimmy Wriston. “It’s just a great feeling…having that connection just opens up the world down here for these folks.”


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Kassie Simmons joined the team in January 2019 as a weekend journalist. She graduated from Virginia Tech in just two and a half years with a BA in multimedia journalism. During her short time at Virginia Tech, she served as the editor for the university’s chapter of The Tab. Kassie was named the top reporter for The Tab at Virginia Tech on multiple occasions and made the list for the top 30 reporters for The Tab in the U.S. She also studied theater performance and minored in creative writing. Before coming to WOAY, Kassie interned at WSLS in Roanoke and the Tidewater Review in her hometown of West Point, Va. She has loved following breaking news since her childhood and has a passion for delivering the stories people care most about. Kassie is excited to be working in Southern West Virginia and looks forward to all the adventures ahead of her. You can follow her on Twitter at @KassieLSimmons and like her page on Facebook. If you have a story you think she should check out, send her an email at