BLUEFIELD — Members of the King Coal Highway Authority in southern West Virginia will be crossing the state line next week to appear before the inaugural meeting of a new Virginia Senate I-73 Committee.

The Virginia Senate committee is convening as part of the National I-73/I-74/I-75 Corridor Association gathering at the New College Institute in the city of Martinsville, Va. The state committee will meet following the commencement of the national I-73/I-74/I-75 committee on Monday, Nov. 10.

Several King Coal Highway Authority members will be attending the Virginia-side session, including McDowell County Commission President Gordon Lambert, Mercer County Clerk Julie Ball, and authority board members Tom Hall and Christine West, according to King Coal Highway Authority Executive Director Mike Mitchem.

“I think there is a possibility of the Virginia side (of the I-73 corridor) being done in 10 years,” Mitchem said. “So it will be very important for West Virginia to start our Mercer County side, and start traveling toward Huntington. If they (Virginia) can get it done in 10 years we will need to be ready.”

The Virginia Department of Transportation, along with the Federal Highway Administration and leaders from North Carolina and South Carolina, will all be making presentations at the national conference.

Mitchem said the group is also expected to receive a comprehensive economic impact report regarding the benefits of the construction of the future I-73 corridor. The King Coal Highway is the local southern West Virginia corridor of the future I-73/74/75 route.

The future I-73/74/75 corridor is expected to create a new thoroughfare from the shores of South Carolina through the heart of Virginia and into the interior of the United States while also linking North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.

Mitchem said the West Virginia-based King Coal Highway Authority members were invited to the gathering by Virginia state Senator William M. Stanley, R-Moneta.

— Contact Charles Owens at cowens@bdtonline.com

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