Corridor-h Update ** DCSki.com Exclusive **
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bawalker
June 26, 2004
Member since 12/1/2003
1,547 posts
Since the other Corridor-H thread sorta became popular again I thought I would do another bi-monthly update on the construction progress along with my thoughts and opinions. If everyone is lucky I must might give you all some goodies too. [Smile] Ok I give in, you all get the goodies, scroll below for them. Remember, this is a DCSki.com EXCLUSIVE!!

Ok to address the latest news and rumors I've saw on here, yes it's confirmed that the East Moorefield to Foreman section is now under construction. Heavy equipment was moved into place a little over two weeks ago along with razing of trees on the westbound exit sides has already begun. Right now construction is confined just to the Moorefield exit bridge with some dirt moving and small time drilling happening. As for the Foreman side, I'm not sure if construction has begun there or if construction is going to work it's way westward due to a massive bridge project that is planned. I have heard through the WV-DOT grapevine that opening day is tenatively scheduled for Spring 2007, although I have my suspicions that that is even possible. Speaking of that bridge project, here is what I've learned so far. I've learned that this bridge is a 1.5-2 MILE LONG BRIDGE or at least it is on paper that is expected to span the entire Moorefield/South Fork valley. This is mainly due to the fact that Moorefield tends to flood really bad and having fill dirt used for the elevated roadway would create a massive lake like affect if there was another 500 year flood. Plus using a bridge is also more economical for farmers because much less farmland will be taken in order to build the roadway. I still can't imagine having this massive bridge across the entire valley going across the top of Walmart there. Given all of this information I'm willing to bet that opening date for this section may well fall into 2008/2009 time period.

Now to where the latest happenings are at which is the Wardensville to Baker section. Contrary to a previous post by another author, I still hold firm to my stance that the Wardensville section of CH will not open until April 2005 at the earliest for the complete section. It might be possible as I've heard that an intermediary section might open up from Wardensville to Pine Ridge Road (see below), or from Pinnacle Camp Road (see below) to Pine Ridge Road. This is a very legitimate 'rumor' that would divert traffic off of a very torn up Rt 55 onto CH even if it is for just 2-3 miles. Although I haven't heard if that is for true, or when that might happen. Just stay tuned for more information though. [Smile]

As of this week nearly 85% of this section is already paved with second layer pavement or is paved with the final 'smooth' layer of pavement. The only parts that aren't paved are the immediate sections around bridges and about a 1 mile stretch from Wardensville to Squirrel Gap Road area. Although that is being paved as we speak. If any of you have traveled through Wardensville in the last two weeks and have gotten behind dump trucks loaded with gravel, don't complain they are carring gravel for the pavement project. The first major area of interest is the Lost River Sinks Bridges. Construction crews have been installing girders for the past 3 weeks and now they are working directly overhead of Rt 55 so *** EXPECT LONG DELAYS *** if you are traveling this way. I was stuck in traffic for 1 hour last week while cranes were moving around and hoisting girders into place. The worst time for this seems to be 5am - 11am and if you MUST get to Baker or beyond there is an alternate route. Wardensville -> Trout Run Road -> Thorn Bottom Road -> Lost River -> Baker.

The second area of interest is the McCauley Bridges which are still under heavy construction. Three sets of piers on the eastern side of the river are completed with three more piers on the western side of the river unfinished. Based soley on this construction site with crews expected to take another month or two on finishing the piers before even getting started on the girders, I expect April 2005 as the earliest opening date. Possible summer 2005. Anyway besides the piers not much has changed here.

The Lost River Bridges at baker are nearly completed. If you are going eastbound on CH in Baker you can see these bridges off in the distance with the concrete decking already finished with the side barrier walls being installed at the moment. These will be finished via my earlier prediction by this July with the landscaping being finished up by late August. Give or take a few weeks.

Sauerkraut Run Bridges are speeding along very fast. Concrete decking is finished with side barriers being installed as well. National Construction Company is moving along very fast.

The last major area that I'm watching develop is the Wardensville interchange. It appears my previous predictions were correct. The Wardensville interchange is going to be quite unique with the eastbound lanes splitting from the west bound lands and diverting to the right. From there the eastbound lands will cross a bridge over Trout Run Cut-Off road and make a HARD right and slow down and merge into the Cut-Off road before merging with the old Rt 55. The west bound lane configuration will be a bit different. Appearantly if you are driving west on old Rt 55 and begin the incline of Sany Ridge, just before you hit the hard right turn crews are constructing the road to simply go straight and allow old 55 to merge into CH. The old 180* turn on Sandy Ridge will then become a intersection so you can choose to go right on old 55, or stay straight and go on the new CH. Paving of this section hasn't begun as well as construction to intersect old and new 55 hasn't begun either. I figure this will take place in the August time period when a bridge will be installed across Trout Run Cut-Off road.

And now... for the goodies. I hope everyone enjoys these photographs. These were taking with my new Kodak EasyShare DX-6440 (4x optical, 4x digital, 4MP) today and yesterday during some quite constrasting daylight. I think they turned out good though and if anyone wants to purchase large printouts contact me at bawalker AT modemnet DOT net.

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Looking eastbound on the Clifford Hollow Bridge.

 - Looking up underneath the Clifford Hollow Bridge. We were standing halfway up that hill near the farthest eastbound pier.


 - Looking up at the Clifford Hollow Bridge when driving in on the access road. East is on the right, west is on the left.


 - Driving towards Baker looking at the new girders set in place at the Lost River Sinks Bridges.


 - A clear picture looking westbound as we were walking up the construction access road.


 - One of my favorite shots looking at the oncoming construction of the LRS Bridges.
RyanC
June 27, 2004
Member since 11/28/2003
160 posts
Thanks for providing all this info! It is much appreciated by many (including me). I didn't know East Moorefield to Forman construction already started. The Corridor H website (www.wvcorridorh.com) is not completely up-to-date, which is a bit surprising. It looks like the highway is now officially unstoppable. It may be delayed a bit in portions, but it is already a reality. As long as environmental impact is painstakingly mitigated and Fairfax, VA or Frederick, MD cookie-cutter, ugly, crap style development doesn't take place, all is good.
bawalker
June 27, 2004
Member since 12/1/2003
1,547 posts
RyanC - You are very welcome for the information. I feel like I'm the eye's and ears of WV for you guys down in VA/DC/MD. I wouldn't be so sure of the Keren's to Foreman section. Currently the state and federal budget doesn't have enough money to fund completing those sections in the next few years plus massive opposition still exsists in that area as well. Local enviornmental groups have focused their attention on stopping the Wardensville to VA side (with VA's help) and keeping CH broken up in the Parson's and Greenland Gap areas. Everything I've heard recently is that the state is still in the study stages and is in no hurry to start digging. Then again Hardy County is one big drama story anyway.

Brad
johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
June 27, 2004
Member since 07/18/2001
1,914 posts
Brad:

Thanks for the incredible photos. I recently chatted with a reporter from Skiing who is working on a Corridor H story for next season. That should be interesting if it comes to fruition.

From what little I know about logistics, as one part of a highway gets built, another must begin because moving equipment and resources into a remote area like WV is very expensive. Thus, like a steel factory, you must keep production flowing and avoid complete shutdowns at all costs. Hence, I am not surprised at all that equipment is being moved west of Moorfield.

Does anyone know about issues involved in removing snow from large sections of elevated roads? We all know that bridges ice over first, but what about snow removal issues? Can plows simply push it off the road or will it have to be loaded into dump trucks and hauled somewhere?

Blowing and drifting snow should not pose a big problem for these elevated sections but removal could be an issue.
MangyMarmot
June 27, 2004
Member since 12/25/2002
183 posts
Who are the folks working on Corridor H?

Has it brought a lot of jobs to the area? Any noticable impacts on local economies yet.

HAving only driven through the area with a couple short stops, my perception is rather limited.... But it seems like many are people struggling economically.

mm
snowcone
June 27, 2004
Member since 09/27/2002
589 posts
wow! ..

I want to thank Brad for all his work in documenting the current developments on CH. Looking at the photos makes it even harder waiting out the next 5 months until ski season starts.

I love the sections already finished; the scenery is magnificent, unspoiled (with the exception of CH) and I always look forward to driving the CH sections on our trips up to Snowshoe.

Can't wait until the Wardensville section is opened. I can imagine that in the fall it will put Skyline drive to shame.
Norsk
June 27, 2004
Member since 05/13/2003
315 posts
Brad:

Top-notch photography. We are lucky to have you up there with your digital camera! One question: is there much opposition to the Forman-to-Bismarck section? If CH gets to Forman, that's really the last critical stretch for CV-bound skiers. The rest of the way on 93 is pretty much flat and straight.

From my perspective, if CH ran from Wardensville to Bismarck, that would be just about perfect: enough four lane highway to cut the trip by almost an hour; enough two lane stretches to keep out the lazies.
bawalker
June 27, 2004
Member since 12/1/2003
1,547 posts
MangyMarmot - Currently all construction crews are from out of the area. Most of them are either from the Charleston area, Hagerstown or other city areas. These workers bring a few camping trailers in, stay there during the week and head back to their homes during the weekends. There is no local jobs being created as a direct result of this. There has been a minor increase in food sales from 7-11 (my friends mom works there) as well as home restraunts have noticed some increase. Nothing noticeable though.

As for the economy, most everyone either travels out of the area to Winchester/Harrisonburg, or stays here and farms and works a shift at the chicken plant in Moorefield. Ironically enough we are considered poor, but everyone around here is extremely happy with their lives.

Norsk - You are all quite welcome for the photographs... I may have now found a new summer hobby. [Smile] As for opposition the hardest concentrated opposition is from Foreman to Kerens and as of late the state has no plans to start construction further than Foreman. They have been to court time and again and have lost by not having enough studies on the ecological system, and one state study was wrong in how much dirt was to be moved. It vastly underestimated the cubic yardage of dirt to be removed from a mountain top and the enviornmentalist groups went after that like a dog after a three legged cat. So for now, it looks to be Wardensville to Foreman. Thats far better than old 55 where I've almost wrecked hundreds of times.
MangyMarmot
June 30, 2004
Member since 12/25/2002
183 posts
Hey thanks for the reply... And you rock for posting all the photos.

As a city mouse my entire life, I'm always curious how country mice make a living and what impact visitors have.

mm
bawalker
July 4, 2004
Member since 12/1/2003
1,547 posts
You are very welcome. [Smile] Actually I'm hoping and planning this winter to be adding hundreds of photographs of snow scenes, ski resorts, etc to DCSki.com as an exclusive to the great members on here.

Now if Scott is willing to make me a staffer/reporter/writer for DCSki.com I could become the Hardy County remote reporter giving year round moment by moment information about Hardy County. I could always jump in my Explorer and start driving to Timberline taking pictures at every town for snow reporters, getting to Timberline and posting them. Who needs a webcam when I got a 4MP cam? [Smile]
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