The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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October 7, 2013

Shawnee Parkway progress held up by permit

GHENT — Little to no progress has been made on the Shawnee Parkway since the first section of 1.22 miles was completed back in 2008.

The Shawnee Parkway is proposed as a scenic parkway through parts of McDowell, Mercer, Mingo, Raleigh, Summers and Wyoming counties and is proposed to extend 22 miles.

“The project has fallen through the cracks,” Shawnee Parkway Authority Coordinator Dave Parkulo said.

The hope of the parkway is it will help speed up emergency response time, save time on routes to school for children and also help residents in the area reach destinations such as Interstate 77 in just a few minutes, Parkulo said.

The Shawnee Parkway Authority is still waiting on a permit that will hopefully allow construction to continue. But there will be no progress until the permit is received, Parkulo said.

“We sat back and let things work themselves out, and its not working out,” Parkulo said.

The scenic two-lane corridor is proposed to extend 22 miles from Ghent in Raleigh County to the mountaintop ridges of Mercer County before it ultimately connects with the King Coal Highway near Crumpler in McDowell County. The project was first proposed for the region in 1986.

The total cost to build the Shawnee Parkway was originally estimated at $293 million.

— Elgin is a reporter for the Bluefield Daily Telegraph

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