By Penny Ellison
The Parsons Advocate
The Corridor H Authority recently held a groundbreaking ceremony in Tucker County. The ceremony, which was held at a construction site close to Canaan Valley Institute in Davis, marks the official beginning of the long awaited Davis-Bismarck Segment.
The target completion date for this segment is June 2015 but the Authority holds hope that it can possibly be completed by Fall 2014 dependent upon weather related issues.
This segment is 16.2 miles long and upon its completion will mark close to 90 miles of the roughly 130 mile highway finished. At a cost of approximately 20 million dollars a mile it will take about 800 million dollars to finish the West Virginia portion.
The United States Surface Transportation bill, passed last year, made the Appalachian Corridor System (which Corridor H is a part of) a national priority. It also adjusted the portion of matching federal funds from 80 percent to a 100 percent share through the year 2021 with a maximum of 40 million a year. The State hopes find money to accelerate the construction with the desire to complete or have fully under construction the project by the year 2020.
Robert C. Byrd Corridor H Authority Chair, Steve Foster, said: “They are making progress. To get to our meeting today we had to wait for construction equipment to get out of the way and that was a good feeling.”
In addition to increasing travel safety and allowing easier access to Eastern West Virginia’s tourist destinations, a completed Corridor H will tie West Virginia to the Inland Port in Front Royal, Virginia. From the Inland Port, double-stacked rail containers make their way to the Port of Norfolk, one of the world’s busiest and deepest ports. The link will dramatically increase West Virginia’s export potential.
Many state and local dignitaries were on hand to lend a hand with the symbolic shoveling of dirt. County Commissioner Mike Rosenau said: “I am so excited, we can physically see the progress.”
Commissioner Lowell Moore is the County Commissions liaison to the Corridor H Authority.
“The infrastructure will grow. Corridor H will have a major effect on Tucker County’s growth”.
The Corridor H Authority has three members from each of the seven counties that it goes through.
The next segment that is slated to begin is the Kerens- Cherry Fork Road segment. Although this segment is addressing diverse environmental issues, the Authority is optimistic that it will be able to begin advertising construction bids as early as August of this year.
For more information on Corridor H go to corridorh2020.com.