Controversy on the Coalfields Expressway - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Controversy on the Coalfields Expressway

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BECKLEY (WVVA) – A road in southern West Virginia is the subject of a controversy with two very different sides. 

The Coalfields Expressway project is at a halt until more funding is available for its construction.  The road is said to cost upwards of $20 million a mile.

The environmental activist group the Sierra Club has an online petition asking to stop funding for the road, on the grounds that it will not be beneficial to the general public.  They feel it will help the coal industry and construction will be hazardous to the environment.

Some politicians disagree.  Rep. Nick Rahall of the United States House of Representatives says upon completion, the Coalfields Expressway will be a lifeline for people traveling through Southern West Virginia. 

"I'm a true believer in that old saying, ‘if you build it they'll come.'  And I really believe the building of transportation and highways causes small businesses to look to move into an area, even larger scale businesses to move in, so if you build it they'll come, and it means jobs," says Rep. Rahall. 

The Coalfields Expressway would be a four lane modern highway, connecting Beckley to McDowell County.    

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