Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin announced last week that the Division of Highways’ first Private Public Partnership (PPP) will advertise for Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for a Coalfields Expressway project.
Tomblin made the announcement in conjunction with Rep. Nick Rahall, Department of Transportation Secretary Paul Mattox and the Coalfields Expressway Authority.
The 3.3 miles section of the highway will connect Mullens to sections of the expressway already under construction.
“It’s a really good project we’ve been working on since January,” said Richard Browning, executive director of the Coalfields Expressway Authority. “Mike Goode (chair of the authority’s board of directors) and I met with some people who suggested it could be done a lot cheaper if it was done in conjunction with the last contractor (on an expressway project).”
A meeting was then set up with Gov. Tomblin and Mattox, Browning said.
“I can’t say enough about the Federal Highways Administration and Paul Mattox and how much they have done to move it forward,” he commented.
Browning has been a proponent of Private Public Partnerships for years.
“To use this type of funding for highway construction makes me very proud,” he stated.
A bill passed regarding PPPs when he was in the House of Delegates “was flawed,” Browning said, “and I knew it was flawed. I knew it could be fixed when the Division of Highways got ready to use it.”
“Private Public Partnerships bring roads to the people a lot quicker than conventional construction,” stated Browning. “We’ll reap the benefits of that here in Wyoming County.”
“This is great news for southern West Virginia and people across the state,” Tomblin said in a press release.
Final bids for the Coalfields PPP project are expected to be opened in December. Construction will starts in spring 2015.
The project is slated for completion in late October of 2018.
Goode and the other authority officers were elected to another term.