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Long awaited four-lane Coalfields Expressway opens

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A long awaited 8.9-mile (14.3-kilometer) four-lane highway opened in rural Wyoming County, West Virginia on Thursday.

Gov. Jim Justice and officials held an opening ceremony for the road, which lawmakers first sought to build in the 1980s. It runs from Slab Fork in Raleigh County to Mullens in Wyoming County.

The project stalled in the early 2000s due to funding running out before the effort was renewed again in 2017, Justice’s office said. The Coalfields Expressway project cost $33 million and extended the highway to 18 miles (29 kilometers) total.

“It’s a crying shame when you think about how long it’s been,” Justice said in a statement. “Maybe it’s been close to 30 years, 30 years in the making to open this area of West Virginia to the world.”