New Coalfields Expressway route heads to Va. panel - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

New Coalfields Expressway route heads to Va. panel

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- The Commonwealth Transportation Board is scheduled to take up a proposed realignment of the Coalfields Expressway.

Opponents of the changes are expected to speak out at Wednesday's meeting in Richmond. They call it a "strip mining" highway project and contend the proposed realignments cater to the wishes of coal companies that are partnering with the state.

Alpha Natural Resources and Rapoca Energy are partnering with Virginia to complete the four-lane divided highway though Virginia's coal country and into West Virginia .

Only a 2-mile section in Buchanan County has been completed. The rough grade section was completed in the summer of 2011.

If the board approves the new route, the project moves on to the Federal Highway Administration for review.

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