The Times West Virginian


October 24, 2013

Corridor H construction over 72 years makes no sense

A prediction has been made on how West Virginia might receive $1.25 billion in new revenue.

Throw in an uninterrupted link to the Inland Port in Front Royal, Va.

Any idea what it is?

All the state, with a little help from neighboring Virginia, has to do is complete Corridor H by the year 2020, instead of the proposed completion date of 2036, according to the Robert C. Byrd Corridor H Highway Authority.

Well, that doesn’t sound too tough.

First, let’s see when Corridor H — a link from Interstate 79 near Weston with the junction of Interstates 81 and 66 in Front Royal — was first proposed.

A little research tells us that this highway was actually proposed way back in 1964, and construction began the following year.

This is 2013 — almost 2014. Almost 50 years from the time that the highway was first proposed, it still isn’t completed.

Corridor H is scheduled to cover 143 miles when completed. And the economic impact study reveals that 75 percent of the highway is either under construction or open in West Virginia.

The completion date as currently scheduled is 2036, but the study reveals that the economic impact from 2020 to 2036 would be worth an additional $1.25 billion while more than 534 jobs and a $360 million increase in wages would also be realized.

Authority chairman Steve Foster calls this study an important one.

“This is an important study,” he said, “because it quantifies what many of us have felt was the case all along. We’re not surprised in the least that the state would benefit by a billion and a quarter dollars if we finish Corridor H in what we think is a timely manner. We felt it important to see hard data that shows just what we could miss out on if we don’t get this highway completed. Throw in the $800 million we could save on construction costs, and I think people can see why finishing this now makes sense.”

For numerous reasons, not the least of which has been a lack of funding, Corridor H is the only section of the Appalachian Corridor system that has not been finished. But funding has been only a part of the problem. Conservationists and environmentalists have been at odds with federal agents, developers and the business community. They wanted the most environmentally sensitive route among several alternatives.

The economic people have a good point in wanting Corridor H — which also has some work still to be finished in Virginia — completed 16 years ahead of the current schedule. That’s a good trick if one can accomplish it — regardless of the $1.25 billion the state could receive in future revenue.

With tight budgets at the state and federal levels, it will be a major challenge.

As the Wheeling Intelligencer pointed out, why anyone concerned with a region's future would plan a major highway to be constructed over a 72-year period is beyond us.

The study must be taken seriously.

“The study gives us numbers to offer government agencies and elected officials that tell all of us in a clear way what Corridor H will do for us,” Foster said.

If they can accomplish the difficult task of funding an early completion, the potential payback and savings are too significant to ignore.

Text Only
  • Time is now for Tomblin to support King Coal Highway

    U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., is asking Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to add the King Coal Highway project to West Virginia’s six-year highway improvement plan. It is a logical request, and one that Tomblin should act promptly on.

    July 29, 2014

  • United effort to keep NASA in Fairmont is essential project

    The high-technology sector is obviously vital to the economy of North Central West Virginia.
    That’s why a strong, united effort to keep the NASA Independent Verification and Validation Program in Fairmont is absolutely essential.

    July 27, 2014

  • COLUMN: Calling all readers: Be heard

    I love to talk to readers.
    I love to hear concerns they have about stories we’ve written, things they think should be included in the newspaper and things they think shouldn’t be.

    July 27, 2014

  • Korean War veterans are deserving of a memorial

    NEEDED: A total of $10,000 for the Korean War Memorial this year.
    And a good man has been placed in charge of the funding. Charlie Reese, former president of the Marion County Chamber of Commerce, is now director of the Marion County Development Office. His task was to make a recommendation as to what steps are necessary to keep the project moving.

    July 25, 2014

  • Roll up your sleeves, give blood and you can save lives

    It takes up to 100 units of blood to save the life of someone who sustains life-threatening injuries in a vehicle accident.
    We’re hoping that the number of people who come to Fairmont Senior High School on Friday for and American Red Cross blood drive will exceed that amount.

    July 24, 2014

  • Vehicles and motorcycles must share the road safely

    The days are long. The weather is superb. There’s plenty of leisure time in these lazy days of summer.
    It’s the perfect time to take a long motorcycle ride.
    It’s also the perfect opportunity for us to take the time to remind not only riders but drivers of the need to share the road. And we feel compelled to mention it because just within the month of July, there have been two motorcycle-versus-car accidents within the City of Fairmont alone — one with severe injuries sustained by the motorcyclist and the other with less serious injury.

    July 23, 2014

  • Too many taking too few steps to protect selves from skin cancer

    July 22, 2014

  • Distracted driving: It isn’t worth fine or a life

    Today marks the day that police agencies from six states are joining forces to crack down on one thing — distracted driving.
    And they will focus on that traffic violation for a solid week, with the stepped-up effort to curb distracted driving wrapping up on Saturday, July 26.

    July 20, 2014

  • COLUMN: Are we people watchers or people judgers?

    Let me tell you about my little friend Robby. Well, actually, it’s more about his family and especially his mom. I didn’t get her name. I heard Robby’s name quite a bit, though, during a trip home from Birmingham, Alabama.
    I noticed the family in the Birmingham airport immediately. They were just the kind of family you’d notice.

    July 20, 2014

  • Relish the rich bounty of state’s diverse, unique food traditions

    This week, a group of federal officials on a three-day culinary tour of the state visited the Greenbrier Valley to find out what most of us here already know — we have a rich food tradition in West Virginia.
    The group was made up of officials from the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

    July 18, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Politics
House Ads