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Collis P. Huntington led 15 years of rapid development under his leadership. His new Peninsula Extension of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway, which was built from Richmond, opened up transportation options along the Peninsula. It also provided a new route for the railroad to transport West Virginia's bituminous coal to port, for shipping and export. The new railroad brought a terminal and coal docks to load the colliers. Huntington and his associates built a large shipyard within a few years. The new town of Newport News was incorporated in 1896. It had briefly replaced Denbigh as Warwick County's seat. By mutual consent, Newport News was consolidated in 1958 with the former Warwick County. This brought the two communities back to their pre-1896 size. Newport News, which is now more well-known, was formed in Virginia's third largest independent municipality by population.
Many residents work at Newport News Shipbuilding, a joint U.S. Air Force/Army installation at Joint Base Langley–Eustis. The city also has other bases and suppliers. This makes the city closely connected to the military. A large boating industry can benefit from the many miles of waterfront and its location along the James River. Newport News is also a hub for rails and sea transportation, with the Newport News Marine Terminals at the East End. It is served by Interstate 64 (main east-west highway 64), and it is connected to Hampton Roads via the circumferential Hampton Roads Beltway. This beltway crosses the harbor via two bridge tunnels. The city borders include a portion of Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport.