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Wriston updates on progress of Corridor H


At more than 50 years and counting, state officials hope a large final section of Corridor H can be under construction in the next year.

State Transportation Secretary Jimmy Wriston, recently acknowledged the priority on the final episode of WV On The DOT podcast of 2023.

More than 120 miles of Corridor H are now open, and the two sections left to complete are a 10-mile section from Parsons to Davis and the section on the far eastern end from Wardensville, Hardy County, to the Virginia border.

“We need to get that road moving, and we need to get that road under contract,” Wriston said. “We’ve had a lot of obstacles, and we’re working through them.”

A new study this past fall on an alternate northern route between Parsons and Davis was advocated by groups that had traditionally opposed the project despite previously establishing the ROPA (Revised Original Preferred Alignment). Wriston said the alternate route has been looked at before and the data to satisfy that request is readily available, but he said this adds more time to a 50-year project and the process should be changed.

“Streamline the processes to get good, sound, predictable results on the environmental side and let a project get done,” Wriston said. “Those are our interests, and our goal, in a nutshell, is to get it done.”

State officials assert that completion of the project will open up remote areas in Grant, Tucker and Hardy counties to economic development and shorten travel times through the mountains.

However, about 2,000 people have signed a petition calling for the route to be moved away from the Blackwater Falls area.

Those in opposition have cited the dangers to the Cheat Mountain salamander, Indiana bat, Virginia big-eared bat and West Virginia flying squirrel.

“We really do have everyone’s best interests when we work on these things,” Wriston said. “We can build modern, safe, efficient transportation systems and never, ever sacrifice our natural resources, and we won’t do that.”

Wriston said working with the federal agencies requires patience and, above all, trust. During legislative interim meetings with lawmakers, Wriston said it’s a long process, but they continue to make inroads with federal agencies and hope that trend continues into the new year.

“We’re trying to work with the federal agencies, and we’re trying to build trust,” Wriston said. “We’re trying to let them see that the state programs that we have that are federally assisted are operated competently.”