LEBANON, Va. (WJHL) — Virginia officials are seeking an additional $7 million in federal funding for the Coalfields Expressway project.

The Coalfields Expressway Authority is working with federal legislators on a funding request of $7 million for paving additional lanes at the U.S. 121/460 intersection and Hawk’s Nest sections. The request was submitted for consideration in the upcoming federal budget.

A budget bill released by the House Appropriations Transportation Subcommittee only includes $3.5 million for the project. However, officials with the CFX Authority hope continued negotiations by Virginia’s federal lawmakers will result in additional funding for the project.

Rep. Morgan Griffith joined CFX Authority members on Thursday to hear an update on how the Virginia Department of Transportation plans to use nearly $2 million in funding allocated to the expressway under the current federal budget. The funds will go toward pre-engineering the proposed section of expressway between Grundy and the West Virginia state line.

According to the CFX Authority, pre-engineering will be used toward identifying roadway considerations such as:

  • Conceptual alignments, grades and profiles;
  • Surface and mineral owners;
  • Surface mines and deep mine works;
  • Selection of typical sections, design speed and number of lanes;
  • Evaluation of climbing lanes and truck escape ramps needs;
  • Calculation of potential earthwork volumes;
  • Development of pavement design; and
  • Development of scoping level estimates.

Environmental impacts will also be examined.

During Thursday’s meeting, CFX Authority Executive Director Jonathan Belcher gave an update on VDOT’s estimated timeline for the completion of the Corridor Q (US 460) and the overall project:

  • Kentucky state line to Route 744 (Southern Gap) – early fall 2023.
  • Route 744 to Route 604 (Poplar Creek) – early 2025.
  • Route 604 (Poplar Creek) to Grundy – late 2027.

The remaining sections of the proposed Coalfields Expressway in Virginia remain unfunded.

The proposed 57-mile highway is expected to boost economic development in the coalfields of Southwest Virginia. Once complete, it will run through Buchanan, Dickenson, and Wise counties to the West Virginia state line.