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Company Awarded Bid for Coalfields Expressway Also in Trouble Over Water Pollution Violations

A truck hauls coal away from the Coalfields Expressway site.

The West Virginia Department of Transportation has awarded a contract to pave nearly nine miles along the Coalfields Expressway between Mullens and Slab Fork., according to a press release Wednesday from Governor Jim Justice’s office.  Work also extends to include the Mullens Connector. The infrastructure project is nearly 30 years in the making.

According to the press release, the project was awarded to Ohio-based Kokosing Construction Company with a bid of $44.3 million.

That same company is also doing work on Corridor H in Tucker and Randolph counties. 

The state Department of Environmental Protection found violations of Kokosing’s water pollution control permits along Corridor H between December last year and September this year. As a result of those violations, the DEP issued a stop-work order, giving the company 20 days to fix their problems. 

Tucker County resident, Barbara Weiner, lives on a farm about a quarter mile from the construction along Corridor H. She said water in the stream near her home, Haddox Run, has been muddy and filled with sediment following construction. 

“And what we’ve been seeing is every time it rains the stream gets opaque, brown, and has not ever cleared up since construction began,” she said.

West Virginia Public Broadcasting reached out to Governor Jim Justice’s office and Kokosing Construction Company for a comment. Neither responded by the time this story was published. 

Update Oct. 5. 2018 10:35 a.m.:

After this story published, Mike Koelbl, Vice President for Kokosing Construction Company, Inc. sent the following statement in an email:

“Kokosing Construction Company is committed to preserving the environment and limiting construction impacts as we build important infrastructure for the State of West Virginia. There has been unusually heavy rainfall this year. In fact, the region has experienced over 11 inches of rain in September alone. We are working closely with the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection and the West Virginia Division of Highways to contain the effects of these rain events.”