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Ribbon cut on 8-mile section of WV’s Corridor H

DAVIS, W.Va. — Federal, state and local officials braved the cold and wind atop a mountain in Tucker County Thursday to cut the ribbon on a nearly 8-mile stretch of the Corridor H project.

The newest section connects Davis to Bismarck, from east of W.Va. 32 to the W.Va. 93 connector at Mount Storm. With the completion of this stretch, the four-lane highway completes the Davis to Wardensville portion of the highway initiative and 102 of the 132-mile project.

West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin praised the achievement as a team effort that goes a long way in opening up the state, both economically and socially.

“Today’s groundbreaking represents a collaborative effort among federal, state and local partners, and I’m grateful for everyone’s continued support and commitment to the completion of this milestone project,” Tomblin said. “I’m confident the continued progress on Corridor H will make a lasting impact for the people of Tucker, Grant, Hardy and surrounding counties — as well as our entire state — and provide businesses and industries in West Virginia with the solid infrastructure they need to operate and expand.”

The contract for the newly completed section of Corridor H was awarded to J.F. Allen of Elkins in August 2012.

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin III, D-W.Va., applauded Tomblin and other state officials Thursday on the progress of Corridor H.

“So much needs to be done, but so much has been done,” Manchin said. “This truly has been a high priority in our state.

Fifty-five years ago, this dream was born. It was hatched under John Kennedy. He saw what Appalachia was, and he saw what needed to be done. Fifty-five years later, I would think, and you would think, that it would be done by now.”

“But, we can’t let it (the progress) stop. We’ve got to finish it. We’ve got to get to Parsons. I’ve got to get to Parsons tomorrow for the veterans parade, so I’ve got to get there quicker,” Manchin quipped. “It’s been a long road, and I am just happy to be a part of this.”

Manchin said the completion of the project is vital to the growth and prosperity of not only areas surrounding the Corridor, but also for the benefit of the entire state. He also stressed the need for high-speed internet access and other infrastructure projects that would better the area.

“A month ago, I brought Chairman (Tom) Wheeler up from the FCC, and basically, I wanted him to see about the connectivity — or lack of connectivity — and what is holding us back from economic prosperity and growth,” Manchin said. “So I brought him to Tucker County, probably one of our least-connected areas. It really needs upgrades. When you have this type of venue, when you have the beautiful scenery we have, the recreation and tourism, this should be where the money is spent, and this should be where our infrastructure is best connected.”

“We’ve got to create that,” Manchin added. “We are going to be doing that and, I assure you, we are going to be working as hard as we can to get that done.”

The Mountain State’s senior senator also said that by working together, no task — including the completion of the Corridor — is too great.

“I know (Delegate) Bill Hartman (D-Randolph) has been leading the charge for Corridor H as long as I can remember, and he is still leading the charge,” Manchin said. “We’ve got people that can get this job done. It’s not hard to make this a high priority. I’m just thankful that we finally have this open. I drive this road quite a bit myself.”

West Virginia Department of Transportation Secretary Paul A. Mattox Jr. echoed Tomblin and Manchin’s sentiment and continued the rally cry to complete the decades-old project.

“Let’s keep cutting ribbons on Corridor H,” Mattox said. “This accomplishment continues to shed light on the tremendous progress we have made on this highway in recent years. We have approximately 65 miles open to traffic since 2003. I am proud to be able to say that the vast majority of Corridor H in West Virginia is now drivable. I am hopeful we are able to continue the progress and open the entire corridor to traffic as soon as possible, because I understand how important it is for this area and the state as a whole.”

“This nearly 8-mile section brings Corridor H into Davis and shows our commitment to completing this important east-west Corridor,” Mattox added. “I am also pleased that we are moving forward with an eye toward doing it the right way, environmentally.”

Currently, two other sections of Corridor H are under construction, both between Kerens and Parsons.

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