New Portion of Corridor H Opens from Grant to Tucker Counties
Governor Earl Ray Tomblin today joined local, state and federal representatives to cut the ribbon on 4 and a half stretch of the Corridor H highway from Bismarck in Grant County to the Tucker County Line.
The ceremony doesn’t mean the highway will be completed anytime soon.
It has already taken fifty years to develop it.
In 1965 the Appalachian Corridor H was designated by Appalachian Regional Commission as one of 23 transportation corridors to be developed as part of the Appalachian Development Highway System.
In 1984, the project was forced to be put on hold due to funding issues.
In 1990, the Corridor H project was resurrected. But there were issues, and some environmentalists still object to portions of the remaining portions of the highway.
After discovering evidence of the West Virginia Northern Flying Squirrel, a Federally Endangered Species, the West Virginia Department of Highways completed additional environmental investigations throughout the 10-mile area between Parsons and Davis in Tucker County. Those investigations are still underway.
An additional 10-mile stretch leading into Davis in Tucker County is under construction and is expected to be completed this fall making nearly 76 percent of Corridor H complete.
Recent estimates of federal funding allocations indicate the highway will be completed by 2036 But Local leaders say that's too long and suggest that the state could complete Corridor H by the year 2020 if it used a public-private partnership to finance the work.
When Corridor H is finished, it will connect Interstate 79 near Weston with the junction of Interstates 81 and 66 in Front Royal, Virginia.