GRUNDY, Va. (WJHL) — Officials gathered in Buchanan County on Thursday to celebrate the completion of a segment of highway that is part of the Corridor Q and Coalfields Expressway projects.
The segment of future US Route 460 runs from Breaks Park Road to Route 744 at Southern Gap.
Once sign installation is complete, the road will open, which could take place as soon as next week, according to the Virginia Coalfields Expressway Authority.
Of the 8.7-mile-long segment, 2.5 miles are part of the future US 121 Coalfields Expressway. It marks the first completed mileage since the project was born nearly 30 years ago.
“The ribbon cutting marks a significant milestone in the Coalfields Expressway project as it is the first mileage in the road to be completed and opened to travel by the public,” Virginia Coalfields Expressway Authority Executive Director Jonathan Belcher said in a release. “The CFX Authority has been working closely with VDOT and our state and federal legislators to acquire funding for the project and thanks to federal appropriations, was able to see a section of the road initially planned as two lanes extended to four.”
Belcher said another $7 million in proposed federal funding would allow for more four-laning.
While the Coalfields Expressway and Corridor Q projects are separate, the proposed highways will overlap for several miles in Buchanan County.
The Corridor Q project, which will become US 460, will run from Grundy to the Kentucky state line near Breaks, where the route goes over the tallest bridge in Virginia (which opened to traffic in 2020).
The planned Coalfields Expressway, which will be designated US 121, will link Buchanan, Dickenson, and Wise counties, running from US 23 near Pound to the West Virginia line where it will connect with West Virginia’s planned Coalfields Expressway.
Additional sections of the Coalfields Expressway remain in the design phase, according to the Expressway Authority.
Two sections of Corridor Q remain under construction: the 2.7-mile Popular Creek Phase A section, which is scheduled to open in late 2025, and the 2.1-mile Popular Creek Phase B portion, which is scheduled to open in late 2027.
Phase A will include the construction of a culvert 310 feet below the roadway, which the Expressway Authority called “one of the deepest fill for a precast box culvert in the nation.” Phase B will include construction of the second-tallest bridge in the state.
Officials hope the proposed highways will improve transportation, facilitate economic development, and boost tourism in the economically troubled coalfields of Southwest Virginia.