It is Now Time to Build Corridor H
Greetings. There was a letter to the Editor by Rachelle Davis. Unfortunately, the letter sites a petition signed by over 5,000 people that is based on outdated information, personal opinions, and erroneous information that misleads the public regarding the Revised Original Preferred Alternative (ROPA). The information has been used to create a public frenzy that at best proves to be misguided.
The first point raised by the petition: “This plan would undermine the connection between the local communities and make it dangerous to travel between the towns on foot or bicycle.” This comment was wrong when originally discussed and is more factually inaccurate with the latest roadway revisions. We have used the analogy before that DOH is building an underpass NOT A WALL. Between the municipalities traffic will use a wide roadway at grade level while corridor H passes under the road. It will be extremely broad and landscaped allowing safe travel for both pedestrians and riders. It will be just as easy in the future to transit between Davis and Thomas as it is today.
Next point: “An elevated 4-lane highway through the beautiful Blackwater area is not in the interest of the local economy.” The road is not “elevated,” but it is shielded from view using earthen berms and vegetation. The bridge over the North Fork nor the roadway is visible from the Blackwater State Park Lodge, Lindy Point, or Pace Point Overlook. This has been verified using mapping techniques and topographical maps. All of that being true, none of that will negatively impact our tourist economy.
Another point: “Valuing our natural resources and public lands adds to our quality of life and draws people to our communities. These visitors create jobs in Thomas, Davis, and Canaan Valley.” Ironically, that is all true. Corridor H will actually increase the number of visitors to our area, which in turn will create more jobs – not less. And, the corridor will make it easier, quicker, and safer for worker living in other areas to commute to their workplace.
Final point: “Thomas and Davis have become destinations in the last 20 years with a thriving diversified economy. Directing commercial traffic traveling to locations outside the county through the center of our towns would have a detrimental impact on our businesses.” We agree that Davis, Thomas, and Canaan Valley are thriving destinations. Where we disagree is with the impact of Corridor H on our area. The roadway will actually make it easier to travel to the area and that will only increase, not decrease, the demand upon our area. We are the desired destination of choice.
One more point. Some argue that the historic nature of the coke ovens will be ruined by a bridge passing overhead. To that we say nonsense. All over the country and the world historic sites co-exist and integrate successfully with modern amenities. We maintain the coke ovens will remain viable and can endure in harmony with Corridor H.
Therefore, build the road now and use the ROPA.