Corridor H Update [Large pictures]
Earlier today while I was out visiting customers and picking up computer equipment I had a camera with me and decided to start taking pictures and documenting the Corridor H progress. The pictures I took were on a Kodak disposable camera so the quality isn't digital par, but worked none the less. I did run out of shots and plan to get another camera this week and really document the area. Hopefully this will give all the DCSkier's an idea on the progress of the Baker->Wardensville section of C.H.
** MODEM/56k USERS THESE PICS ARE AROUND 300k EACH **
This picture is one I took while driving west on 55. You are looking at the second set of piers with the top of the west-bound bridge getting concrete pumped into the supports. The third set of piers are visible in the far right of the image. From the way it looks at the site there is 3 more sets of piers out of view facing east that have not broken the surface of the ground yet.
This is the Camp Pinnacle Road crossing looking west towards Baker. The in-complete Saurkraut Road bridge are just beyond the the yellow crane. I drove on there quickly, snapped the photo and took off when I saw a truck drive towards my way.
This is the Saurkraut Road Bridges with the east-bound lanes nearest to me. The construction crews have installed these steel girders within the last week and a half seemingly working faster than the other crews. It's my opinion that the complete section from Wardensville to Baker will not be open by Nov 2005. Instead crews are working hard to get a section or road extending from Camp Pinnacle Road to Pine Ridge Road open by September. If this is true this section would be approximately 3.5 miles.
Hanging Rocks Bridges are perhaps the largest of all the bridge projects east of Baker. This project was begun before all of the others and got behind schedule when construction crews had to go 50' deeper to reach bedrock. The construction of this bridge and the Lost River Sinks bridges are that all of them will be built on a banked turn. This picture is facing west towards baker with the set of piers 3 in the foreground. The concrete forms of Piers 1 can be seen beside the crane in the far background with Piers 2 directly downward in the picture from the crane. Peirs 2 are hidden and still haven't crested above the surface of the river. There are also 3 more sets of piers to the right(east) in this picture that are complete.
Thanks for the pictures. Last time I drove that route was in January at 10pm and I couldn't see a thing. Question: Any predictions on when Wardensville all the way to Davis will be complete? Also, any guesses on how long it will take to get from Wardensville to Davis when CH is complete?
From downtown DC to Wardensville took me right around 2 hrs driving at moderate speeds hitting off and on heavy traffic between 495 and Centreville. Wondering how much time this highway will shave off the trip once totally complete...
Unfortunately due to lawsuits, conservative groups, and others sections of the greenland gap, Scherr, Bismark and others in that region probably won't get under construction for at least 6+ more years. It would not surprise me in the least if they were held up in court and other battles for upwards of 10 years. So it's not out of the realm of possibility that CH may not be complete (Wardensville to Elkins) until 2014. Also mind you that Virginia senators have deferred any building of C.H. for upwards of 25 years while focusing time, money and manpower on northern VA's horrible traffic problems while not carring about a 10 mile stretch of road that is less important than I-81 or I-95.
Once the Wardensville to Moorefield stretch is completed a year from now, you should be able to get on CH and go from Wardensville to Moorefield in about 15 minutes. Signs posted on the highway show Davis being around 58 miles via the proposed CH route. So by my estimating it would take 5-10 min to go from Timberline to Davis. Get on CH and take around 1hr 10min to get to Wardensville (go slow counties out here are hiring twice as many sheriff's deputies to patrol) and 2 hours to downtown DC. So you'd be looking at a 3 hr 30 min drive while driving conservatively. Speed a bit and you or anyone else should be able to drop that under 3 hours easily.
Thanks Bawalker for the pictures. It takes me 3 hours and 45 minutes right now to drive from the heart of DC to Timberline using Corridor H. When it is finished, I predict the drive will be about 3 hours flat from DC--that's optimistic but I'm an optimist.
Won't it be nice when it's all finished! You'll be able to get to CV in the same (or less) time from DC than it would take to get to Ocean City or the Delaware resorts (Bethany or Rehobeth, etc.).
Just imagine, for the NoVa folks in places like Reston, etc., you're looking at only a 2.5 hour drive to CV. There will really be development pressure in the area then. I suspect once the final leg of the Wardensville to Elkins stretch is under construction, there will be much more development pressure on CV, because reality will set in that one of the most amazing places (at least in my opinion) in the mid-Atlantic will be under 3 hours from DC Metro, and would even be day-trip feasible for some skiers (as Wisp is currently). This will be more true of another resort ever gets built. While I wouldn't mind seeing a little (the key is a little) quality development in CV, hopefully it won't turn into another Deep Creek, with McDonalds and 'big box' stores. The bulldozers would have to run me over before that would happen!
I would also imagine that the Wardensville-Moorefield area, unless there is a major land preservation program in that area, would be ripe for development, attracting commuters that work in the Dulles corridor, and even ones that would drive to Manassas to catch the VRE, or for that matter, Vienna to catch the Orange line (Metro). Especially for people that were able to telecommute a day a week, or feds than can work the alternate work schedule (getting a day off every other Mon. or Fri.). If there are curbs on development in the Wardensville-Moorefield corridor, the new highway will certainly make that area VERY expensive, probably similar to Warrenton, Purcellville, etc.
This will be fascinating to follow as the years go by, and my trip to CV gets shorter and shorter
Your trip will get shorter and shorter until Reston II gets built just outside of Wardensville!
I wouldn't worry overly much about the development out there... even as we speak there are a lot of new large-lot subdivisions going into place in the Wardnesville/Lost River area. The good news of this point is that if you haven't noticed the neighborhoods so far they're not likely to have much of an impact on you in the near future, either. Most people who are moving out there are looking for affordable land not far from the metro area, and as long as that demographic continues to be the primary real estate purchasers, the area will maintain a rural or semi-rural character. How the locals feel about the weekend warriors moving in is another story, though.
There's always a chance that rezoning could change things dramatically out there, but the future is uncertain if anything. Regardless-- I wouldn't worry about a Walmart in CV anytime soon. I'd be happy if they'd just get a frickin' gas station in the Valley! With most of the Valley as an NWR, that's going to limit the amount of growth in the non-refugee part of the Valley anyway. What WOULD be nice, long-term, though, is some type of village center in the valley-- maybe an expansion on the area over near CM Ducks (they've changed the name there, haven't they?). Doesn't have to be big, just a cute little area for shopping and eating. And a gas station.
I've discussed this a bit in other threads and I'm pretty sure that development of the Wardensville-Moorefield areas won't happen. At least not on any scale similiar to Loudoun County, Fredrick, or others. Most conservation groups know that they can't stop CH now, but what they can do is focus their efforts that CH is never fully completed. Two major groups are focusing on each end of the highway to see that it remains a broken and incompleted one. One group here in Hardy Co who is getting support from Maryland conservative groups in their support of stopping the Inter-County Connector, is working to see that CH never extends past Wardensville. Which really is a smart idea by them because if they can keep a severed link between Wardensville and northern Virginia the volumn on CH will increase barely if not at all.
Due to a court settlement with CorridorH Alternatives made with the state about 4 years ago, that if the traffic volumne on Rt 55 (North Mountain to I-81), and traffic volumne in Wardensville and on CH never increase to roughly 10x-15x their current volumne, then legally the state can not build that section. So really all CH has become is really a county connector for eastern WV rather than a highway to bring in virginian's and other out of staters.
Now another conservative group on the Tucker/Randolph county side has the exact same view which is why they are targeting the greenland gap section HARD. Their goal is to sever the western end of the highway so that it can't connect to Elkins and the I-78 area so people can't come up from the south on a speedy highway. That means there would not be a traffic volumn increase in the Wardensville area thus keeping the state to build the Wardensville->VA section. So as long as either or both sections remain unbuilt CH is really just a modified 55 for local residents and nothing more.
Going back to the development side of things, I am willing to bet that developers see this and hence are leery about investing tons of money in something that isn't easy access for their customers. We've seen this with Bill Bright appearantly basing alot his decisions on a touch-n-go basis with CH. Also Hardy/Hampshir/Grant county residents are not taking kindly to the idea of loosing the beautiful scenery. Yes most of them are for CH to have a better road, but try touching their land which has been in some families since the early 1800's and you'll get shot.
County commissions have also slowly been investigating on how to create zoning laws that prohibit housing developments, townhouses, condo's and instead focus on preserving farmland on a large scale. An example of that is my friends father just received one of the first special recognitions by either the state or region that as long as his 1000 acre farm remains in his family then they will receive tremendous tax and other benefits. All wih the single goal in mind to keep the land preserved from development. This will be a growing trend in Hardy County.
Lastly there has been a tremendious push by a multi-millionare from wallstreet (grew up a local guy) who is buying up thousands upon thousands of acres along the CH route not to stop CH, but to prevent development of any kind. Any land that is farmland, has a historical significance to it or such he is buying as fast as he can mostly to give to his children, but also to see that this area remains like it is for at least another generation or two. This is being followed suit by another weathly/prominant man who is also buying up farm land with the same mindset, prevent development. If this trend continues I'm willing to bet that by the time CH ever does get completed that there will be less than 15% of land available in hardy county to develop.
RogerZ, Canaan already has a gas station and has for many years. Canaan Valley Stores is an Exxon station. It was closed for a bit last spring/summer but opened again in the fall under new owners.
Some sort of village center is exactly what I'm thinking. I think there would certainly be the demand for a small to medium mix of mid to high end stores, restaurants, etc. And, a decent grocery store (something along the line of Fresh Fields). The grocery store in Davis doesn't work for me, so therefore I have to bring a big cooler w/ dry ice (in winter, just keeping it in the trunk will do) so I can bring my own perishables (meat, frozen foods, etc.). And my last trip up, I made a late night run to the CV General Store to get some very simple ingredients for baking and a shovel for the condo, and couldn't believe their prices! Almost as bad as the $9 I spent at the T-Line cafeteria for a small Campbell's chili (which was only luke warm) and bottled water :rolleyes
I wonder how strong willed these multi-millionare guys are against what ultimatley will be strong temptation to sell for big development profits?
WVK2- thanks for the gas station post. The last two times I've been through the valley though it's been closed, which was the source of my frustration. As a matter of fact, last October I had to coast on fumes up to Thomas to get gas. Maybe what I should say is a gas station that is open every day? I dunno...
Interesting info on eastern WV bawalker. The only downside to prohibiting development across large stretches of land is that it puts a serious squeeze on affordable housing. That may not be as big of an issue out in Wardensville as it is around DC, but it might become an issue with time as more people move out there and less land becomes available for new growth. I guess the short story is that, to date, there hasn't been developed an all-positive zoning solution to sprawl. There are always trade-offs.
As far as how strong-willed these multi-millionaire guys will be... the more financial comfort you have the more difficult it is to exert any pressure to do something other than what you want. Sometimes that gives the wealthy a bad name as they pursue one ethically challenged decision or another, but security can have its advantages. If these rich guys want to buy land to save it for their kids, they're not going to give a hoot what a developer wants because this isn't their source of income. Their kids or grandkids might, but probably not them.
I can vouche for one of those men personally having him and his wife as a customer of mine. I've spent several times discussing with them about land preservation and I doubt there is any amount of money that would pursuade him to sell his farm and land purchases. Keeping this area as a quiet, rural farming area is too important to him and keeping family lineages in this area as they have been for the last 300 years.
The second millionare of whom I know through his son, and my friends dad who works for him, has shown as well that having the land undeveloped for a quiet, rural setting without homes, quickie marts or anything else is too important to him. I would easily venture to say that their integrity of keeping the land undeveloped for at least 1-2 more generations is more valuable than any pricetag a developer could put on it.
As for that driving the price of housing and land up, that to me is a minor offset for keeping Hardy Co. rural. Personally if my business takes off in the next few years I plan to follow suit by buying up as much land as possible and keeping it solely for private hunting, hiking, oh and a black run or two.
Back almost two years ago the Wash Post had a feature article on the land values in the Wardensville area. The trend has continued, and I know of several developments in the Lost City/Mathias area that are geared towards the real-estate rich, gentrified DC crowd, primarily 30-somethings with money, REI cards, one or two Hummers to play with, and a Yakima rack on top. There's even a development geared towards female couples with money to spare. Probably one of the salient directions of these new folks is that they want to protect their property values and this means restricting Fairfax-type development.
Nothing wrong with that.
However, these same folks have a visceral aversion to Dunkin Donuts, McDonald's, Walmart and home trailers. How they relate to a predominant community that is not averse to these and has values that may not be as lofty or upscale, is still to be seen.
In my opinion, it is roughly akin to Vermont 30 years ago when the upscale Boston and NY crowds began to settle and eventually overwhelm the farming community that had been there for 300 years. The result: Manchester, Queeche Lakes, Stowe, Montgomery Center, and many other towns where McDonald's and their kind are not only unseen, but forbidden by law, and 5, 10 or even 20 acre zoning minimums are not uncommon.
In this point, the multimillionares bent on the lofty goal of the pastoral scenery and the almost millionare yuppies who want to see a rapid increase in their property values are in sync. The result will be a lack of available land for development and of course, given the supply and demand curve, the continuing increase in real estate values.
An unwilling victim may be the people, many of whom are old, who have been living there from birth. Samee as in Vermont, they may be taxed out of their land. Or else, with the advent of zoning restrictions, they may not be able to sell their land in a way in which they want to sell it. I see a political mud fight in the future....
Wardensville and Moorefield have more of the developments than Lost City/River & Mathias does. Although there have been a few small developments popup with a minimum of a 10 acre purchase on a few ridge tops in that area but ironically half of those now have been purchased up by people I used to goto school with for their families. I don't know if you can really call them developments because they are just dirt roads that branch off into houses in 10 acre lots that looks more like mini farms almost.
I have several of these folk as my customers and ironically several have moved down towards Winchester in the last few years saying the winters were *TOO* harsh for them. Mainly in that no one plowed driveways, there is no official 'housing association' that mandated plowing, etc. Once you leave the state roads you are on your own on packed dirt for the most part. That goes for just about any "development" area on this side of hardy county.
There is a very valid point regarding zoning issues and asthetic looks. I discussed with a customer of mine who considered moving to hardy county but decided to stay in shenandoah county, va instead. Mainly because there were no zoning laws that mandated how homes could look. She said outright she didn't want to live in her $200,000 home beside a $30,000 trailer with 3 trucks on blocks in the front yard.
A true definate downside to this is as you pointed out older folks who may get caught up in this with rising property values, get suckered into selling at a lower cost but yet thinking they are making money. The real estate agents in this county are scrupulous to say the least. Them and others who are selling property have a think for jerking around potential clients. That same lady above who moved to VA instead told me that when real estate agents and other property owners found out that she was from Northern VA, they would yank the price they quoted her at, and in some cases triple it to milk her for as much as possible.
Who can complain about a village like stowe? I would def be for a Mcdonalds as long as it is an all wood A-frame with people serving you in coon hats!2 For 2 baby!!
Ibotta you pretty much hit the nail on the head. This is happening in a lot of communities right now, east and west coast. It's more than just a conflict of values, however: the decline in affordable housing can have an impact on community services as well.
A cousin of mine works up in Bar Harbor, Maine, and that town is having an extremely difficult time recruiting teachers and cops and other civil servants because it is too expensive to live on the island and too far of a commute for those folks to live elsewhere. Or, more to the point-- they could live 30 minutes from Bar Harbor and work in the town they live in, rather than driving 30 minutes (at a minimum) through Maine winters six months a year. In some respects it's not as bad as it could be, since many of the people who have moved there are only seasonal, but for those who live year-round on the island that provides little solace.
The cultural interaction is interesting, at least for right now. I've visited lots of different places in the WV mountains and it seems like the friendliest folks can be found where there is a living to be had and not too many out-of-state tourists. I haven't been to the truly depressed areas so can't speak much about those, but in touristy areas folks just sort of stare at you with this semi-angry look on their face. Not everyone, but enough compared to other places that you notice it. There's already a tension in some places, it'd be a shame to see that spread. I guess as long as most of the folks moving to WV are moving there to be part of the state as opposed to what they think the state ought to be, it should help keep friction down. It's when the typeset gets more and more of the mentality that Ibotta describes that there will be some fireworks.