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Author Topic: Corridor H  (Read 387655 times)

Life in Paradise

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Re: Corridor H
« Reply #1050 on: December 12, 2018, 08:54:16 AM »

More completion would help.  I drove Corridor H back in July 2017, and the road is a great drive until you get to the stretch of Kerens to Thomas, and then it's like molasses.  I still would have liked the original thought of going around Harman and Petersburg, would have seemed straighter to me.  I know there was the NIMBY crowd in the 80s.  Personal bias-my wife had family back in Petersburg through those years into the 2000s, and that would have helped my travel time from Indiana even more so.
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seicer

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Re: Corridor H
« Reply #1051 on: December 12, 2018, 08:58:29 AM »

There is significant natural and scenic areas that considerably shaped how Corridor H is routed, too.
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SP Cook

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Re: Corridor H
« Reply #1052 on: December 12, 2018, 09:17:24 AM »

I know there was the NIMBY crowd in the 80s. 

Actually there was virtually 100% local support for Corridor H from its proposal to date.  The opposition did not live there, but rather were the typical BANANA enviro-extremists pulling the ladder of economic progress up from behind them, from their flatland neighborhoods.

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froggie

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Re: Corridor H
« Reply #1053 on: December 12, 2018, 10:54:54 AM »

The NIMBY crowd was moreso in the '90s and, despite what SP Cook just said, some of them did live in the local area, particularly on the Virginia side west of Strasburg and in the Potomac Highlands (Davis vicinity and south).
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hbelkins

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Re: Corridor H
« Reply #1054 on: December 12, 2018, 11:13:43 AM »

The lady at McDonald's said she knew of no plans to build a new Sheetz there when the new road opens, although it's a possibility since a new Sheetz was built at Moorefield after Corridor H opened there.
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SP Cook

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Re: Corridor H
« Reply #1055 on: December 12, 2018, 11:57:57 AM »

I beg to differ.  The election results over nearly 50 years bear me out.  The people of WV want good roads, including Corridor H.   While I am certain that you can find a few self-satisfied types that can be caused NIMBY, the myth that the "Corrior H Alternatives" (the name itself being that group's first lie, since they never proposed a viable alternative, other than "live in poverty" ) was a local group is just not so.  It was, like most enviro-extremists, people from outside the areas who already have all the things they try to deny their fellow man.

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Re: Corridor H
« Reply #1056 on: December 12, 2018, 12:33:05 PM »

Wasn't referring to Corridor H Alternatives, SP.
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Bitmapped

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Re: Corridor H
« Reply #1057 on: December 12, 2018, 08:22:19 PM »

It's so economically distressed that the Sheetz in Parsons closed a few months ago.

Wow.  Was not aware of that.  Always seemed busy  when I drove by  there.  Wonder if they are going to tear the current one down and build a new store there?

Seems not, according to the Intermountain: Sheetz in Parsons set to close

I suppose the closest Sheetz stores now are in Elkins (about 35 miles south), or in Oakland, Maryland (about 35 miles north).

If Corridor H is completed (including from Moore to Davis, and the eastern part too), I suppose Parsons becomes more attractive to business (perhaps including Sheetz).

I heard a while ago that Sheetz was planning a store near Davis along Corridor H. Downtown Parsons would not be a good place to serve through traffic for Corridor H once it is built.
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seicer

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Re: Corridor H
« Reply #1058 on: December 12, 2018, 10:18:17 PM »

Wouldn't surprise me, but Sheetz has done pretty well in small towns and Parsons is far enough from Davis/Thomas that I wouldn't see competition from the locals. Every time I went to the Parsons Sheetz, it was very crowded - probably because it was such a tiny store with the MTO section that looked bolted on. The new Sheetz are very nice but I would find that hard to put in downtown for a lack of land.
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machpost

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Re: Corridor H
« Reply #1059 on: December 13, 2018, 11:44:30 AM »

It's so economically distressed that the Sheetz in Parsons closed a few months ago.

Wow.  Was not aware of that.  Always seemed busy  when I drove by  there.  Wonder if they are going to tear the current one down and build a new store there?

Seems not, according to the Intermountain: Sheetz in Parsons set to close

I suppose the closest Sheetz stores now are in Elkins (about 35 miles south), or in Oakland, Maryland (about 35 miles north).

If Corridor H is completed (including from Moore to Davis, and the eastern part too), I suppose Parsons becomes more attractive to business (perhaps including Sheetz).

Years ago I heard rumors that Sheetz had already bought up the land on which to build a new location at the ultimate intersection of Route 32 and Corridor H in Davis, once that part of the highway is complete. It wouldn't surprise me if this happens, but construction of that part of the highway is still many years away.
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hbelkins

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Re: Corridor H
« Reply #1060 on: December 13, 2018, 08:04:39 PM »

There's still one of the older-type Sheetz stores at Belington (intersection of US 250 and WV 92 northwest of Elkins.) I'm surprised that it wasn't closed instead of the one at Parsons. I've been there a couple of times; it appears to be a lot smaller and with a lot less parking than the Parsons locations.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: Corridor H
« Reply #1061 on: December 14, 2018, 12:30:34 AM »

Actually there was virtually 100% local support for Corridor H from its proposal to date.  The opposition did not live there, but rather were the typical BANANA enviro-extremists pulling the ladder of economic progress up from behind them, from their flatland neighborhoods.

I agree with the above.

One of the parties in the 1990's federal lawsuit was some sort of homeowners association (not clear where it was located along Corridor H), but it had a mailing address on a subdivision street in Fairfax County, Virginia.

Then there was ex-Rep. Peter Kostmayer (D), someone who represented a district in a suburb of Philadelphia, and after having been defeated in 1994, was named by President Bill Clinton to be USEPA Region 3 Administrator, based in Philly. 

A friend (who once worked at an FHWA division office in one of the Region 3 states (Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia)) told me that Kostmayer, after taking office, told his staff that his highest priority for them was that they were to use the powers of the USEPA to delay and ideally cancel any and all proposed highway improvements in Region 3. 

After he had been in that office for a while, the late Senator Byrd figured out that Kostmayer was using federal  tax dollars to generate astro-turf opposition to Corridor H, and was rapidly fired by President Clinton.
« Last Edit: December 14, 2018, 12:39:09 AM by cpzilliacus »
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Re: Corridor H
« Reply #1062 on: December 14, 2018, 12:32:37 AM »

I beg to differ.  The election results over nearly 50 years bear me out.  The people of WV want good roads, including Corridor H.   While I am certain that you can find a few self-satisfied types that can be caused NIMBY, the myth that the "Corrior H Alternatives" (the name itself being that group's first lie, since they never proposed a viable alternative, other than "live in poverty" ) was a local group is just not so.  It was, like most enviro-extremists, people from outside the areas who already have all the things they try to deny their fellow man.

I must respectfully disagree (though I share your dislike of Corridor H Alternatives) in that CHA did offer some "alternatives" that did not meet the Purpose and Need for the project.  Interestingly, no mention of how the "alternatives" would climb the Allegheny Mountain Front between Scheer and Mount Storm.

If my  memory is correct, they were pitching an "upgrade existing roads" alternative, which is a pretty classic anti-highway tactic by anti-highway groups. If those anti-highway groups were to win, then the "upgrade existing roads" are quickly forgotten.

EDIT: 

The Corridor H Alternatives site is still online here.  The CHA alternatives are here.  Does not appear to have been updated since 2001.

« Last Edit: December 14, 2018, 12:47:51 AM by cpzilliacus »
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Bitmapped

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Re: Corridor H
« Reply #1063 on: December 15, 2018, 03:45:52 PM »

The Corridor H Alternatives site is still online here.  The CHA alternatives are here.  Does not appear to have been updated since 2001.

Corridor H had opposition from longtime local environmental groups like the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy. It wasn't just astroturf or people from outside the area.

As someone who frequently travels in the Potomac Highlands and is very familiar with Corridor H and the existing road network, I'll say the listed alternatives weren't all that unreasonable for the existing traffic in the area. WV has a tendency to want to build new 4-lane highways all over the place, including along many corridors with little through traffic (see King Coal Highway and Coalfields Expressway for other examples). Since this is tremendously expensive, these projects rarely come to fruition and when they do, they take decades.

For the cost of Corridor H or these other projects, WVDOH could build many, many smaller projects like turn lanes, passing lanes, and curve realignments. These projects would do a lot more to improve safety and travel time for average residents in these counties than Corridor H. WVDOH has finally started to recognize the benefit of this type of improvement with its current work on WV 10 between Man and Princeton, which is focused on widening lanes and shoulders and fixing bad curves.
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seicer

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Re: Corridor H
« Reply #1064 on: December 15, 2018, 10:21:07 PM »

Similarly, WVDOH once proposed widening WV 10 south of Huntington/I-64 towards Logan to four-lanes, and went as far in the 2000s to buy up the property, but has redesigned the project to be an improved two- and three-lane road with better access control.

And when you look at older state projects, the tendency was to improve upon existing routes. WV 90 between US 219 and US 50, WV 32 between US 33 and US 219, and portions of WV 2 between Huntington and Pt. Pleasant (over several decades) are examples of improved two-lane highways with/without large shoulders (depending upon the decade), passing lanes, and curve realignments. But that doesn't sell it to politicians or residents who clamor for everything to be four-lane when there just isn't the traffic nor population density to justify it. And when large swaths of the state are declining in population, why invest in major four-lane expressways on the premise of dubious industrial development?
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Beltway

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Re: Corridor H
« Reply #1065 on: December 15, 2018, 10:27:15 PM »

As someone who frequently travels in the Potomac Highlands and is very familiar with Corridor H and the existing road network, I'll say the listed alternatives weren't all that unreasonable for the existing traffic in the area. WV has a tendency to want to build new 4-lane highways all over the place, including along many corridors with little through traffic (see King Coal Highway and Coalfields Expressway for other examples). Since this is tremendously expensive, these projects rarely come to fruition and when they do, they take decades.

All the lettered corridors are ADHS highways, authorized by Congress under the Appalachian Development Highway System (ADHS) in 1965.  Thru most of the time since then they have received high percentages of federal funding, 80% or better, and from a large pot of money.  So it made sense to build them as 4-lane highways, and they do fit the system role of intra-state highways that in general should be 4-lane high-speed highways that connect to the Interstate routes.

King Coal Highway and Coalfields Expressway are not ADHS highways.
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seicer

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Re: Corridor H
« Reply #1066 on: December 15, 2018, 10:39:59 PM »

At the least, some of those could be built as two-lane facilities with four-lane rights-of-way, such as what was done to other portions of Corridor H/US 33, Corridor L/US 19 and others. Some of the biggest costs come from building those bridges over the valleys.
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Bitmapped

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Re: Corridor H
« Reply #1067 on: December 15, 2018, 10:46:22 PM »

And when you look at older state projects, the tendency was to improve upon existing routes. WV 90 between US 219 and US 50, WV 32 between US 33 and US 219, and portions of WV 2 between Huntington and Pt. Pleasant (over several decades) are examples of improved two-lane highways with/without large shoulders (depending upon the decade), passing lanes, and curve realignments. But that doesn't sell it to politicians or residents who clamor for everything to be four-lane when there just isn't the traffic nor population density to justify it. And when large swaths of the state are declining in population, why invest in major four-lane expressways on the premise of dubious industrial development?

There are a number of corridors in West Virginia that were rebuilt in the 1930s-1950s. While they may be built to earlier standards and have narrow shoulders, they're generally delivering good connectivity for drivers. It's pretty common to see traffic flowing above 60mph on these older rebuilds.

On routes that haven't been fully rebuilt, they've generally had some improvements over time and have stretches that are OK. They don't need a complete replacement, just a curve realignment here and an intersection reconstruction there. Focusing on these relatively cheap, easy to deliver improvements could make big improvements on some corridors like US 219, US 220, and WV 20.

As someone who frequently travels in the Potomac Highlands and is very familiar with Corridor H and the existing road network, I'll say the listed alternatives weren't all that unreasonable for the existing traffic in the area. WV has a tendency to want to build new 4-lane highways all over the place, including along many corridors with little through traffic (see King Coal Highway and Coalfields Expressway for other examples). Since this is tremendously expensive, these projects rarely come to fruition and when they do, they take decades.

All the lettered corridors are ADHS highways, authorized by Congress under the Appalachian Development Highway System (ADHS) in 1965.  Thru most of the time since then they have received high percentages of federal funding, 80% or better, and from a large pot of money.  So it made sense to build them as 4-lane highways, and they do fit the system role of intra-state highways that in general should be 4-lane high-speed highways that connect to the Interstate routes.

King Coal Highway and Coalfields Expressway are not ADHS highways.

It's all coming from the same pot of money now, and WV is throwing a lot of state dollars at Corridor H from last year's bond issue. When you're looking at 2000 VPD (completed eastern sections of Corridor H), 4 lanes makes little sense. Even once the corridor is completed, I don't see it going above 5000 VPD. At the very least, WVDOH should have left the WV 93 section between Davis and Bismarck, which was 1960s construction on a good high speed alignment, alone rather than dropping hundreds of millions on 4-laning.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2018, 11:18:18 PM by Bitmapped »
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Beltway

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Re: Corridor H
« Reply #1068 on: December 15, 2018, 11:42:40 PM »

It's all coming from the same pot of money now, and WV is throwing a lot of state dollars at Corridor H from last year's bond issue. When you're looking at 2000 VPD (completed eastern sections of Corridor H), 4 lanes makes little sense. Even once the corridor is completed, I don't see it going above 5000 VPD. At the very least, WVDOH should have left the WV 93 section between Davis and Bismarck, which was 1960s construction on a good high speed alignment, alone rather than dropping hundreds of millions on 4-laning.

Corridor H from Elkins westward to I-79 is in the 9,000 to 12,000 AADT range, and that seems a better measure of what to expect on a corridor between a major town and an Interstate highway.

Corridor H east of Elkins has a lot complete but is still disjointed.

Building with 2 lanes has its own problems, as was seen on a major section of Corridor L (US-19).   Tends to be problems with shovel jobs.
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seicer

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Re: Corridor H
« Reply #1069 on: December 15, 2018, 11:48:37 PM »

What was the issue with Corridor L? Were standards from its initial completion that much different than the 1990's when it was dualized?

It seems that the state is on-board to building two-lane facilities elsewhere, such as what it is doing with the recent King Coal Highway portions near Williamson.
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Re: Corridor H
« Reply #1070 on: December 15, 2018, 11:56:03 PM »

What was the issue with Corridor L? Were standards from its initial completion that much different than the 1990's when it was dualized?
It seems that the state is on-board to building two-lane facilities elsewhere, such as what it is doing with the recent King Coal Highway portions near Williamson.

Traffic, and head-on collision problems on high-speed 2-lane highways.

The Appalachian Regional Commission has an article [link no longer active] about Corridor "L", "West Virginia's Corridor L Opens the Door to Tourists", by James E. Casto, 1996. Excerpts below:

U.S. 19 - Appalachian Corridor L - is a 70-mile north/south shortcut from Interstate 79 near Sutton to the West Virginia Turnpike just north of Beckley.  Along the way it cuts across the spectacular New River Gorge and the historic Midland Trail (U.S. 60), the winding east/west route first authorized in 1790 as a state road by the Virginia Assembly.

Construction of Corridor L was started in 1969 and completed in 1978 at a cost of $174 million in state and federal funds.  More than $45 million of that went to build the spectacular New River Gorge Bridge, the highest east of the Mississippi.

Based on traffic estimates at the time, only about half of Corridor L was built as a four-lane divided highway.  The rest was two lanes, with a third lane provided for big trucks and other slow-moving vehicles on the steepest grades.  What happened once the new road was opened surprised even those who had long campaigned for its construction.  Traffic on it soared, quickly outpacing all official predictions.

Long-distance travelers also flocked to the road, finding it a handy shortcut.  By turning off I-79 and driving south on Corridor L to the West Virginia Turnpike, southbound drivers found they could save about 45 minutes over continuing on to Charleston on I-79, then heading down the Turnpike.  The shortcut quickly became popular with truckers and Canadian vacationers making their way from Toronto to the beaches of South Carolina and Florida.

From 1979 to 1994, the traffic count on Corridor L jumped nearly fourfold - from a daily average of 2,800 cars and trucks to more than 10,000.  At some points, the count is even higher.  And the Department of Transportation now expects it to double to 20,000 vehicles per day over the next 20 years.
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Bitmapped

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Re: Corridor H
« Reply #1071 on: December 16, 2018, 10:56:43 AM »

It's all coming from the same pot of money now, and WV is throwing a lot of state dollars at Corridor H from last year's bond issue. When you're looking at 2000 VPD (completed eastern sections of Corridor H), 4 lanes makes little sense. Even once the corridor is completed, I don't see it going above 5000 VPD. At the very least, WVDOH should have left the WV 93 section between Davis and Bismarck, which was 1960s construction on a good high speed alignment, alone rather than dropping hundreds of millions on 4-laning.

Corridor H from Elkins westward to I-79 is in the 9,000 to 12,000 AADT range, and that seems a better measure of what to expect on a corridor between a major town and an Interstate highway.

What major towns are there east of Elkins? The biggest, Moorefield, has 2500 people and no cultural/healthcare/shopping connection to anything along the I-79 corridor.

Because Corridor H shifts so far north, it serves as a poor route from Morgantown and points north to anything east of Elkins. The best route from Morgantown to Parsons, via WV 92 and WV 38, is 56 miles shorter than via Corridor H. Same goes for Morgantown to Thomas and to Bismarck-and-east, where the best routes are via Oakland, MD. For access to Clarksburg from Parsons and east, the route of Corridor H is basically a draw with existing highways.

Corridor H's utility is mostly as a through route. It's not a shortcut for people on the north. How much traffic is going from I-64 to the DC area? Corridor L (US 19) filled in an obvious gap in the network in a way that Corridor H does not.
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Re: Corridor H
« Reply #1072 on: December 16, 2018, 11:35:30 AM »

The earlier route, the one that went due east of Elkins, made a lot more sense to me.
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Re: Corridor H
« Reply #1073 on: December 16, 2018, 12:06:30 PM »

Am I the only one who sees the relationship between the inadequate and deadly wrong decision to build Corridor L as a 2 lane, only to have to go back and do it over, at vastly higher land acquisition costs, and the idea that minor changes (similar to the 1972 road bond promise relative to the still totally inadequate US 52 "upgrade", a total failure)  and the idea that a few curves being taken out here and there is an "alternative" to proper construction of a proper 4-lane highway.  The ONLY way to open up these forgotten communities of people to the wider world.


I also object to the idea that the "WV Highlands Conservancy" is "local" to the Corridor H area, or to WV at all.
  Just another group of people who have what they want, and could care less about others.
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Re: Corridor H
« Reply #1074 on: December 16, 2018, 01:04:13 PM »

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