Megaprojects: Coalfields Expressway Hawks Nest section - completion of rough grade road bed

Cost and schedule ►

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), local elected officials and Alpha Natural Resources officials commemorated the completion of the first section of rough-grade road bed for the Route 121 – Coalfields Expressway on July 19, 2011.  

Alpha Natural Resources constructed the rough grade road bed at a cost of $10 million, a savings to VDOT of over $90 million by coordinating the road bed development on mountainous terrain as part of an active surface mining operation.

In fall 2008, VDOT signed an agreement with Alpha Natural Resources allowing design and construction of rough grade road bed of the Hawks Nest portion of the expressway to begin.

Virginia’s 2012-2017 Six-Year Transportation Improvement Plan fully funds two additional Coalfields Expressway Projects: Doe Branch and the Pound Connector.

The Doe Branch section ties the Route 460 Connector Phase II and Hawks Nest in Buchanan County and travels west to Route 80 in the Haysi area of Dickenson County, about 4.8 miles.  The cost estimate for this project is $81.5 million for preliminary engineering to construction.  

The Pound Connector is about 6.8 miles in length and begins at Route 23 in the Pound area of Wise County and extends into Dickenson County where it will connect to Route 83 via a connector road.  The cost estimate for this project is approximately $140 million for preliminary engineering to construction.

Upon completion of the Route 460 Connector Phases I and II, the Hawks Nest section will be brought to final grade.  

The Route 121 – Coalfields Expressway is a proposed four-lane highway stretching approximately 49 miles from Pound in Wise County through Dickenson and Buchanan counties to the West Virginia state line.

Designated as part of the national highway system, the Coalfields Expressway will link Interstates 64 and 77 in West Virginia with Routes 23 and 460 in Virginia.  



Contact Info:

Rob Griffith, P.E., Project Manager

Page last modified: Jan. 30, 2023