Corridor-H open by mid-summer.
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bawalker
April 7, 2006
Member since 12/1/2003 🔗
1,547 posts
I wanted post the latest news that I found out this past week. The local newspaper in this county reported that C.J. Mahan has resumed pouring concrete on the deck the McCauley bridges. According to the contractors plans, if they continue to remain on the job and the weather permits, they will have the bridges completely by a July timeframe. While the bridges will be road-worthy to drive on, landscaping under and around the bridges will continue until mid-October of this year.

With that being said, I did notice heavy equipment was moved back to the Entrance/Exit ramps of the Wardensville intersection just 2 miles west of the Wardensville town limits. The temporary roadway has been roughly sculpted out of the dirt mountains (until the Wardensville to VA section is finished at which time bridges will replace this ramp) that just needs basic grading, graveling, and paving.

Things are shaping up that maybe... just maybe... the road will be open after two years of delays for the upcoming ski season. I expect to have pictures sometime this week or next week, weather permitting.
jb714
April 7, 2006
Member since 03/4/2003 🔗
294 posts
Sorry if I seem dense in asking this question, because I know that Corridor 'H' has been an active topic in the past - but does your post mean that the highway will be 100% complete by Oct; or simply that a certain section will be complete?
camp
April 7, 2006
Member since 01/30/2005 🔗
592 posts
Quote:

simply that a certain section will be complete?


Only a certain section. It's certainly possible (likely) that it will never be 100% complete. But this current section should do plenty for the dash to Canaan.
bawalker
April 7, 2006
Member since 12/1/2003 🔗
1,547 posts
This would just be in regards to the Wardensville to Baker section of the highway. This would make traveling time from Wardensville to Moorefield be approximately 20-25 minutes. Thus allowing for a faster trip from the northern Virginia area.

As camp stated, I fully believe and have posted before, that I highly doubt Corridor-H will ever fully open. The original intention of the highway was to run from I-66 to I-79 in Buckhannon, but litigation has tied the highway up for decades. Personally I'm an opponent of the fully constructed highway, but do see a need for improved roads in places such as Moorefield. Don't expect Virginia to allow CorridorH to connect to any highways there in the next 20 years. Nor expect the litigation to lighten up over areas of CorridorH that could potential harm civil war battlefields and other historic sites.

If anything, my best guess is that CorridorH will only go from Wardensville to Davis before it's highly segmented or never finished.
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Tucker
April 8, 2006
Member since 03/14/2005 🔗
893 posts
If the Wardensville to Baker section is completed how much faster would that make the trip from Northern Virginia(Dc area) to Canaan Valley? What would be the total driving time?
Roger Z
April 8, 2006
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
2,181 posts
I could see a need for a better road up the Allegheny Front, but in all seriousness, is there any need for an extension of Corridor H past Mount Storm? Route 93 is M-T. Most of the traffic off the power plant heads east or north.
wolverine
April 8, 2006
Member since 08/26/2005 🔗
113 posts
We Virginians have been told there NEVER will be a connection to I-81 in Virginia (no segments/ connections through VA at all). Also 1-68 in Maryland designed to revitalize Cumberland has been a bust (for Cumberland, not for Wisp/ Deep Creek), so talk of an economic boom for rural WVA from H is doubtful. Let me know if anyone has heard anything different about Corridor-H in VA.
tommo
April 8, 2006
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
303 posts
"Never" is a VERY long time. I think if you look at other segments of the Appalachian Highway system, you'll find that similar issues were over come many times. A good example is the New River Bridge - what was a highly contested issue has turned into an icon of West Virgina and a significant tourist attraction. Completion through the Lost River section is another example of significant challenges overcome to build a modern highway.

Given current funding, the highway looks to be complete from Wardensville to Bismark within 5 years. Elkins to Parsons will follow within 10. I say this because that section of 219 is a terrible, dangerous road with grades and sightlines similar to the way 55 was prior to CH in Hardy County. Also, it connects a county seat into the road system to the west and I79. Safety issues, if nothing else, will lead to that section being completed.

That leaves 3 sections: Bismark-Davis, Davis-Parsons, and Wardensville-Va. Bismark Davis is a no brainer. Costs will be relatively low and impacts minimal as there are no significant ridges to cross and much of the area is abandoned mine sites. The biggest obstacle there is probably the Stoney river, which will require a single bridge less challenging than several already completed in the Moorefield area. Wardensville to VA line will be built when Wardensville residents get tired of the town being tied up with traffic and the eastern access to I81 becomes a constant site of accidents and backups. Connecting to 81 itself, and thus starting the process for CH to become I-66 will take a while, because there is no compelling reason for VA to take this on. However, watch the design in that area when the 81 corridor project gets underway and see what is done for the 55 westbound interchange. Good chance it will be graded for interstate/interstate access with a mile or two of dual lane, limited access improvements.

This leaves the Parsons/Davis section near the Blackwater canyon as the last segement in a completed highway between I81 and I79 - which will eventually be I66! What happens there will be a while in coming, but I think pressures will increase when it's the sole unbuilt section. Plus, given the ownership and possible development issues surrounding Blackwater Canyon, it's not too hard to envision buidling the road as a way to protect the canyon in a land swap or other arrangement.

Will this all happen soon? Clearly not. Will it happen ever? That's a different question and I think there's many examples that suggest it will ultimately get done. I'm really amazed, actually, at the progress that's been made in the last 7 years - from no road at all to almost 50 miles complete. In the long run, that's a pretty short time.
Rich
April 8, 2006
Member since 11/30/2000 🔗
194 posts
"...when Wardensville residents get tired of the town being tied up with traffic ..."

What? We're the only source of income for that town. Ever drive through and look at all the abandoned store fronts and closed gas station. I don't know why they haven't increased their main source of income by adding speed cameras and red-light cameras. Wouldn't hurt them to maybe add a few more red lights on Main St. Without the income from traffic stops, there is no town! Hey, I don't worry - I subtract 5 mph from any speed limit sign within 5 miles either side of town. BTW, the town cops have a reciprocal agreement with the county - they have jurisdiction way outside the city limits - keep that in mind. They've ticketed people way up on top of that mountain on the west side of town.
tommo
April 8, 2006
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
303 posts
They'll just shift enforcement areas onto the new road. Plus, the amount of revenue generated is trivial compared to the cost of the highway. It'd be easy to replace the locally generated revenue with economic development funds tied to the completion of I-66, esp. as Shenandoah Valley economic activity continues to grow (and it is BOOMING now.) You can find many small towns that quickly embraced the idea of a bypass as their opposition to the road met up with the reality of living at a gridlocked highway choke point.
rmcva
April 8, 2006
Member since 01/28/2004 🔗
187 posts

Here's an article from this weekends paper. I know it's pretty lengthy but has some good info:


The InterMountain - April 8, 2006

Could Corridor H Play a Role in Homeland Security?

By JOHN WICKLINE
Staff Writer

As Homeland Security and public safety officials laid out the scenario of millions and millions of Washington, D.C., folks pouring across the West Virginia borders, Weston Mayor Jon Tucci asked a question that he thought was a no-brainer.

"If this isn't a reason to finish Corridor H, then what is?" he thought aloud. More than a few eyebrows arched as the issue was raised, but it was quickly swept aside.

"If you're talking about evacuating 6 million people from Washington, D.C., wouldn't it make sense to have a major highway to do it on?'' Tucci asked.

Corridor H, the controversial and almost legendary link of road connecting Interstate 79 in Weston to Interstate 81 in Strasburg, Va., has seen its fate suffer almost as many twists and turns as the mountainous rural road it seeks to replace.

The road has been built in a piecemeal fashion since the idea first came off the drawing board in the 1960s. Relying mostly on whatever federal funding U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., could funnel into the annual appropriations bill, the road's construction has come in chunks.

Delays often resulted because potential routes would upset habitats of supposedly delicate species of animals or because it would cross a Civil War battlefield, resulting in a return to the drawing board. Bob Rinehart remembers his more youthful days in Randolph County when the first section of the four-lane road was laid between Elkins and Bowden, only to see the project stopped because of a trout stream.

The road was retraced to go through the Kerens area. The sections between Weston and Elkins and between Moorefield and Baker have since been completed.

Funding the project has always been a nightmare, resulting in shorter stretches being built in each phase. Costs for the corridor have sometimes far exceeded the initial estimates because of land acquisition or just going over the rugged terrain. The cost to complete the entire corridor was originally estimated at about $1 billion, and about $800 million has been spent so far.

Labeled one of the 27 worst road projects in America by an organization running a Web site at www.taxpayers.net, Corridor H reportedly will not have the traffic count at any point during the next 20 years to justify a four-lane road in some towns. Critics say the road does not connect any major U.S. cities and goes through towns of less than 10,000 people, causing it to harm traditional "Main Street'' businesses.

Former Appalachian Regional Commission executive director Ralph Widner was critical of the roadway's need because of its parallel and proximity to Interstate 68, formerly known as Corridor E.

The project was shelved in the 1970s because of environmental issues, but was revived in the 1990s when Byrd chaired the Senate Appropriations Committee. It has found its way to the forefront again because of lessons learned in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and because of a new-found emphasis on homeland security.

"It was a 100-mile parking lot on the interstate,'' West Virginia Delegate Bill Hartman, D-37th District, said. "Corridor H would give you another avenue out of the Washington, D.C./Baltimore metropolitan area.''

President Bush last fall signed into law a Byrd bill which requires the federal government to partner with West Virginia and local governments on emergency evacuation plans for the nation's capital.

"Corridor H is needed now more than ever,'' Byrd said. "Looking at it geographically, there is no question that a finished Corridor H would be a major part of any Capital-area evacuation plan. If a disaster were to strike the nation's capital, sparking an evacuation like we saw in New Orleans, Corridor H could help to significantly reduce the burden on an already overtaxed system of roads and highways.''

Upshur County Administrator Willie Parker said these discussions should force Corridor H to be built "sooner than later,'' adding that the road should be prioritized as being urgent.

"If our nation's capital would ever be involved in a disaster, they are going to need every means possible for evacuation,'' added Lewis County Commissioner Bob Conley, who was also involved in discussion during his tenure in the state's House of Delegates. "I think there would also be a military value for Corridor H for the same reasons as President (Dwight) Eisenhower proposed the interstate highway program. You need a way to move troops and equipment because you never know what is going to happen, when or where. We can't go on with the same kinds of roads we had in the '30s, '40s or '50s.''

The critical need for infrastructure was emphasized last month during a Summit on Homeland Security, sponsored by U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., at the Stonewall Resort in Lewis County.

"Sen. Rockefeller has long been a supporter of improving Corridor H because it will mean greater economic impact and more jobs for the Mountain State,'' said Stuart Chapman, the senator's press secretary. "With more and more people talking about how West Virginia would play a significant role in a possible D.C. evacuation, it's more important than ever that work on Corridor H be completed.''

These same issues, however, are not being received as well in the bordering state of Virginia. Officials there have been reluctant to complete their small portion of the four-lane highway, fearing an increase in tractor-trailer traffic who result in more traffic accidents. Residents fought an upgrade to the 14-mile stretch of Virginia Route 55, and until that road is turned into a four-lane highway, the final 6.8-mile West Virginia stretch from Wardensville to the state line cannot be completed barring a Congressional mandate.

"If there is anything that riles you about the highway, it's Virginia's attitude about it,'' Rinehart said. "They don't want it.''

But Hartman believes that attitude will change once residents in Virginia see the positive changes brought about across the border.

"Prosperity has always followed transportation,'' he said. "I have always said that when the West Virginia portion is finished, the citizens of Virginia will demand theirs.''

Tucci said he would like to see the mayors of towns such as Weston, Elkins and Moorefield which are along the corridor route band together to force the issue. He predicted there could be as much as a billion dollar improvement to local economies spread across the route.

"That's another reason why we want it finished,'' he said. "Once this project was started in the '60s, there should have been a plan on how to finish it. It's a shame because there is so much potential.''
Rich
April 8, 2006
Member since 11/30/2000 🔗
194 posts
LOL That was funny:

Byrd said. "Looking at it geographically, there is no question that a finished Corridor H would be a major part of any Capital-area evacuation plan.

Do you suppose that means setting the light in Wardonsville to green during a DC evacuation through town??? LOL
Corridor-H = Byrds little heaven of pork-barrel spending!
tommo
April 8, 2006
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
303 posts
Very interesting article; I've pretty much concluded that VA will come around as the I-81 corridor improvement project gets underway, and the "homeland security" angle certainly dovetails into that calculation. The way this works out, at least as I see it, is that the I-81 expansion is expected to take at least 20 years. During that time, traffice counts will continue to build on 81 and, combined with the construction delays, will result a sharp increase in accidents, delays and congestion. As this progresses, it will be clear that by simply improving the 14 mile segment of 55 between 66 and CH, a signficant amount of interstate (read TRUCK) traffic can be rerouted to the west of construction zones. I can easily see $$ getting diverted from the planned I-73 project - expected to cost 1.2B in current dollars - across south central VA (which does absolutely nothing for VA interests) to improve the existing 55 right of way to at least a 4 lane divided highway. I also suspect that VA isn't so much against the improvements as they are against spending State revenues on it. That is similar to the I-73 situation and can be overcome by full federal funding. Another example of how these things play out can be found by looking a bit south at I-64. In that case, VA took on a much, much longer stretch of new construction through difficult terrain, and yet today there aren't too many that say it shouldn't have been completed west from 81. In fact, you could make a good case that the strength of the 81 corridor as well as the Beckley and Charleston economy is directly related to the completion of that link. The issues raised in this article could be a way to build justification for just such a scenario on the very short US 55 segment.
bawalker
April 8, 2006
Member since 12/1/2003 🔗
1,547 posts
It's interesting in regards to that newspaper article, although after reading it and re-reading it I get the feeling that there was a lot of overhyped statements and assumptions. Rich is right, Corridor-H is one of Byrds pork barrelling projects of which seem to never end. I guarantee you that as much as I'm a snowloving human being, the moment Byrd dies or is ousted from office, Corridor-H will be dead in it's tracks.

The sentiment among the locals who live in these areas is that Byrd is the king of glutton and people are getting tired of seeing his ceasar like self enshrinements bearing his name everywhere residents go. Part of what our group, The Lost River Committee (www.savelostriver.org) is doing is fighting the trail of money that local politicians are using to build dams... which goes right back to Byrds desk. While I'm not against moderated and controlled growth, Bryd is going beyond that. He really is raping WV for his own personal pleasure. I'll cheer the day Byrd is gone.

Anyway back to the article listed above. First off Corridor-H is no longer planned to connect with either I-66 or I-81. These plans were altered in the early to mid 90's as a way for WV to push a reason to get the highway built. The fact that Corridor-H will never be an interstate is seen in the fact that the construction of the highway is not of interstate grade. An interstate is a controlled access highway which means the only way on or off is through designated exit/entrance ramps. With Corridor-H there are a few of these "official" ramps, but there are plenty of uncontrolled access points to the highway where farm roads, driveways, other county roads intersect the highway. If Corridor-H was to be turned into an extension of I-66, then this highway would have to see probably a billion dollars worth of changes to make it strictly a controlled access highway.

The last time I checked maps, the proposed route for Corridor-H (now officially designated as US-48) was to veer south/south-west when crossing the VA border and go down towards Front Royal and further south. To my best knowledge there are no longer any plans to make this a direct link for commuters leaving DC. Sorry, but that isn't going to happen. Virginia's opposition has guaranteed that'll never happen. Plus as long as Rep. Wolfe is in the Virginia Congress, he'll personally see to it that the highway isn't finished.

Ironically, our local paper the Moorefield Examiner ran an article regarding the potential flood of northern Virginian's and DCer's leaving the area if a terrorist attack was to happen. The paper really was laughable at our local politicians attempts to make it look like a million or more folks from DC would come right straight to Hardy County. The local leaders interviewed in the paper were literally scared to death an attack would happened and gave the appearance they were running around like chickens with their heads cut off in order to justify spending money to turn local schools into refugee camps (that was actually stated!) and turn fields into campgrounds etc.

I'm sorry but realistically, we'd see a few thousand tops come through this area if an attack was to happen. Our county has no means of support for more than a few thousand people, and besides, many of the DC yuppies won't come here because we have nothing that DC offers.

If any person with a level head looks at an attack on DC and millions escaping, I fully believe the evacuation will be easier than hurricane riddled places like Miami or New Orleans. Mainly because there are numerous escape routes leading out from DC in all directions. 95 South, 95 North, 66 East, 270/70 East, Rt7 East, US 17, etc. If an attack ever did happen, the immediate 2-3 hour drive from DC would provide more than ample cushioning for the evacuees. Winchester and the Shenandoah Valley would see an influx, but that'd really be about the end of it. I honestly don't for see people driving like maniacs towards Elkins just to get away. In reality it would take a vast nuclear attack on the DC area to generate THAT much of an evacuation.

I did want to do an in-line comment of the other post too...

Quote:

"Never" is a VERY long time. I think if you look at other segments of the Appalachian Highway system, you'll find that similar issues were over come many times. A good example is the New River Bridge - what was a highly contested issue has turned into an icon of West Virgina and a significant tourist attraction. Completion through the Lost River section is another example of significant challenges overcome to build a modern highway.




This really doesn't actually prove anything other than if something is pushed, it can be overcome. Good or bad. Based on living here, I would lean more towards "Not in this lifetime..."


Quote:

Given current funding, the highway looks to be complete from Wardensville to Bismark within 5 years. Elkins to Parsons will follow within 10. I say this because that section of 219 is a terrible, dangerous road with grades and sightlines similar to the way 55 was prior to CH in Hardy County. Also, it connects a county seat into the road system to the west and I79. Safety issues, if nothing else, will lead to that section being completed.




Having Wardensville to Bismark open in 5 years is a far out stretch. Right now the only section that is under real construction is Moorefield to Foreman, and they barely was able to start that project because of financial woes in the state. At one point I had heard that others in Congress were vastly upset at Byrd and money wasn't getting appropriated fast enough to do construction. I've never verified that, so I'll take it as a rumor for now.

The section you are mentioning, Kerens to Parson, is on hold until 2011 at the earliest due to not having funds. This ties into what I said above, if Byrd dies or someone ousts him, forget seeing that built. WV's politicians do not have as much clout with federal funds as Byrd does.


Quote:

That leaves 3 sections: Bismark-Davis, Davis-Parsons, and Wardensville-Va. Bismark Davis is a no brainer. Costs will be relatively low and impacts minimal as there are no significant ridges to cross and much of the area is abandoned mine sites...




Parsons to Bismark is the most hotly contested areas of the entire project. Right now these areas are on hold due to funding AND due to redesign because intial estimates of how much soil would be moved were vastly underestimated. Plus people in that area are over 95% opposed to the highway due to it's potential interferrence with the Blackwater River, civil war battlegrounds, and it's possible intersection with the national forrests out that way. That is where the most litigation is going on right now, and based on those that I've talked with in the last year, I don't see that section ever being built.

Also since it was mentioned that a trout stream held up part of the other parts of the highway, do take note that the Parson's to Davis section is tenatively on hold for an indefinate amount of time due to the WV Flying Squirrel being found in that area.

Quote:

...Wardensville to VA line will be built when Wardensville residents get tired of the town being tied up with traffic and the eastern access to I81 becomes a constant site of accidents and backups. Connecting to 81 itself, and thus starting the process for CH to become I-66 will take a while, because there is no compelling reason for VA to take this on.




This isn't a decision Wardensville can make. When a settlement was reached with the Corridor-h Alternatives group in 1999, the courts mandated that Corridor-H must be stopped within 4 miles of the WV/VA border due to VA's opposition to the project. If WV was to build the highway closer than 4 miles, VA has the right to sue WV for violation of the settlement agreement. As was mentioned above, it would take a congressional mandate for that segment to be built. Like it or not, for the next 15 years at least, all traffic will funnel through Wardensville.

As I mentioned above, connecting Corridor-H to I-66 as an extension won't happen. As for connecting with I-81 further south, maybe, but VA isn't going to spend money on a project they deem as worthless when their time and effort is spent on 81 and 95 upgrades.
The Colonel - DCSki Supporter
April 8, 2006
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
3,097 posts
I believe Corridaor H will eventually be finished, and probably within my lifetime (and I am 65). And I believe the VA portion will be done also. As for upgrading the highway to interstate standards, it can be done fairly easily, which will irritate those who have to go longer distanmces to get from one side of the interstate to the other.
As for Senator Byrd being defeated...only if he dies or is too ill to continue (and I am not sure about that). While I am sure there are those in WV who are irritated by some of the construction, etc. he has brought to the state, the overall good for WV and the WV economy is obvious. Have you ever noticed that every WV town seems to have a new Post Office, etc. all of which mean jobs for West Virginians.
Relative the VA part of CH, I have heard RUMORS that the real problem, other than a lack of money, is that many in VA are still mad as hell that I64 from VA to WV had to be constructed south of the VA I64 portion from I81 to the coast...and I have heard that this was because of WV decisions at the time the interstates were being planned and built. Think of it, had I 64 through WV been further north, then the routes to all the ski resorts, the Greenbrier, etc. would be far more accessable to the big markets in DC and Baltimore.
And another thing: Were Corridor H finished to VA I81, it would open up the VA Inland Port near Front Royal to a lot more of the commerce in WV.
My 2 cents worth: build it and we will come...hopefully not as a result of a disaster.
And lastly, the quoted newspaper article indicated that Sen. Rockefeller of WV is also a strong supporter of Corridor H, so hopefully he can keep the cash flowing should Sen. Byrd not be around. And I give the politicians credit for an interesting angle to get the road finished soonest...the scenario of a disaster evacuation from Washington required real imagination, which usually is successful.
The Colonel
Swimmer
April 8, 2006
Member since 02/3/2005 🔗
143 posts
I apologize for my earlier post. The ramblings were not pertinent to the topic at hand. I know return to my sideline position.
jimmy
April 8, 2006
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
2,650 posts
AW Steve, I'm trying to quote your deleted post?? please put it back. Corridor H/Homeland Security was on the table for discussion. Your conversation w/EMS Preston County is pertinant, i can't spell today. Camp Dawson in Kingwood, Preston County WV hosted several hundred Katrina Evacueess, i can't spell today. That's 1500 miles away from New Orleans, how far is the District, 250? You bet you folks have to be prepared to go somewhere, remote possibility maybe but still? VA, PA, MD and WV need to be prepared to move them through and out of danger, cheaper to remove the bottle necks from the outside inbound.
tgd
April 8, 2006
Member since 07/15/2004 🔗
585 posts
Quote:

If the Wardensville to Baker section is completed how much faster would that make the trip from Northern Virginia(Dc area) to Canaan Valley? What would be the total driving time?




I didn't see anyone answer this question. Presently I can reliably get to Canaan Valley from my home in the middle of Fairfax in about 3:15 traffic permitting. I believe the distance between the easternmost end of Corridor H and Wardensville is about 9 miles. My optimistic guess would be that opening the section through to Wardensville will cut 5 minutes out of the total trip time - so it will improve travel time for me to around 3:10. A perhaps bigger upside is that the part of Route 55 that the new section replaces is the worst stretch of twisty-turny up-down classic WVA 2-lane on the trip.

Tom
fb
April 8, 2006
Member since 03/16/2006 🔗
68 posts
I just 'escaped DC' to NC, couldnt take the chaos of daily living there anymore. Every day around the metro area traffic is dysfunctional and the highways 95, 66, etc. become permanent parking lots as traffic grinds to a halt. I can only imagine what chaos will ensue when there is a mass panic/exodus in DC, as it will happen. I agree with others in that the politicians are very creative in imagining that millions will pour into wv via ch even if it were completed.
sad but true, several wabasso homeowners(sshoe)from the dc area refer to our homes as 'the bombshelter/fallout shelter' after 9/11. one of the owners said his neighbors in DC started inquiring about shoe property with this being a primary reason for ownership.
tommo
April 8, 2006
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
303 posts
Brad, I appreciate that you may personnally oppose the highway. But I think you need to reexamine some of the "facts" that you are presenting here. From the bottom:

1. The settlement agreement states that the Wardensville to VA line segment cannot be built unless a) Virginia has upgraded its portion of 55 to dual lane highway or, b) twenty years has passed. By my math, that means that in 14 years the settlement agreement permits work to begin. That is both consistent with the timeline for completion of all but 1 other section and MUCH sooner than "never."

2) The Kerens/Parson section is on hold until 2011, when the sections currently being worked are scheduled for completion. That is, again by my math, 5 years from now. About same as the difference between 2001 and today. That allows 5 years by the estimates I gave for the section to be completed. Again, that is a whole lot sooner than "never." And I certainly hope that it is well within your lifetime ;-)

3) Parsons to Bismark is NOT the hotly contested section; That would be Parsons to Davis. The Davis-Bismark section is not being seriously contested by any group of which I am aware (WVHC, Sierra Club, etc...) and will help serve the coal mines that feed the Mt. Storm power station. The power station, btw, is a VERY important part of the mid atlantic grid, producing 1,600 Mwatts of power, and transportation upgrades to support it are a legitamate critical infrastructure need. Taken together, that is why design is nearly complete on that section with construction slated to start in 2 years (MUCH sooner than never...)

4) I don't see why Wardensville to Bismark by 2012 is such a stretch. By your own posting, Wardensville to Moorefield will be complete later this year. Construction west of Moorefield to Foreman is presently underway, and the Foreman-Bismark section should go to contract next year. Certainly delays could push things a year or so, but with only two major grades, is sure seems likely that around 2012 or 2013 it will be open to traffic.

5) I agree that, today, VA doesn't see much value in improving the 14 miles from the state line to I-81. But, as we all know, things change. And I believe that, once the rest of the road is complete, VA will use mostly Federal funds to improve RT55 as way of mitagating the situation on I-81. If you read the proposals that are going forward with the I-81 Corridor Improvement project, we can expect at least 20 years of major construction impacts. Given that the 81 corridor is one of the most important north/south routes in the eastern part of the country, there will be heavy incentive to exploit any and all alternatives, and improving the short stretch of 55 will be a very low cost way to reroute a great deal of traffic.

My main point remains that "never" is, indeed, a VERY long time. Remember, the entire Interstate highway system, nationwide, has been built in the last 65 years. So, while these things take a while, they do get done. And, in the larger scheme, an extra 2 or 3 or even 10 years is very different than "never." A major key to West Virginia's economic future is improved transportation and communications infrastructure. The changes wrought by I-79 and US 19 have been enourmous, and I believe it is no coincidence that the poorest areas of the state reamin the most isolated.

Whether Sen. Byrd is to cheer or blame for that is a matter of personal opinion, but you might want to consider what things would be like in the state if he had NOT been as successful as he has in moving Federal jobs and dollars westward. As to the low dams being built in Hardy county, I certainly can understand that you don't want development in your area, but it doesn't seem Byrd is "raping WV for his personal pleasure." To the contrary, is seems like he has been very effective at nudging the economy away from extremely destructive natural resource extraction and exploitation to a much more modern and sustainable economy. Would you rather have a mtn top removal coal mine in your back yard and the lost river buried in mine tipple??? Heck, most states would give damn near anything to have the new manufacturing (Toyota, for example)and federal data centers (FBI, HUD, IRS, Coast Guard, DHS) that have recently opened in WV.
Swimmer
April 10, 2006
Member since 02/3/2005 🔗
143 posts
I rambled for a bit in my earlier post. The jest of it was my belief that I feel it's fool hardy to assume people would not flood as far west as fast as they can should the need to leave DC in a hurry, especially using the assumption that since WV doesn't have the amenities that the people of DC have come to expect.

But then I sat here for a bit and pondered, "what would it take for the "get the fugg out of here" order to be handed down by the government....After all, on 9/11 a jet liner loaded with fuel crashed into the Pentagon, rumors of another plane on it's way, no knowledge of how many other planes were coming in and the government mumbled nothing about getting out of town.

Perhaps complacency was in affect then, the people of this fine city not concerned with chem/bio/radiological weapons. aka: WMD's. Now that there has been sufficient hype about the things that could be loaded into planes and delivered..maybe that would change how we do business next time.

However...we still have not seen weapon development of these terrorist cells that could cause city wide destruction. We have learned that biological attacks are usually burned up in the device used to deliver them...otherwords..the plane explosion burns up the buggies. Widespread chemical attack is difficult to deliver. They can do great damage through the metro cars and places like that but to cause a city evacuation? I have my doubts.

The terrorists have not shown an ability to gather a large amount of effective delivery devices that are capable of shutting down DC. Sure, they can really rain on our parade and people will get out of town, if only for a few days (I'd send my wife/kids for the hills) but I don't know if a city/council of government wide (DC, Fairfax, Arlington, PG, Montgomery etc) exodus would take place.

Pure speculation of course. I do believe we need to take precautions now though to be ready should something like that happen. This world is an ever changing place and after reading about the US considering air targets to bomb in Iran to deter them from joining the nuclear arms race it makes me think that you never know what tomorrow will bring.

So while I don't support the idea of building ski resorts willy nilly, I'm not a fan of sprawl or unchecked urban growth, I may be able to find myself supporting the concept of mobility to preserve safety. Not unlike Interstates being designed to land planes during WWII. always good to have a back up plan.

Steve
GGNagy
April 10, 2006
Member since 01/5/2006 🔗
445 posts
Just to add an additional factiod, in case of a "class 2" emergency, Department of Labor high muckity mucks get to head for an "undisclosed location" in WV that may or may not have the name of a certain labor related court decision in it's town name. The same muckity mucks are planning a test run this week and planning a 6 hr bus ride each way.
Wait til they all get there and try to use their blackberries for email. muhahahahahahahahaha.

I'm sure other Departments have emergency sites located in the WV interior.
Rich
April 10, 2006
Member since 11/30/2000 🔗
194 posts
"Wait til they all get there and try to use their blackberries for email. muhahahahahahahahaha."

They'll work - Bush will turn off the Green Bank Domestic Eavesdropping Antenna while they're there!
bawalker
April 10, 2006
Member since 12/1/2003 🔗
1,547 posts
Quote:

1. The settlement agreement states that the Wardensville to VA line segment cannot be built unless a) Virginia has upgraded its portion of 55 to dual lane highway or, b) twenty years has passed. By my math, that means that in 14 years the settlement agreement permits work to begin. That is both consistent with the timeline for completion of all but 1 other section and MUCH sooner than "never."




Actually the agreement of upgrading 55 to two lanes and the the 20 years part of the agreement still depend on Virginia's cooperation as well as the demand for that segment of highway being built by having the current traffic figures at that time meeting pre-set figures to justify the expense of extending the highway. Thats why each summer I see the WV-DOT doing traffic counting on both sides of Wardensville as well as on Rt 259 and Rt 55.

I had spoke with someone in one of the leading opposition groups several times and while there stands a chance that it *could* happen, the big key is whether enough traffic can justify pushing it forward. The opposition group felt that if they could keep the highway from connecting to VA and connecting to Elkins, it would be like cutting the head off a snake (that was their own words) and make it in affect, a overpriced intercounty connector. I can't remember what the magic number was, but I do know that only 2000 or less vehicles traffic the current 55 per day and I'm just guestimating that was in the 15,000-20,000+ range. Never is a long time if the figures don't meet the requirements and VA still holds opposition to it.

Actually articles have been done in the Winchester Star news paper and nearly every single resident in the Strasburg area to the VA border is entirely opposed to it. While many people on here try to look at a larger picture of assumptions (more industry, etc.) the people who actually live and work in the area oppose it because they feel there is no need for it. Why? Because they work and do business with areas east of the I-81 corridor which is better place for earning a living, growing businesses, etc. To them, they see nothing but lower income and lower standards of living west of the VA border.


Quote:

2) The Kerens/Parson section is on hold until 2011, when the sections currently being worked are scheduled for completion. That is, again by my math, 5 years from now. About same as the difference between 2001 and today. That allows 5 years by the estimates I gave for the section to be completed. Again, that is a whole lot sooner than "never." And I certainly hope that it is well within your lifetime ;-)




Currently with this section being on hold due to funding, the one opposition group I spoke with, is actually in the full throws of litigation due to how close the highway is coming if not clipping part of the Otter Creek Wilderness area. While this section would probably get built before the Wardensville/VA section does, the goal with the litigation is to stall as long as possible till Byrd dies or enough people in the senate get pissed off at WV's pork. Again that comes from the mouth of someone I spoke with. Plus obviously if litigation wins in court, then that just benefits the opposition better yet.


Quote:

3) Parsons to Bismark is NOT the hotly contested section; That would be Parsons to Davis. The Davis-Bismark section is not being seriously contested by any group of which I am aware (WVHC, Sierra Club, etc...) and will help serve the coal mines that feed the Mt. Storm power station. The power station, btw, is a VERY important part of the mid atlantic grid, producing 1,600 Mwatts of power, and transportation upgrades to support it are a legitamate critical infrastructure need. Taken together, that is why design is nearly complete on that section with construction slated to start in 2 years (MUCH sooner than never...)




Actually it is because its not a Parsons to Bismark section, it's Parson's to Davis (contested) and Davis to Bismark which is less contested. Because of the discovery of the WV Flying Squirrel. Per WV's own comments is that this section isn't even close to final design and probably won't be until around 2012 with 2015 slated for construction if the funds are available and an alternate route can be found.


Quote:

5) I agree that, today, VA doesn't see much value in improving the 14 miles from the state line to I-81. But, as we all know, things change. And I believe that, once the rest of the road is complete, VA will use mostly Federal funds to improve RT55 as way of mitagating the situation on I-81. If you read the proposals that are going forward with the I-81 Corridor Improvement project, we can expect at least 20 years of major construction impacts. Given that the 81 corridor is one of the most important north/south routes in the eastern part of the country, there will be heavy incentive to exploit any and all alternatives, and improving the short stretch of 55 will be a very low cost way to reroute a great deal of traffic.




I am very familiar with the I-81 proposed changes, especially from the Martinsburg, WV area to around the Harrisonburg, VA areas as I do live in this section and travel it often. 20 years worth of construction is completely viable, of course that is from the start date whenever construction does get started. I honestly don't forsee that happening until 2010 at the earliest due to ongoing studies and VDOT issues with the cities of Winchester and Harrisonburg.

Ever since Clinton signed NAFTA(?) into affect back in the 90's, the I-81 corridor has become more heavily traveled with truck traffic upto 43% of all estimated traffic that travels I-81. However again, based on my own observations from living in this area, the only trucks that travel the Rt 55 road are local businesses who truck out their goods. For example the Loudon Hieghts Fuel company (mulch company in Baker) trucks out numerous 18 wheelers worth of mulch per week. When it comes to the chicken business in Moorefield, those trucks actually head south on Rt 259 towards Mathias, Bergton, Broadway/Timberville, and Harrisonburg, NOT towards Wardensville. This is the route that has sustained the most truck traffic in past years and what helped push the Moorfield to Baker to get completed first.

Anyway I deviated off topic there for a moment, but getting back to what I started to say earlier is that while I-81 will get a major upgrade which means more traffic on it and more commerce happening around it, that still will not justify VA to make Rt 55 a 4 lane highway. Again, there isn't anything in Hardy, Grant, Tucker, or Randolph counties to make them want to build it. They obviously aren't going to build it and just assume industry will magically appear in years to come. If they ever did build it, it would only happen if it was a direct interstate link westward. That would be the only reason.


Quote:

My main point remains that "never" is, indeed, a VERY long time. Remember, the entire Interstate highway system, nationwide, has been built in the last 65 years. So, while these things take a while, they do get done. And, in the larger scheme, an extra 2 or 3 or even 10 years is very different than "never." A major key to West Virginia's economic future is improved transportation and communications infrastructure. The changes wrought by I-79 and US 19 have been enourmous, and I believe it is no coincidence that the poorest areas of the state reamin the most isolated.




True, and the purpose of the interstate highway system via the Eisenhower administration I believe was to connect every state, promote national unitiy and so forth. Currently that goal has been met many times over. Again trying to justify highway construction with the assumption that economic growth and raising the status of living is a much overhyped assumption used to justify the construction of the highway. Currently WV has the pieces of 81, 70, 79, 77, and 64 going in N, W, E, S directions hitting and supplimenting major cities like Martinsburg, Wheeling, Charleson, Parkersburg and Clarksburg. That is a great thing because it allows cities of those sizes to continue to grow and sustain themselves through business and the trafficing of goods.

However that does admittedly leave portions of WV isolated and with a lower level of income than the rest. You know what though? Many of the people in these areas (including where I live) are happy. They have huge anchestrial ties to their land, they enjoy the senic way of life, the slow pace that life takes. They want to live this way. I've also got computer clients in this area who grew up and lived most of their lives in metro DC, NY, up north, etc. Each and everyone of them told me that this area is their favorite for the remote ruralness it provides without seeing a shopping center, major highway, walmart, shopping mall, etc every few miles. All of that goes back to a previous discussion on this forum. The people in this area love life the way it is and don't need to be told that they need a new highway to make their lives better. Let the people decide what they want and need, not outsiders.

While I'm not against highway construction at all, I am against men and women of power using reckless abandonment to pursue something when there is obviously no need for something or their constituents are against it. Thats what I consider failed leadership and abuse of power. Yes I think roads in this area need a major upgrade or overhaul. RogerZ and others have commented on that CorridorH has been going overboard in that there just isn't the traffic to justify the massive expense of construction. Would I be opposed to taking the current 55 and making heavy modifications? Not a bit.
bawalker
April 10, 2006
Member since 12/1/2003 🔗
1,547 posts
Tom, the only change will be your travel time from Wardensville to Moorefield. The rest of the traveling will remain the same. Currently if you take old Rt 55 from Wardensville to Baker that is approximately 15-20 minutes of driving. If you was to take old Rt 55 from Baker to Moorefield this would be about 30-35 minutes of driving time. Currently CorridorH from Baker to Moorefield cuts this down to approximately 14 minutes. By my own 'test driving' on the closed sections of CH, it is going to take around 5-8 minutes to get from Wardensville to Baker.

Your old time would have been something like 45-55 minutes to Moorefield where as your new estimated time is 19-22 minutes. In essence you are saving at least 15 minutes if not upto 30 minutes of travel time.

Quote:

Quote:

If the Wardensville to Baker section is completed how much faster would that make the trip from Northern Virginia(Dc area) to Canaan Valley? What would be the total driving time?




I didn't see anyone answer this question. Presently I can reliably get to Canaan Valley from my home in the middle of Fairfax in about 3:15 traffic permitting. I believe the distance between the easternmost end of Corridor H and Wardensville is about 9 miles. My optimistic guess would be that opening the section through to Wardensville will cut 5 minutes out of the total trip time - so it will improve travel time for me to around 3:10. A perhaps bigger upside is that the part of Route 55 that the new section replaces is the worst stretch of twisty-turny up-down classic WVA 2-lane on the trip.

Tom


tommo
April 10, 2006
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
303 posts
The Settlement states that work can begin on the Wardensvill to VA section when ANY ONE of 4 conditions have been met. Please refer to page 45 and 46 of the Settlement document that is available here: http://www.wvcorridorh.com/resource/mediation.pdf

As you will see, once 20 years has elapsed from Feb. 7, 2000, construction can commence with no other conditions.

Kerens/Parsons will be determined in large measure by the Amended RoD to be issued later this year. Hard to see how coming "close" to Otter Creek Wilderness could derail things.

Glad to see you found your error about Davis/Bismark. Biggest issue there will be dealing with the abandoned strip mines.

I think you're missing the point about the I-81 project; I agree that very little truck traffic wants to go out Rt55 today. But as I81 gets plugged by the construction for a 20 year period, the alternative presented by simply improving the 14 mile stretch of 55 between I-81 and CH at the Virginia line will look like a very smart and low cost way to reroute trucks around the 300 mile construction zone.

I'm not taking issue with the rural way of life or many peoples preference for limiting development. Heck, I wish they'd stop building around here. But the reality is that in our Capitalist system, decisions usually follow the money. So, to believe and promote that CH will NEVER be completed is unrealistic. To the contrary, I believe the facts and the current state of completion strongly suggest that it will be completed from Wardensville to I-79 within 10 - 12 years and tied in to I81 in Virgina by 2021.
johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
April 11, 2006
Member since 07/18/2001 🔗
1,918 posts
Interesting debate (and very civil in the best DCSki tradition). Here's some anecdotal information about my own driving habits, which I suspect are similar to many people who live in DC and Montgomery County, Maryland.

Currently, I still take the Maryland Route even though it is a bit longer time-wise--about 15 minutes. While it costs me some extra time, the route makes up for the loss in terms of amenities. I save some money on clothes by stopping at the outlet mall in Hagerstown. I also enjoy breaking up the trip by bird watching at Fort Frederick, where I have been fortunate to see some amazing birds (a huge flock of Scarlet Tanagers, Wild Turkey, Osprey, a rare Green Heron, etc.). The general lack of switchbacks (except the 4.5 miles up the Allegheny Front) also make the route appealing, as does Wal-Mart in New Creek (sorry to admit it), and the Shop and Save in Davis-the Shop and Save in Moorfield, by comparison, is not as nice.

For those living North of the Potomac, the DC egress and ingress is easier on 270 than 66, especially on Fridays! I now take Corridor H about once in 6 trips just for the sake of variety and to examine the progress (or lack thereof in construction). However, once the new section opens, I may be forced to re-evaluate Corridor H. Saving 20 or more minutes becomes very significant. Also, since I strive to avoid driving the route during rush hours, the I-66 vs. I-270 issue becomes less of an issue, although 66 between Ballston and West Falls Church can get hosed up anytime of the day or night. Finally, there's some hiking in the GW National Forrest along the route, which might make for a fun stop. Has anyone hiked any of the trails near 55 W? Anyone know of any good birding spots along the way??
bawalker
April 11, 2006
Member since 12/1/2003 🔗
1,547 posts
The whole I-81 impact on CorridorH's use is very debateable at best. From my own observations from living here, trucks that head into Virginia are going a few different ways. First the chicken trucks that gather and collect eggs/birds from local chicken houses travel to Broadway's processing plant via CorridorH then 259 South. Any waste material is also processed in Broadway. This is where alot of usage of Corridor H is coming in right now.

Trucks coming from Moorefield/Petersburg areas seem to take either 220 North to Rt 50 West of which they then go down to Rt 37 and finally to I-81. Or the trucks will go across CorridorH into Wardensville and either hit up 259 N to Rt 50 West or Rt 55 to I-81. With the number of trucks that go past my house along Rt 259 here nightly, I'm assuming this is becoming a preferred route for safety reasons.

Anyway I got to thinking last night and pulled up Yahoo maps and spent a good deal of time looking at them. I could see a 'bypass/detour' route if there was a north/south interstate that ran along side I-81 on the WV side of the border. If that was the case then that would make perfect sense for trucks to get off at say Christiansburg, ride up through WV and finally back out on CH or Rt 50 to get on I-81. But if I were a truck driver and got off on US 48 (Corridor H's designation) and went to Davis, WV... where is there to go besides south on 32, down the mountain to Harmon, follow Rt 33 to Harrisonburg and back onto 81? That really doesn't make sense. If anything, US Rt 11 that follows I-81 will become a NIGHTMARE of a road even through towns as the interstate is upgraded. Remind me not to drive through Rt 11 then.

While other portions of CH may be finished, I honestly don't see Virginia putting the time and finances into finishing CH. To Virginia, it's a project they have no interest in, it won't gain them anything business wise nor will it alleviate the many other issues they currently have with roads. Rep. Wolfe, and many others have remained opposed to it for those reasons. My best guestimation is that in 10 years from now at 2016 we'll see a highway that still stops at Wardensville that has a few thousand more vehicles on it per day than what there is now, but the highway will still be underutilized and be mostly used as an intercounty connector of sorts.

Honestly, there isn't much in the Elkins area that will drive people eastward and there isn't much out here that will drive us westward to Elkins. I'm afraid this will turn into what someone else said I-68 turned into. No benefit for the local areas. If anything these local areas may suffer as outsider transplants move in to trailer parks, cheapo housing that realitors setup to make a buck. Since the price of housing here is cheaper than CV or Northern VA, we'll end up getting the troublemakers. It's already slowly starting to happen at the local schools.
bawalker
April 11, 2006
Member since 12/1/2003 🔗
1,547 posts
It's been years since I've done this, but if you pull off at the VA/WV border on top of North Mountain, you can take a trail and follow it. Supposedly it follows the spine of North Mountain south through Hardy County and would bring a person out down towards Mathias and other small towns. Although I am pretty sure someone told me there are numerous forks in it that would deviate off towards Baker. I don't know how true that is or how the condition of the trails are. I do know that there is GeoCaching prizes in that immediate area.

If you are interested in Bird Watching, I would recommend leaving Wardensville on Rt 55 as normal, but at the top of the first ridge (Sandy Ridge), take the left at the top onto the dirt and gravel road called Squirrel Gap Road. It's in the GW national forrest. Anyway you will cross the closed section of CorridorH and proceed up the other side and you can drive upto 11 miles on the dirt and gravel road before coming out on a paved road again near Lost River. But back in there it's quiet, hardly a soul exsists and there are some amazing overlooking views.

Quote:

Finally, there's some hiking in the GW National Forrest along the route, which might make for a fun stop. Has anyone hiked any of the trails near 55 W? Anyone know of any good birding spots along the way??


DWW
April 11, 2006
Member since 03/11/2004 🔗
144 posts
What is that ramp/bridge to nowhere outside of Elkins that you have to go around (is it 219 north going to Davis - I can't remember exactly). That looked to me like a huge waste of money. I assume that the idea is that it will connect to CH eventually?
tommo
April 11, 2006
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
303 posts
No question that the use of CH as part of an 81 detour is highly debateable; perhaps that's why I enjoy debating it


By the timelines I've laid out, I see this as an issue in 2020 and beyond, which will be part way into the anticipated schedule for the I-81 upgrade. The decision, as a driver, would be whether to take I77 to I79 (northbound), and then connecting back to I-66 via CH. The opposite southbound. On a larger scale, if I am driving from Texas, Mexico or Southcentral US, the option would be to take I64 East to 79 to CH. All of these would avoid I81. It also presumes that CH is complete from I79 east to the VA line. Good point, btw, about Route 11. I freqently drive that as a pleasant diversion from 81 when time is not a huge issue and really enjoy all the small towns. That will no doubt change as 81 is impacted by construction.

I agree that, in 2016, CH will probably start at Wardensville and likely have a 12 mile gap between Davis and Parsons. But I also believe that it will be complete from Wardensville to Davis and from I79 to Parsons. Add 4 years to complete that section, and you're right back to my original timeline! Then the pressure will be on VA to upgrade 55 and.....
tommo
April 11, 2006
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
303 posts
The ramp/bridge at Kerens, about 6 miles northeast of Elkins, will be a rt 219 exit and overpass when the Parsons/Kerens section is complete. It was built as part of the Elkins/Kerens section that opened to traffic a couple of years ago.
bawalker
April 11, 2006
Member since 12/1/2003 🔗
1,547 posts
It finally took me a while to find it, but I did. Below is a map created in the late 90's to show projected traffic growth at the yar 2013. In a nutshell it shows current Rt. 259 just north of Wardensville receiving an estimated 1000 vehicles per day. Rt. 55 from Strasburg to Moorefield only shows 2,000 to 5,000 vehicles per day while I-81 is estimated to have over 21,000+ vehicles per day. The only places that show any remote traffic growth are Romney, WV (est 16,000-20,000), New Creek, WV (est 16,000-21,000), and Petersburg, WV (est 11,000-15,000).

With all of the other facts set aside, if I was a person in the WV or national Senates and was looking at this map to help decide on what to do about highway problems, I wouldn't see a need for Corridor H. Rather my first thought would be, how to improve Rt. 50, Rt. 42, Rt 93, and Rt. 219. Which is basically the same route as Corridor H except is about 25-30 miles further north of where it exits into VA.

Personally that makes the most sense, considering that Rt. 522, Rt. 17, Rt. 7, Rt. 50, Rt 37, I-81 are all right there at Winchester which either touch or connect into I-66. After having driven US 50 from Winchester to the Keyser areas and further back, 50 gets far more traffic on it than 55 does, hands down. Even this WV-Dot map shows projected growth happening all along that route.

In reality, the smart idea would have been for WV to widen all of Rt 50 into a 4-lane highway so that it would connect right into the currently completed 4-lane section that exsists from Winchester, VA to Gore, VA. This way Virginia has no requirements to build any highways, rather WV spends all of the money upgrading the exsisting highway that is the foundation for connecting Elkins to VA. That way if an evacuation is ever needed of Northern Virginia, everyone can plow down Rt 50 and Rt 7, flow onto exsisting Rt 50 westward.

In fact I would be very supportive of this idea as it would minimize impact of unneeded construction and demolition of rural areas. The only things that would be required of this would be to put a 4 lane bypass around Romney, WV (or improve mainstreet Romney) and modiifcations to Rt 93/42 outside of Mt. Storm to connect down to Davis. From there continue construction of Corridor H into Elkins.

Honestly that makes much more sense because with a heavily upgraded highway connecting Elkins to VA going this route, you now also have the opporutunity to connect to Oakland, MD, Cumberland, MD, Keyser, WV, and many other more developed heavily populated areas that use that exsisting route to work in Winchester and Northern VA.

With the current Corridor-H, thats why if it does get finished, it won't ever make much of an impact other than to shuttle yuppies back and forth from summer homes to winter homes to skiing and such. Economically, CH isn't a viable option as it's done and alot of people around here know that. To residents in this county, it will be nothing more than a way for us to get to Moorefield faster to pay taxes at the courthouse and such. Just another intercounty connector.

WV-DOT MAP
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tgd
April 11, 2006
Member since 07/15/2004 🔗
585 posts
Quote:

While other portions of CH may be finished, I honestly don't see Virginia putting the time and finances into finishing CH. To Virginia, it's a project they have no interest in, it won't gain them anything business wise nor will it alleviate the many other issues they currently have with roads.




Brad, nothing makes much sense the way Virginia builds roads. Virginia has plenty of fine 4-lane roads to nowhere, built elsewhere in VA using NVA tax dollars. Richmond has the nicest beltway. They are even able to shut down 2 lanes or more during rush hour and nobody notices. My point is, never say never regarding Virginia and roads. All it takes is some powerful legislator who wants a superhighway to his brother's chicken farm which just happends to be along Corridor H. Heck they are even going to let us Northern Virginians vote to tax ourselves if we want some nice roads up here too.
tommo
April 11, 2006
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
303 posts
The "original" CH route was, of course, pretty much through the middle of MNF on the current Route 33. The first stage was completed east from Elkins, which is why when you're winding through the mountains towards Elkins, you suddenly find yourself on what appears to be a misplaced stretch of interstate highway. Over time, and wisely in my view, the State figured out that a more northerly route with less impact to the National Forests was more viable. I suppose they didn't go as far north as Route 50 and Hampshire county because the idea was to serve the mountainous middle of the state where the roads are the most challenging. It does seem like linking up to 50 at Gore would make sense if the end goal is just to get to Virginia. However, if you take a really long view, the idea of tying directly (or nearly so) into I-66 and getting a full, limited access Interstate Highway that begins at Washington DC and cuts straight across the state to I79 is a powerful plan. Also, the route 50 corridor is quite close to I-68 and therefore less appealing since that road has been complete for about 15 years now.

I don't think local traffic counts are what is looked at for Interstate highway development - for the most part they're irrelevant. It's endpoint and long distance through traffic and overall economic opportunity issues that create the case and ultimately drive the decisions. A somewhat similar situation has been underway with I73 in central virgina: in that case, the road is designed to get people from the upper midwest/Detroit to the Carolina beach areas (no kidding!!). U.S. route 219 in Pennsylvania is following a similar progression. In that case, it is being upgraded to a dual lance, limited access highway in small stages. There are currently several segments underway, with the Myersdale PA to I-68 link at Grantville coming soon. Moving south, the current US 220 alignment as been selected as the Preferred Alternative, with stated plans to connect to CH at Scherr. In time, this will likely become I-67, at least in the eyes of Penn DOT and some PA elected officials. As to the yuppies, well, yeah. That's pretty much econmic nirvana! You get to tax the heck out of people who bought second homes/rental homes (even better) in the state. They pay, in the case of some WV countys, Tucker for example, DOUBLE the resident tax rate, don't send kids to the schools, need no social services, can't vote and spend money when they're in town! What's not to like about that? Heck, check the revenue situation in Garrett County MD to see what a highway does a local economy. There are certainly downsides to this type of development, but the bottom line is that most elections are won or lost on economic considerations. And when local unemployment goes from 15% or 18% to 4 or 5%, many folks believe that their life has improved.
fishnski
April 11, 2006
Member since 03/27/2005 🔗
3,530 posts
DAMB..that would SUCK!!

"thats why if it does get finished, it won't ever make much of an impact other than to shuttle yuppies back and forth from summer homes to winter homes to skiing and such."
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bawalker
April 12, 2006
Member since 12/1/2003 🔗
1,547 posts
If the case is strictly for an interstate highway, then forging ahead with a certain route is a common sense manuever. However I'm stepping back one step before that looking at the viability of having another east/west interstate through an area that should be questioning if an interstate would be truely needed. I say that mainly because as you said, I-68 is fairly new as of a decade or two ago and we also have I-64 to the south going east/west. Even further south I-81 makes a sharp westward turn and turns into I-40 which is a major east/west highway through Tennessee, having *another* east/west road which better serves I-81 than all the others.

Yet peoplare wanting to put in an interstate highway through an area that currently has no ryhme or reason to have one there... other than the assumption of possible economic growth in certain areas along the road? No the terrorist evac route doesn't count as an excuse. heh How long before we (as a nation of money hungry politicians and outsiders) decide it's time for Rt 50 to turn into an interstate because New Creek is too poor? What about Greenbank needing an interstate in 2030 because CH didn't cover that area? Before long once quiet and amazingly peaceful areas are long gone in the name of capitalism and strip malls.

I can't nor won't debate that economic success follows road construction, albeit it at a price. That is a known fact of life that has been proven as Northern VA has expanded westward. However as I have seen before, it appears plans are changing in regards to CH ever connecting up with I-66 at all. I don't want to comment too much on it without finding the maps I once saw. But these maps indicated that if Virginia was to build US-48 (official CH designation) it would swing severely south of I-66 after crossing the WV/VA border. It would follow the current VA Rt 55 to southern Front Royal and then eventually end up down around Warrenton. A far cry from the orginial extension of I-66.

Anyway with that thought in mind, whether it be a rumor or not, puts into question the whole purpose of spending billions on CH if it wouldn't even be an interstate. It really does make Byrd and other politicians look like the fools that they are, but that aside. I do have to disagree with what you said in regards to traffic volumn not dictating with a road goes.

There is so much more behind it than just a politician trying to look good by putting a new road in. In the case of CH, there are so many people in this county that don't want it. They don't want the 'economic success' as defined by the media of the rest of the nation forced down them. They don't want strip malls, walmarts, shopping centers, commercially zoned properties every mile or so. They hate the idea that everyone else knows what is good for them, except them. Amazingly enough what DC and the rest of the world considers 'poverty' for this area and region, is what residents of this region consider peaceful and quiet living.

Each and every person does have an opinion on what should or shouldn't be done, but in the end the only opinion that matters is the person who lives in the path of such a highway or whose life will be impacted by a highway. Every yuppie from here to Vermont and back can act as if they know whats best. Every politican in the House and Senate can act as if they know what is best, but really, it's the residents of this area in particular who truely know what is best by wanting to continue living the way of life they have now. Sometimes when it comes to a person being a true leader of men and women(notice I didn't say politician), they just have to go against popular peer pressure and just say no. If Byrd or any WV politician was a true leader of people, they would have said no to the current project and at least been more fisically responsible and less devistating with their wielding of power.

Getting off on another topic, you mentioned having Rt 50 upgraded to an interstate grade road was too close to I-68 that it would be ineffective. As of Feb 2006, various news sites are reporting that WV-DOT is in discussion with M-DOT of Maryland to look for potential routes of a proposed I-67 interstate to connect CH to I-68. One of the proposed routes is US 220 through Keyser and down to Moorefield. Common sense tells me that if this has been in the works as has been stated by the news, having Rt 50 upgraded to interstate form would have been the most cost affective solution for both.
wvrocks
April 12, 2006
Member since 11/9/2004 🔗
262 posts
Quote:

having Rt 50 upgraded to interstate form would have been the most cost affective solution for both.




Just my thoughts here:

If you think CH has a lot of opponents consider what an uproar would be created by "upgrading" RT 50 along its current route in WV to an interstate highway. To upgrade the road to that level of service you are basically talking about the relocation of nearly every resident within at least 100-200 yards of RT 50. Last time I drove Rt 50 that was a lot of people. RT 50 is an old road and people have built close to the right of way. The right of way costs and relocation costs alone would be huge. Eminant domain takeovers would probably be nessecary and further enrage the public. Several towns would be severely impacted with communities severed and businesses removed.

The contruction process would most likey be even longer since both lanes couldn't be built at the same time in many areas. Traffic would have to be maintained on existing roads while half of the new interstate was built. Then traffic would have to be shifted to the new lanes while the old road is removed and upgraded.

Actually I don't think its even possible to upgrade Rt 50 in WV to an Interstate Highway. Interstates are controlled access routes. On ramps and off ramps are the only way to access them. No driveways can connect to the main interstate roadway. So for 50 to be an interstate would require lots of extra roads to connect small population areas to these few access points. Even Corridor H is a limited access highway and restricts where you can enter and exit the roadway. Even a Rt 50 upgrade to a Limited access roadway would be difficult.

A Rt 50 upgrade would be subjected to the same environmental and historical reviews that Corridor H has been.

How far should we upgrade RT 50 to an interstate? Romney, Keyser, Grafton, Clarksburg, Parkersburg? Corridor H will go all the way to I-79. If you stop in Keyser you have a road to nowhere, same with Grafton. Clarksburg to Parkersburg is already 4 lane but certainly not an interstate. The further you upgrade the higher your costs climb.

Upgrading to an interstate is not a simple process. Its not just laying down 4 16ft lanes of asphalt and planting some grass. New roads on new alignments through rural areas are almost certainly less expensive and cause less impact to the populace than huge upgrades of existing facilities in populated areas.
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