Proposed Raleigh County Highway Project Bill Stirs Mixed Opinions

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Senate Bill 327, which explores the idea of constructing a four-lane highway from Beckley to Pikeville, Ky., is receiving mixed reactions from the Raleigh County community. 

Roy Bovee, a visitor from Pineville. believes businesses in southern West Virginia could receive a boost if the state legislature approves an additional highway project. 

“Any highways that could potentially come in to this area, could have potential growth for the economy, for the people,” Bovee says.

According to SB 327, growing the economies of Kentucky and West Virginia is its main purpose. Senator Jeff Mullins, R-Raleigh, 09, says a committee is forming to develop the route and funding plans.

“Beckley’s, I think, a prime spot,” Senator Mullins tells 59News. “There’s already two interstates there in I-77 and I-64. So we’ve got a lot of opportunity in Raleigh County and the Beckley area to attract new industries just because of our location.”

Because the Coalfields Expressway and Beckley Z-Way projects in the Raleigh County area remain under construction, there are some in the community who feel SB 327 is unnecessary.

Deborah Smith, a Coal City resident, is one of them. 

“I think we should fix the highways that we have right now,” Smith says. “They’re all to pieces. Why build more when you need to fix the ones that’s here?”

Senator Mullins says although it will likely take at least a year, he believes the state legislature will pass SB 327. Once formed, the SB 327 committee will submit its routes and funding plans for the highway project to the legislature on July 1.

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