Contact: July 15, 2013
Curtis Wilkerson FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DAVIS, W.Va. – The Corridor H Authority today hosted a ground-breaking ceremony, officially signifying the start of construction for a close to 20-mile section of highway linking Davis with Scherr.
The ceremony took place at a construction site about 300 yards from Canaan Valley Institute, in Davis. The ground-breaking was designed to spotlight the considerable progress made toward completion. When the Davis-to-Scherr section is completed, the roughly 130-mile highway will be more than 75 percent finished.
Other than the Davis-to-Scherr link, three short sections of highway are left to be built. Construction on one of those final sections, from Parsons to Davis, is tentatively scheduled to begin within the next two years, The Corridor H Authority was told today. The Parsons-to-Davis projected construction is three years ahead of its previous schedule, Corridor H Authority President Steve Foster said.
“I now believe in my gut that we’re heading toward the home stretch,” Foster said.
“I don’t want to lead anyone to believe that we don’t have a few more hurdles to jump. But we’ve made great progress in the past few years, and I honestly believe now that we can hit our goal of having this highway either completed or fully under construction by 2020. Three years ago, I never would have believed that possible.”
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 export potential. “We’ve said all along that West Virginia needs Corridor H. And we in North Central West Virginia and the Potomac Highlands especially need completion of this highway. The future economic success of our region is tied the completion of Corridor H,” Foster said. Construction has been active on Corridor H during the past three years. U.S. Senator (then-West Virginia Gov.) Joe Manchin announced the completion of one major section of highway, as well as an aggressive financing plan that allowed construction to begin on significant portions of the highway between Davis and Moorefield. Governor Earl Ray Tomblin has continued the support for an accelerated construction timetable. The United States Surface Transportation bill, passed last year, made the Appalachian Corridor System (including Corridor H) a national priority. It also adjusted the portion of matching federal funds from 80 percent to 100 percent share through 2021. Foster hopes this means Corridor H can be done by 2020.