Impact study ordered for expressway route in Virginia

BRISTOL, Va. (AP) — Federal highway officials have told Virginia to conduct a detailed environmental study of a planned segment of the Coalfields Expressway because the route has changed.

The route of a 26-mile segment from Pound to the highway’s intersection with the U.S. Highway 460 connector in Buchanan County was realigned to take advantage of a public-private partnership with coal companies. The coal companies plan to convert previously mined areas into roadbed.

The Bristol Herald Courier reports that the Federal Highways Administration has directed the Virginia Department of Transportation to conduct a detailed environmental impact statement for the new route. The federal agency says the route wasn’t fully evaluated in the project’s original environmental impact statement.

When completed, the expressway will run from Buchanan County to Raleigh County in West Virginia.

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