Construction to Begin on Controversial Parkway in Spring

Wed July 30, 2003 - Northeast Edition

PINEVILLE,WV (AP) Officials hope to begin construction of the Shawnee Parkway by next spring.

Vince Bousa, coordinator of the Shawnee Parkway Authority, says drilling has begun to determine the types of rocks engineers will deal with during construction of the two-lane, 22-mi. road connecting Raleigh and McDowell counties.

Drilling project manager Greg Meade said workers have found no problematic rocks during core drilling, but the coal they expected to discover during drilling hasn’t been found yet.

If coal is found, a coal company would be contacted to mine it and also would make the necessary highway cuts, Meade said. That would help keep construction costs down, he said.

Though many residents near Odd have objected to the road’s construction, Meade said only a few have protested at the drilling sites. Some southern West Virginia residents have complained that the road duplicates the purposes of both the King Coal Highway and the Coalfields Expressway, which also will connect Raleigh and McDowell counties.

Funds for the first 1.8 miles of the Shawnee Parkway have been secured, officials said.