Corridor-H extended & open. Plus other updates...
November 28, 2005
I know this has been a long time in coming since I had last given a Corridor-H update last spring. But considering most of Corridor-H on this part of WV is completed, there wasn't much to really give updates on. However that has changed dramatically in the last few months.
As many of you know who have traveled to Canaan Valley/Timberline in the last two years, when driving on CorridorH you were required to exit at "East Moorefield" onto old Rt. 55. From there you were required to drive into Moorefield on old Rt. 55. While getting off at that exit more than likely you saw the current construction extending CorridorH down into Moorefield. Last week the extension of CorridorH from old Rt.55 to US 220 was opened for travel.
Two nights ago I personally traveled this route while doing an IT contract job in Moorefield. Upon driving past the East Moorefield exit the roadway continued to decline in elevation for another mile bypassing more smaller turnoffs and exits. About a mile past the Rt. 55 exit the two lanes of the highway are no longer seperated by a grassy median, but merge closer together and become seperated by a several foot high concrete barrier. Reminiscent of I-66 almost. The roadway flatens out and you begin to see signs that the roadway ends in approximately 2 miles.
Contrary to what many people think and what I orginialy though, CorridorH does NOT directly empty off onto US 220. Instead you make an exit on the US 220 bypass highway (more on this in a minute). After starting onto the exit ramp you will come to a stop sign and cones directing you to make a left as your only option. If you look to your right you will see 4 highway lanes stopping and going nowhere. As you follow the cones you then travel across a 4 lane bridge that crosses CorridorH. As you continue driving you notice you are on what is another 4 lane highway traveling perpendicular to CorridorH. This goes for about 500 yards before you are forced to turn left onto another newly created two lane road which travels parallel to CorridorH and takes you straight to US220. Before you turn onto this two lane highway, if you were to have kept driving straight, you would have driven this 4 lane highway into a dirt pile.
Considering this is only a 3 mile extension of CorridorH, it does feel like you are driving alot further than just three miles. This does improve significant time getting to US220 for those who are traveling to downtown Moorefield and aiming to get to stores like WalMart on the north end of town. However, I already know many of you are asking the question "Does this improve my Canaan Valley diving time?". Quite honestly, I don't forsee this decreasing times by much. The reason being is that CorridorH exits onto US Rt 220 nearly 2 miles further north than where Rt. 55 intersects US.220. Be warned you will experience heavy traffic now going through mainstreet Moorefield, with slower times past the schools required and other traffic obstacles, it's quite possible you may take a few minutes longer to get to Canaan.
What is this new 4 lane highway I mentioned? It took me a few moments of researching but I found out. For years county officials have been looking for a solution to relieve the traffic congestion of mainstreet Moorefield due to the increased traffic loads. The proposed solution is to build a 4 lane interstate quality highway to the east of Moorefield named the Moorefield By-Pass. When traveling from Petersburg this new highway is proposed to merge east away from the current US 220 before the town limits. This would be in the area of before crossing the railroad tracks and before Hardee's. The by-pass would swing out east of Moorefield by nearly a mile going directly beside the new Moorefield Middle School and the Caldonia Heights housing development. The by-pass would then reintersect US 220 several miles north of the Moorefield town limits.
Appearantly in construction of CorridorH, officials were so sure of this by-pass being built that they created an exit just for it with about 1/8th mile of the highway for it. However there has been strong opposition to this project and for years the by-pass project has floundered and died. Personally that was a waste of land to me.
I know many of you are very curious about this being that this exit and the McCauley bridges are the only two projects holding up the eastern end of CorridorH. This past autumn several contract bids were placed with another construction company from Kentucky taking the winning bid to build this exit. Construction has already been started as of a month ago. Large earth moving dump trucks and dozers were removing dirt that was used as foundation for shaping the future highway in order to create temporary access ramps. The way construction is taking shape, it appears that Trout Run-Cutoff Road is being shaped into an extension of CorridorH which will intersect with current Rt. 259/55. I plan to have pictures posted of this within a week to give everyone a better feel for what is taking shape.
Outside of moving the soil for this and laying down the foundation for the roadway, all that needs to be done is for pavement to be laid and this exit will be complete. Keep in mind that this is a "temporary" access ramp in the sense that if CorridorH was to ever go into Virginia, these ramps would be replaced by a set of bridges.
There really isn't anything to report here other than rumors are flying bountifully with reasons as to why this is taking so long. I've heard everything that the soil was incorrect to that only six men were working the entire project. What is for fact though is that the contractor assigned this job has been receiving daily fines of tens of thousands of dollars per day assigned by the state beginning this past August and will continue until the project is finished. Total fines are expected to reach into several millions of dollars before this is finished.
Currently the bridges have the steel bottoms on them with the rebar currently being installed. Outside of this there hasn't been much else happening. I can imagine this would take an extremely long time to complete considering the amount of rebar being used for these bridges is enourmous. A noteworthy fact is the length of these bridges is longer than the length of the Clifford Hollow Bridge outside of Moorefield.
Thanks! I just came back Wednesday night from the cabin in the outskirt of Moorefield. I did explore the new part of Corridor H from East Moorefield exit down to Rt 220. All I can say it was interesting but not sure if it helps save time driving to Canaan valley area. People from DC area could stop by the restaurants or the food store (FoodLion or SuperWalmart) on the way to the ski resort.
--Across the valley in Moorefield
When I was up in the South Branch Mountain near the Helmick Rock and above Three Square Knob, I could see across the valley down below and see the new construction on the other side of the river. Looks like a wide unpaved path and fresh grass on the sides. Looks like it's ready to be paved but there's no earth moving machines or trucks out there. Maybe there was some left over money from the budget to do some earth moving job across the river from rt 220/new 55 JCT?
BAwalker, maybe someday you could check out that area by going north-west across the bridge to the area west of Old Fields.
Using Garmin GPSMAP60CS, I was able to create a map and other neat features.
-- map image showing the track of Corridor H and part of old Rt 55
-- Vertical Profile of Rt 55 & Corridor H
from near Turkey Run/Lebanon Church in VA to Rt 220 Moorefield WV
Thanks for the detailed update.
Would it help people going through Scherr via 93, and then continuing on 93 to Davis???
Sounds like it's hardly worth all the meandering about to gain just that 3 miles!