Currently I am a resident of Wardensville, WV. I've lived here all my life, got relatives all over the area and spend the majority of my time here. I also own a small computer business outside of Wardensville doing PC repair as well as network engineering services. I am an avid snowboarder after getting addicted last year by friends from the high school who invited me to go along and teach me. I was surprised at the amount of boarders at the high school.
Anyway, enough about me. Since I've lived here in Wardensville I've been very familiar with the Corridor-H situation for as long as I can remember with both the opposition and supporters side. Along with my deep interest in engineering (civil, bridge, highway, etc) this has given me a chance to watch and be apart of a huge construction project that I may never see again.
Most of the involvement and study I have done has been first hand. I gladly stop along side the road get out of my car and walk along these sites or upto any barricading to get photos or ask workers questions. Hopefully in the very very near future I can get me a decent digital camera to take progress photos of the work. Here is the most recent information about Corridor-H that I can offer the snow-loving people on this website:
- Highway officials quietly opened a new section of Corridor-H from Crider's Store/North River Road crossing to the interchange just outside the east of Moorefield. This new section includes the Clifford Hollow Bridge which is one of the largest bridges in West Virginia with a scenic overlook area right off the eastbound lanes. I can personally drive from East Moorefield to Baker in 11 minutes 35 seconds. When heading west be sure to take speeds slow on the exit ramp. If you barrel through the pilons and barriers at high speeds you will have about 75yrds of pavement left before it ends into a huge dirt mound. Funding and right of way has not been granted yet for construction to begin from the East Moorefield to Foreman project.
- The Baker interchange bridges over Routes 55/259 are completed with minor landscaping work being finished up as of this weekend. The two bridges which cross Lost River just east of the Baker interchange and can be seen when driving east on Corridor-H are halfway completed. All major structural beams/piers have been installed. The steel rebar currently being installed for the deck of the bridge and I would suspect with warm daytime temperatures that concrete could be poured within the next 3 weeks.
- The highway segment between the Lost River site and the McCauley site appears to be completed. For the past two weeks as I have been doing work and driving past the construction, dump trucks full of finely crushed gravel have been entering and exiting the McCauley site access road at a rate of several trucks per 10 minutes. I'm sure this is a signal that they are paving parts of the highway between the two bridge sites. I haven't gotten to get up there yet and actually see for myself.
- The McCauley bridges are a few weeks/month(s) behind schedule due to construction workers having a hard time finding bedrock when digging for the piers. The set massive piers located right beside Rt 55/259 still have not been completed with what looks to be another 50+ feet to go. As of yesterday the set of piers located on the opposite side of the road up on the bank were having the concrete forms for "T" shaped tops hanging in place. On the other side of the river two more sets of piers will be required and have just begun to be constructed with crews still digging for bedrock appearantly. In my estimation the opening of the Wardensville segment will depend entirely on when this bridge is finished.
- Pavement has been completed from the McCauley bridges east to the new Pine Ridge Road entrange with less than a 1 mile segment of Corridor-H open to accomodate the Pine Ridge Road traffic which was moved 500' southwest. Crews were installing guard-rails and putting down hay on the landscaped parts this week when I walked down that part. Feel free to drive this segment for some awesome views of the mountains east into Wardensville.
- All of the massive earth moving from Pine Ridge road to Saurkraut Road has been completed with grading underway and some gravel base being installed. Some parts appear to be ready for paving but most likely won't be paved until the entire segment is completed. The small Saurkraut Bridge (bridge only, no access) is well underway. One of the piers has been completed with the other three being finished up before Christmas and the I beams immediately afterwards.
- The Lost River Sinks bridge construction is also well underway. This as well as the McCauley bridges are going to be "curved" bridges that are going to consist of a wide sweeping banked turns. Anyway the set of piers on the west side of the river are finished with 3-4 sets of piers on the east/Wardensville side still yet to be finished. The one set right along side the highway are 80% done with 2-3 more sets up on the bank either are underway or haven't been started yet. I would expect these piers to be finished in late January pending weather. Also the small segment between the Saurkraut & LR Sinks bridge is completed and paved. An access road allowing traffic to enter a private residence and camp is open to traffic as of this month.
- The section from the L.R. sinks bridge to Wardensville isn't quite as far along as the others. Major earth moving hasn't finished yet and large D10 dozers and dump trucks can be seen loading and unload dirt on a daily basis. The Squirrel Gap road crossing is partially completed as well as the final 55/259 interchange. Now regarding how Corridor-H will connect with Rt 55/259 is still bit of a mystery. I haven't found out how exactly this is going to happen but I'm assuming it's going to be 1 of 2 ways. First being that the east and west bound lanes of Corridor-H will come together and merge with the exsisting Trout Run Cut-off road and the current Rt 55/259 at the base of Sandy Ridge. All traffic then will then flow to the left with a stop sign on the current Sandy Ridge section coming into Wardensville. The second possiblity is to split the east bound and west bound traffic at the base of Sandy Ridge allowing west bound traffic to split and go up the current Sandy Ridge side with east bound traffic merging into Rt 55/259 at the base of Sandy Ridge. I suggest this as a possibility due to recently construction. For those who are familiar with the 2 sharp and dangerous curves on Sandy ridge, at the sharpest turn that cuts a full 180*, crews have appeared to be extending this piece of highway to merge into Corridor-H. This might also be crews working to re-route the old highway so that traffic no longer will have to go on those two sharp turns. Although that is just my speculation at best. Either way the Wardensville to Baker section will appear to open on or around Oct 2004.
The latest news regarding Corridor-H's extension into Virginia is that it will not be built for at least 10 years. Even though you might have read that Right-of-way land aquisition has been completed, design is underway to begin, and construction soon afterwards don't get your hopes up for it. I've talked with various people associated with CorridorH and opposition groups and both agree that for at least the next 10 years or any forseeable future CorridorH will officially end at the base of Sandy Ridge. I do have various friends who live in the possible pathway of CorridorH if it were to head into Virginia and they have been told their land won't be confiscated anywhere in the near future and that they should have no worries of moving.
This may be some older news, but as for the plan of connecting Corridor-H to I-66 or I-81 is officially dead. For those of you who haven't driven in this area since last winter you will notice news signs this year pointing towards a new U.S. route 48. Those are in fact referring to Corridor-H. This brings up a very interesting situation because West Virginia is recognizing Corridor-H as State Route 55. Either way all the signs are referring to Corridor-H. The latest plans and designs by WV show that Corridor H will cross the WV/VA line near the current Rt 55 area and follow Rt 55 all the way to Front Royal and further south.
So in summary, it looks like for the next several years all skiers/boarders out of the DC area will have to take I-66 to I-81 to SR 55 through Wardensville. Wardensville does have a new police chief (well not so new, but arrived last year) who is a bit more leinent on speeding infractions than previous police cheifs. I also know him personally after doing computer work at the town offices and he is a very nice and friendly guy. Still I wouldn't recommend going over the limit more than 30 in any extreme case. I would also suggest leaving early to plan ahead for construction delays. You *will* find slow traffic at the Lost River Sinks bridge site where traffic is currently flowing although slow. This will get worse as more cranes arrive to begin putting I-beams in place for the bridge. Expect McCauley to be slow if not holding up traffic as usual. Since this is a tiny construction area for alot of equipment to do alot of work, traffic will be down to 1 lanes again this winter.
I hope this info helps you all.
I also forgot to mention for those interested Wardensville is building a new Dollar General/General Dollar/Family Dollar type store right beside the Rt 55 and Rt 259 junction.
Interestingly enough I've heard from several residents that due to Moorefields ability to flood really easily there is a bridge being designed that would literally span a 1-2 mile width of that entire valley to prevent floods from taking out the highway. The thought of that is mind boggling and although it's not impossible to construct, engineers will most likely go for a solution that is more eye appealing.
Andy: Ironically enough I have a friend who just graduated college (Wingate) there near Wilmington and I think he has perfected the drive back up this way. As for Rt 33, it's been a long time since I've driven down around the Franklin/Spruce Knob areas. I can't remember at all the quality of roads, 2ln vs 4ln, steep, curvy roads etc. If you are interested an alternate route would be to do the following:
- I-81 to Broadway exit SR 259. (It's only an additional 10 min from the Harrisonburg exit.)
- Take SR 259 North from Broadway to Mathias, WV. (About 25 min on very flat, very straight 2 lane road.)
- Continue on through the unincorporated town of Mathias, WV to Baker, WV. (About 15 min on a flat, straight road)
- At Baker take a right at the "Corner Mart" store and go about 1/2 a mile to the bridges.
- Get on Corridor-H SR 55 and head to Moorefield. (About 12 min at 70mph)
- Arrive at E. Moorefield exit
- Take a left on SR 55 and go 3 miles into Moorefield at the stoplight.
- Take a left at the stoplight (US Rt 220) and follow the somewhat curvy road into Petersburg. (About 20 min)
- Go through Petersburg until you reach another stoplight. Make a right and follow the highway up over the hill.
- You will arrive at another stoplight beside a Sheetz. (* See notes below)
- Stay left and go past the Grant Memorial Hospital and stay on that road until you reach Seneca Rocks. (About 30min)
- Once you arrive at Seneca Rocks make a right and follow that to Harmon.
- Make a Right at Harmon and go right on out to Canaan.
* When you are at Petersburg you can take a right at the second stoplight by the Sheetz and take that highway for about 45 minutes or so. This will take you directly into the Mt. Storm/Davis areas so then You'd have to drop south to go into Timberline or Canaan.
Also when in Moorefield if you take a right at the stoplight on US Rt 220, that will take you to US Rt 50 and keyser where you can later hit I-68 and go directly to Wisp.
Hope this helps.
The snow removal is going to be an interesting issue. Just a couple of years ago Hardy County was down to only a handleful of working trucks & plows for the entire county! That was due to fincial/budjet problems and meant Moorefields side of the mountain got 1-2 trucks and the the Wardensville, Baker, Mathias side got the other 1-2 plows.
I live right along SR 259 and when it comes to actual snow removal normally I've been seen a truck go down past the house every few hours. I believe this truck services SR 259 to the Hampshire Co line, SR 55 to VA on North Mountain, services through Wardensville, and services SR 55 from Wardensville to Baker.
With the addition of more mileage open on Corridor-H I can't say for sure how snow removal will be. I haven't seen more/new trucks and plows at the state highway department sheds and offices so that is a bit of a concern for myself. Although even with a limited fleet I'm sure CorridorH will take priority with SR 55/259 coming afterwards.
Personally, something needs to be done and fast if we are going to have a rough winter (according to the farmers almanac). I've had to drive Sandy Ridge and Pine Ridge every year when getting caught in snow. The Subaru handles it, but there have been a couple of times the other driver was going too fast and sliding out of control where it almost hit or wrecked me over the side of those sharp turns.
Question: When you drive west, and see the sign saying Davis is ? (I forget) miles away, does that mean via the Seneca Rocks > Harman route? Or, the route that new highway will eventually take via Old Fields > Scherr etc.?
Also, maybe you can answer another WVDOT question I've always had; what do the WV route signs mean that are a circle with one number over another, such as 28/1 or 28/2 on Rt 28?
thanks! you're a great resource.
sorry, i see you were asking dmh this question, i come from the same area though and have also used every way including the Sods
Every time we go to SS we take a different route, trying to find that elusive shortest-route-with-the-least-vertical-and-switchbacks until Corridor H is finally finished. We live in Germantown so the basic route choices were either NW to Cumberland and then south thru Keyser, Mount Storm and Elkins or down 270 to 66 to Front Royal, Petersburg, Seneca Rocks, Green Bank and Cass (55-220-28/33-66) and the back road to SS. We recently made the trip in 4.5 hours including the last 2 hrs in snow and slippery conditions. We didn't speed knowing the reps of Wakefield and some of the other small towns you drive thru. We found if you take 340 from Frederick to 81 South to Front Royal where you catch 55, you miss the traffic and cut a good hour off the total time of the other routes. I expect dry, decent weather for the full trip would reduce the total time to around 4 1/4 hours. 4 hours I can live with!
Well, in the Summer yes, but in the Winter, watch out. You get a lot of blowing and drifting snow in that area. Hence, you can be motoring along at 65 mph and the road can look fine, but just over the next small rise is a patch of snow just waiting to send you into a ditch. In short, you need to be careful on 93 in the winter bet. Bismark and Davis.
Also, there a big Deer factor in that area. You always have to watch out for them--even in the winter.
[This message has been edited by johnfmh (edited 01-07-2004).]
My worst deer experience was getting charged on my bike by two bucks with full racks during rutting season. Fortunately, they missed me and continued chasing each other. Ironically, this happened in Rock Creek Park just below Calvert Street and not in WV.
Ok to answer some questions here. The mileage signs you see on Corridor H are at best estimates right now of the current planned route. At the moment the planned routes look like this:
CorridorH will extend in a north westernly direction bypassing downtown Moorefield and intersecting US Rt 220 down around Old Fields. Due to several environmentalist groups several farms and structures in that area have been added to the registrar of national historic landmarks meaning those properties can never again be touched or destroyed for any reason. This has left it very tricky for land aquisition and engineering to develope the exact route. There is also discussion continuing regarding the crossing of the South Branch river north of Moorefield. I have heard that the possiblity exsists that a bridge spanning over 1 mile in length could be constructed to cross that entire river valley to keep the highway from being flooded. Those of you familiar with this area know that Moorefield is notorious for being flooded so what reputable people are saying is that this bridge could be a reality. From Moorefield the highway will head in a northwesternly direction running somewhat parallel to county route 10/3 and intersecting at Forman. Apperantly this segment is the next on the WVDot's hitlist of accomplishing next. From Forman the highway will make a sharp northernly turn and making a turn on the northern side of Scherr not actually being in the town limits. Here Corridor H will intersect (with an exit?) on SR 93. CorridorH will then continue due west until it intersects SR 42 just south of Bismark while then taking a southwestern direction towards Davis running parallel to SR 93. From there it will head more southernly of a direction through Thomas down to Kernes and intersecting on the west side of Elkins.
Current project status:
VA Line -> Wardensville - (on hold indefinately)
Wardensville -> Baker --- (Due to finish 2005)
Baker -> Moorefield ----- (Completed)
Moorefield -> Forman ---- (Design to be completed Spring 2004. Construction pending Gov. funding.)
Forman -> Bismark ------- (Design to be completed Spring 2004. Construction pending Gov. funding.)
Bismark -> Davis -------- (Design to be completed Spring 2004. Construction pending Gov. funding.)
Davis -> Parsons -------- (Environmental Impact study underway. Design of highway to follow.)
Parsons -> Kerens ------- (Final Design underway to be completed 2004/2005.)
Kerens -> Elkins -------- (Completed)
What does this mean for traveling skiiers??
Well I have some updated information from various groups associated anti/pro Corridor H. Due to construction delays at almost all of the bridges on the Baker-Wardensville section the timeline for opening has been pushed back to the spring 2005 timeline. Sorry guys looks like this won't be open in time for next years ski season, you will have to wait until the 2005/2006 season to use this highway. All of the delay's have been due to bedrock or Quartzite problems on various sites. Most of the bridges had problems finding solid bedrock for the bridge peirs and had to go in some cases 50' deeper to hit bedrock. Also the "Sandy Ridge" section outside of Wardensville has been delayed to drill bits breaking daily on Quartzite rock. All in all I don't expect this section to be open until Feb-March 2005.
The latest news regarding the Foreman section is that land acquisition has begun and contracts are being given out to construction companies to begin construction. I would assume construction will begin Summer 2004 since this is the last segment to have funding to complete which is where a problem lies. When the group Corridor-H alternatives sued the WVDOH regarding this project, the courts ruled that the project must be broken up into sections outlined above and could not be built as a single one time project. This means that money can only come for certain segments and the last segment to have money appropriated is for Moorefield-> Foreman. After that section is completed and no other funding arrives then the other projects will sit idle.
Currently in Congress the new federal transportation bill will really decide how much funding WV will get for the Corridor H project and with current senators being *very* unhappy with WV Senator Byrd, many are trying to derail his attempts at getting more transportation money. Such is VA Senator Warner trying to get money appropriated for I-95 maintainence and the I-81 3 lane upgrade. If things don't go well in congress then the Kernens -> Foreman sections will not get built in the near future. So for all of you skiiers coming westward, don't plan on having a finished Corridor H for the next 5-10 years at the earliest. Plus if the foreman section gets built there will be no major intersection with Rt 42 so it looks like we will continue to have to get off at the East Moorefield exit and follow current driving patterns.
As for the VA Line to Wardensville section, this has been put on hold indefinately. The only way it can even be considered to be built is if the traffic volume reaches a certain level but even if that happens it's not certain to be built. State Senator Wolfe from Winchester has promised to halt any development of Corridor-H in his region for the foreseable future by putting money into I-81 instead. Plus the group Stewards of the Potomac Highlands are court bound and court ready if the DOH tries to build this. I've heard if things continue at their growth pace traffic wise construction wouldn't even begin until 15 years from now.
Where does this leave everything as a whole?? Well first and formost Corridor H *IS NOT AND WILL NOT BECOME AN INTERSTATE*. It is now considered a 4 lane controlled access road after the lawsuits in recent years meaning other access to the highway is permitted beside standard exits. I.E. county road & State Road access is allowed through standard pull offs. Access to private property is not permitted. While it still looks like, acts like and feels like an interstate, it's new designation is U.S. Rt. 48. If Virginia were to build their segments proposed ideas by the federal highway commission show Corridor H turning southward towards Front Royal and following the current SR 55 pattern. It will not intersect with I-66 in any manner ever and if it was built in VA it would have an exit on I-81. Probably just south of the Strasburg Exit 296 I'm sure.
My personal feelings is that with land prices in VA going up, housing developments being built I really don't ever forsee Corridor H extending beyond Wardensville. VA has too many other issues to worry about such as the outerloop Rt 37 Winchester bypass, I-81 3 lane upgrade and other projects much more sorely needed. Also if senators in congress get their way then WV will be severely limited in being able to finish Corridor H at all in the near future which is the primary goal. So don't make your plans of finding a new/faster route anytime soon to Davis. It simply isn't going to happen. Also land development in Hardy/Grant/Hampshire counties have crawled to a slow snail pace due to these counties setting new ordances in place regarding zoning and land development. Also here in Hardy county we are lucky to have a home-grown wall street millionare who is buying up thousands of acres of land per purchase in order to head off the westward movement of resort goers and land developers. If this behavior continues as well as the state government buying up land to join with "Nathanial Mountain" development of Hardy county should be severely limited if not stopped.
...however while I was on it I passed two cars going east, and about three miles ahead there was another car. Same situation coming back.
While the lack of traffic is surely due to the piecemeal construction - I have to wonder if Corridor H's opponents are on to something when they call it "the road from nowhere to nowhere" (I am for the road, but I am pro-road regardless of the road project).
Nothing now or in the future - even if you triple the optimists projected growth and throw in Almost Heaven just for giggles - justifies a road of that size.
I still think Corridor H (aka US 48 - when I was growing up in Cumberland what is now I68 was called US 48) is a good idea but it could be scaled back.
What you said has been the entire key to the opponents stance regarding Corridor-H. Where is the justification of having a project this size when traffic volume isn't there. They've never said they didn't want it, but the one former president of Corridor-H alternatives that I have spoken with many times said it's the DOH's lack of fully reviewing the situation before dozing ahead.
Personally I am someone that has been opposed to it for the fact of how many homes it destroyed and it destroyed some good hunting land that I used to hunt on. Although I will be the first to say SOMETHING had to be done about SR 55 from Baker to Moorefield, that section alone is a nightmare. I remember growing up in school traveling to games how many wrecks I've saw on that section.
Several times I have driven the entire section going westward and have not encountered a single car going eastward, it felt kind of eery almost. I have a feeling this is why the Wardensville to VA section will never be built. There simply isn't enough volume to justify the finances and in the end I'm afraid this highway will do nothing but go from Wardensville to Foreman. A interstate quality highway... sitting there.
My personal belief is that the DOH could have spent more money in researching the reconstruction of old-SR 55 making it a 3 lane road with that extra passing lane like US 50 is outside of Romney. But at this point that is a "coulda, woulda, shoulda" type remark and we gotta live with what we have. Since I do alot of computer business between Wardensville and Moorefield I will put lots of miles on Corridor-H, but I won't forget the mistakes politicians did make in forging ahead to fast with it.
Speaking of which, anyone need computer, webhosting services? *shameless promo* lol
The thing that makes debates like the one over Corr H so difficult is that no one REALLY knows what use will be like until its built. It might be eerily empty, but it also might attract lots of new users. On this forum alone we have lots of DC area people who use I-68 routes or US-33 or southern routes to get to the WV mtns because Corr H doesn't exist and 55 is very slow. A fully finished Corr H would change the math for them. As others have observed, this is what was seen in NH when I-93 was built north out of Boston. Point is, nobody knows. What is unfortunate is that if Corr H is only built from Wardensville to Forman, then it is pretty likely that usage will be low. And as much as I am for Corr H, that would be an unfortunate use of tax $$$. As usual, when the courts get involved, they get it wrong. It should have been all or nuthin.
Back in the day old US48 was the same way - chunks of freeway style road connected with two lane stretches, until they finally connected the dashes and blew Sidling Hill in half (a task so large that it took the better part of a decade and which some engineers only somewhat jokingly proposed using nuclear explosives to blast with).
They finished the road, the decade long economic boom of the 90's came and went, Cumberland being completely passed by despite having a gigantic road blasted to it, Deep Creek only now 15 years later starting to grow, and I68 basically deserted past Hancock (not to the level that Corridor H is deserted however).
So while I say build the roads - put an ounce of thought into it first and don't build a behemoth that will be under used and destroy the land needlessly.
Anyway Corridor-H really is something no one knows about future wise. When it comes to Senator Byrd way too many other senators see his actions as very greedly, spiteful and plain out robbery from their states by getting special spending bills etc. Those other state senators from what I've learned are really fed up with Byrd and doing what they can in their power to stop him from taking money from other bills etc.
There is a point where I gotta agree with them that just because one has the ability to take money out from under another state just because one can doesn't make it right. Plus when another state/economy/highway system needs it like VA then it *really* doesn't help WV at all if WV wants to build Corridor-H into VA and needs VA's permission.
Economy wise, our state government has continously proposed the idea of industry industry and more industry. As in trying to get say a Intel like company to build a factory which goes against all the unwritten rules of tourism which is what this area is based on.
My thought is this. Unless Corridor-H was to ever connect with I-66 or I-81 then it will never be a viable main thoroughfare. The same amount of skiiers that traveled 55 will travel C.H. and the same amount of local residents like me that traveled 55 will travel C.H. So there is no travel volume gain here. It's taking the same traffic and putting it on a new road.
Until CH goes directly in a single shot from Elkins/Buckhannon area directly to 81/66 then it will be a highway to nowhere because what reason will people have to jump off of 81 and travel 45 min to get to C.H. to use it? I admit it replaces a horrid stretch of highway, but was the price too high to pay?
I still don't see why SR 55 east of Wardensville on North Mountain can't be completely redesigned using the current highway path taking out the grade, adding more lanes and making it less trecherous. I had a friend have a car wreck on that sharp turn the other weekend when he rolled his pickup down the embankment. He survived. I think if DOH was to fix that exsisting segment of highway from VA to wardensville it could generate enough volumne to justify building the sections from Foreman to Keren's.
My experience with the big road coming to the small mountain town is this: it makes it much easier for the kids to leave... NOT for people/business to arrive. With a nice big road it was more viable to move to the big city and visit the parents on weekends/holidays. Cumberland is a much larger city than in the entire Corridor H region... and there was not incentive to stay there. Why a 17 year old would stay in Moorefield or Petersburg is a mystery to me - esp when DC with all of its jobs and "excitement" suddenly is 45 minutes closer.
Youngsters packing up for the city is nothing new to the Appalachains - but this road surely will accelerate this trend having a negative economic impact... regardless of how many skiiers show up on the weekend.
An improved highway is a must - no one (here) is arguing that. It should be done simply from a safety standpoint - to h with how much faster it makes the drive to CV! However this current plan is probably a "bit" of overkill.
I used to work at Mannesmann VDO before it closed and every morning between 7-9 the eastbound lanes were packed. Not nearly as bads as the westward lanes around 5pm. I've been going to Winchester at that time recently and when I merge onto US 50 it's nothing for me to see packs and packs of cars, sometimes 20 or so per group to be heading west. It gets alot worse from the Hayfield intersection into Winchester from there on in it's nothing but a constant string of cars. I went to town last weekend and it was dark so the trail of headlights reminded me of an I-95 picture on NBC4 news traffic update. US Rt 50 during those peak hours is at capacity, although during the day time and night it's relatively calm and quiet.
When it comes to Corridor-H I know things were done ill-timed, pushed to hard, and not all of the real options reviewed. But like others here have said the highway at least partially is there so people will use it now and more so in the future. You can't avoid not using a road like that, and if you could why would you?
If things continue as they are and the Moorefield to Foreman section gets built by 2007 that leaves a 20 or so mile section from Wardensville any economic development sure isn't going to happen without germinating for at least another 15+ years. The immediate benefits for me personally are a more connected Hardy Co. All of our court house, DMV, office related stuff is in Moorefield. So now I can leave my house be at Baker in 10 min, at the Moorefield exit in 12 min, in downtown Moorefield in another 5. Where as before on old SR 55 it would take close to 40-50 min to get there. This does encourage local's to go back and forth between the two towns more often now encouraging a possible small spike of local intra-business related issues.
Now if the section to Foreman becomes open, this might also foster traveling among local residents from here to Petersburg and back vs driving that pretty nasty stretch of road from Moorefield-Petersburg. Within 10-15 years I'd have to say economic impack will be negligable vs the cost of the highway itself. Skiiers will continue to head to CV and if the highway fully becomes finished then there are only two places that impact will happen. At Wardensville where the highway starts and at CV where more people will be getting off.
So what we see here is what alot of you have already said, skiiers now making day trips because of a sfaer/better road that takes less time to arrive at CV. Most likely I'd venture to say here in Wardensville we'd see a burger king, subway, taco bell or something spring up. Maybe a third gas station. Personally if I could get investments I'd like to setup in a new office building in town a new internet service and wireless access in town itself with offices for network engineering and consulting. Outside of that, the town is preparing for a traffic increase which means more cops as well as improving town roads/sidewalks/etc.
Plus considering local residents are highly opposed to land development I don't forsee skiiers getting homes/plots in this area on a large scale basis anytime soon. That there will force travels more westward to the housing of CV/Timberline/Davis where it is more closer to the slopes themselves. Keeping that housing boom at bay here will sove alot of potential problems and also negatively curve economic growth, which I'm willing to accept.
But places like Baker, Moorefield, Petersburg who are nearly 4-5x the size of Wardensville most likely won't seem as much of an impact. Well maybe you all will get off at the Old Fields exit and run upto Wal-Mart really quick in Moorefield and back on but thats about it. Baker itself is an unincorporated town that only has a Perdue plant there so again most traffic will be a few trucks, locals and some travelers heading to the Lost River State Park area. Or people heading towards Mathias/Harrisonburg areas. There simply won't be a need for having people exit there.
Overall, I don't see a drastic economic boom happening in this area. Predictions look like that the Elkin's area won't be connected to the eastern panhandle anytime soon so people in that area still won't have a solid and safe alternative to come eastward and we won't have a reason to go there outside of absolutely nessecary things... like skiing.
What will happen if the highway is finished from I-81 to Elkins? Throw everything I said out the window and expect these area's turn into the new Mannasses's, Leesburg's, Loudon Counties, etc. Only then would that open up this entire region to business and economic development with central WV. You would have businesses now investing time, money, construction efforts in connecting with a new possible customer base that within a 1:30 drive would put them in Foreman+. What this would then do is give the insane growth of Loudon County an escape to go towards.
Sadly enough if things and measures aren't in place before hand what will happen is that if 81 and CH intersect Wardensville will become a town decimated by travelers and development, and every other stop along C.H. would be the same way. How would you like tod rive CH and see nothing but a city-scape rather than those gorgeous mountains and trees? This is now the perfect time for local governments to start getting measures in place to ensure that this part of WV stays secluded, undeveloped, and legally ready to handle the onslaught of movers and travelers. That way you all skiiers would have a road you'd need, but us locals would continue to have the peaceful and tranquil living areas that make this region so attractive.
Those are just a few of my thoughts from having lived here and running a computer consulting business from here.
A wide two lane highway that bypasses towns with three lanes for passing on hills and such and long entrance/exit lanes would do it. Wide shoulders and a painted one lane wide painted island for left turns. Think long and hard about any traffic lights being installed. Also purchase (but not raze) the right of way for future expansion. Such a road would accomplish everything the current plan does, and cost less in terms of money and environmental impact.
Doesn't need to be a limited access, big ol median, four lane monster... but yeah there would still be lots of excavation, grading, and bridges built.
[This message has been edited by gatkinso (edited 01-08-2004).]
Your half right. SOME of the opponents would have agreed. SOME would have continued to spraypaint signs saying no to it and others would continue to whine and complain. Some people don't like growth. I don't blame 'em, its a double edged sword and if they don't stand to gain and/or if their backyard or favorite country store or favorite hunting spot or whatever suffers due to commercialization they wouldn't and shouldn't be happy about it. you can't please everyone.
Do you know the status of the 3,000 new homes that are supposed to be built in the Lost River area? Have any been built?
Also, you state:
>That there will force travels more westward to the housing of CV/Timberline/Davis where it is more closer to the slopes themselves.
Timberline/CV can't absorb many more people. There's very little private land left in the valley that can be developed. One realtor I know has resorted to building homes on the Canaan Loop RD because there is so little property left in CV.
Property demand is really the engine driving Almost Heaven. However, the rumor I keep hearing from multiple sources is that Mr. Bright can't find the venture capital to make this happen. If the Corridor H issue is as dire as you portray it (more pie in the sky than asphalt on the road) then that may explain the reluctance of VC types to jump on Almost Heaven right now. We may have to see more progress on the road before things can heat up at Almost Heaven.
Also, I think the Lost River project is a litmus test for Almost Heaven. If buyers come out in hords to buy these places, it will demonstrate a strong 2d housing demand for a new resort such as Almost Heaven--especially one that offers more than golf and hiking.
[This message has been edited by johnfmh (edited 01-08-2004).]
As for the 3,000 new homes that are supposed to be built, don't look for that figure to happen anytime soon. From what I've heard and seen sales are dragging really bad. The actual area that these homes are to be built, homes already exsist there and it's not really in Lost River. I was doing computer work for various customers up in that area called "Thorn Bottom Road/Mill Gap". Orginially back in the 70's my mom told me that a developer wanted to build a Ski Resort right there in Lost River and progressed as far enough as getting the locals to sell off that entire ridge. But for whatever reason the bottom fell out of that and the developer then turned it into housing with min 10 acre plots. Mind you that was in the 70's and since then most people have built summer homes a good portion to DC'ers. (For those of you interested I've learned this proposed resort back then would have been about a 900-1200 base to summit resort.)
Although alot of those very plots are now being bought by locals whose kids have grown and are building their own homes so really it's going back to local private usage. Just to give you an idea of what one of these devloped areas is like.... I had to do work for a guy from new jersey up there. In order to get to the top of the ridge I had to drive a 1 1/2 lane wide unpaved partially snowplowed road that in some spots became barely wide enough for one car. I almost wrecked my subaru going off the side of that 3 times last year. When I did fix the customers computer and talked to him, he said alot of the people who bought land were selling it because they couldn't tolerate the quality or lack there of of service. I.e. poor road, no plowing, etc.
Also mind you that the wall street millionare that I mentioned before is on top of things using his millions to buy thousands of acres of potentially developed land for the sole purpose of renting it out to farms and to keep it from being developed. I forget at last count the enourmous amount of land acreage wise he now owns all along SR 55 from Moorefield to Wardensville. I do know this gentleman personally from my business work and his desire is to give that land to his children and to keep it in the family for the next several generations to be undeveloped, private property for his family. His land acquisition is far from over and it's not only him, but another weathly farmer in the Hampshire county area is following suit also in buying large farm fields, mountain ridges, and so forth with the sole mindset of stopping housing development. I don't forsee any sort of major housing developments at all happening inside of Hardy County (not counting Ashton Woods) in the longterm future. At least none immediately off of SR 55/CH/SR259. This might also explain why that land sales in Lost River are such a sputtering problem. Getting to that area is difficult at times with less than adequiate road conditions.
You bring up a good point when it comes to "Almost Heaven" being built based on current situations. I don't think the Corridor H situation is *that* dire, but it is far from being a solid reality that we will see within less than 10 years. At the moment by the ruling of the court each section of the highway must be justifiable in it's reasons before being built, before getting funding (if funding is available) and so forth. So rather than DOH saying we want to build this one highway, they now have to constantly justify specifically reasons for each segment which means money can only get appropriated for one segment at a time. That of course then is dependent on transportation spending alloted out of congress and so forth. The reality is that the section to Foreman will probably be finished by 2006/2007 if contracts are awarded this summer. The other areas from Foreman to Davis are still very hotly contested regarding civil war property, landmarks, endangered species along with the quality of the current roads not being as bad as old SR 55 is on the mountain. I believe based on everything I have heard that Foreman -> Davis isn't going to happen before 2012 at the earliest. So that really leaves travelers with one of two options. Get off at East Moorefield as they do now and go the normal routes, or ride the highway to Foreman, get off and travel a county road 5 about 5 miles south to SR 42 and then either continue to Petersburg or turn around and head back north towards Scherr. You can see the map that I'm referring too here: http://www.wvcorridorh.com/route/lrgmap.html If CH stops in Foreman that will leave travlers with a huge out of the way way to go to get back going towards the CV area.
If this remains the case for the foreseable future which it looks to be, then if Bill Bright is waiting on CH and land development to draw interest for Almost Heaven, then he may be in trouble. If I was someone in his shoes facing this situation, maybe one of the best things he could consider is focusing drawing home owners from CV/Timberline resorts right to his resort. As per the discussions of Timberlines sub-par management that may not be too hard to accomplish by Bill considering if he opens a true, massive behemonth of a resort with powder softer than clouds.
[This message has been edited by bawalker (edited 01-08-2004).]
That's interesting. Thanks for the insights.
Regarding your view that Bright could build his empire on the backs of Timberline/CV business. Here's some numbers that may depress you. Last year, Timberline and the Canaan Valley, combined, did less than 130,000 visits. Snowshoe, by comparison, did over 450,000 visits. 7 Springs did even MORE business. 7 Springs and Snowshoe, btw, are two of the most successful resorts in the United States in terms of positive cash flows.
Mr. Bright needs Snowshoe and 7 Springs numbers to justify blowing mountains of snow on 2,000 foot vertical slopes and installing mutiple high-speed, self-loading, detachable, canopied 8-packs. Given the current situation with the new road and the threat of rising interest rates, I doubt venture capitalists will finance this thing in the near future. Hopefully, I am wrong, but I fear the worst.
[This message has been edited by johnfmh (edited 01-08-2004).]
As I've been reading up on Almost Heaven, is there any sort of graphical map that shows it's potential location? A map of the region, county, etc? I'd like to take a look at it and ponder over a few things.
However this would prevent people from building on the land (maybe). If a developer wants it, a developer will get it if he is rich enough and lines the right pockets. Sad but true.
Ted Turner can tell these guys just how well this tactic (doesn't) work.
The court cases for the highway are long over, but the purpose of the land purchases are strictly stave off housing developers. I do know the buyers of land well enough to know that they aren't in it for money, but rather this is their home area. The places they were raised in whose families have several generational ties too so it's much deeper than money.
Everyone does have a price but like I said these land owners have proved to me well enough in knowing them that I don't loose sleep at night expecting to wake up to dozers to developing land. Actually that is a good comfort to me knowing Hardy County won't turn into another overpopulated Loudon Co/Leesburg.
Well, I proclaim here and now that if Gat wins the Megamillions or Powerball then both Almost Heaven AND Tory will be built and connected by a high speed gondola and maybe tap Danny Kass, Alberto Tomba, Picabo Street, and Johnny Mosely to design some trails and the terrain park.
As far as roads go well I would try to improve those be why do you need a road when there would be train and shuttle service, not to mention tons of chartered buses along with an airport? Yeah it is time to think big 1) finally bring some jobs to the place and 2) insure that a nature resort economy takes hold rather than some coal company coming along and removing the top of Brierpatch or something else equally hideous.
So, right there we have a 135,000,000:1 chance of seeing a skiing mecca in WV being built.