By 2013, motorists will be able to travel from Wardensville to Davis on the four-lane divided highway that's been in the works for more than 40 years. Friday afternoon, where Corridor H ends at Kerens, Gov. Joe Manchin announced that various sections of Corridor H are on track to be completed ahead of schedule and reminded those in attendance the people of the West Virginia will continue to persevere. Secretary of Transportation Paul Mattox and several state, local and city officials joined Manchin for the ceremony.
"We had a vision a long time ago ... we knew it (Corridor H) would just be tremendous for our tourism, opening up this beautiful part of our state," Manchin said.
Manchin explained that his administration and the West Virginia Department of Transportation have discussed ways to keep the project moving forward and concluded that combining work contracts would open sections of Corridor H sooner.
RIGHT ON TRACK — Above, West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin makes the announcement to a crowd gather at Kerens, where Corridor H ends, that the several sections of highway construction are right on schedule for completion. Manchin, along with Secretary of Transportation Paul Mattox, top, right, explained that the combining of contracts has helped push the corridor farther along. At left, Manchin greets Tucker County Clerk Sherri Simmons. Manchin walked through the crowd for a little meet and greet just prior to his announcement of the expansion of the Corridor H project. (CU and The Inter-Mountain/Grant Jones) © The Inter-Mountain, all rights reserved.
The Davis to Bismarck section of Corridor H will put another 16.2 miles of "pavement under our feet" by 2013, nearly five years before the original projected completion date. Construction for the Davis to Bismarck section is estimated to cost $240.9 million. The 14.6 miles of Corridor H between Bismarck to Forman is also slated to be open to traffic in 2013. The roadway between Forman and Moorefield will be open this fall.
After Corridor H between Davis and Wardensville is open, the Division of Highways will begin the design process of the Kerens to Parsons section of the road. The Kerens to Parsons portion will follow the design-build format, which will enable construction to begin in 2018.
Manchin noted that residents of West Virginia drive more miles to their place of employment than nearly any other state.
"I think everybody here knows how important it is to have quality infrastructure," he said.
Manchin explained that he has flown over the Corridor H route and deemed that when it is finished it "will be probably one of the most beautiful scenic highways in America."
The Parsons to Davis spur is the last section of the road to be built, with construction estimated to begin in 2031. Work from Wardensville to the Virginia border is anticipated to begin in 2027.
Manchin also reminded those in attendance that the late U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd played an integral part in securing funding for the construction of Corridor H.
West Virginia is also working to complete high speed broadband infrastructure to all schools, emergency facilities and other state buildings and will then be expanded to homes, Manchin said.
Manchin added that he thinks many good things are happening within the state because all state and local officials are working together.
"We're doing a great job, we're seeing a little rebound in the economy ... this is not over," he commented. "This country is in tremendous debt. It's concerning. We took on debt six year ago, we got our financial house in order. We paid down debt ... we're not cutting any programs ... we're not raising taxes ... we're looking at everything we can to enhance the quality of life in West Virginia."
Manchin added that he thinks the nation needs to get its financial difficulties fixed and has concerns about the country's future debts.
"Basically, it's about planning and we've planned in West Virginia," Manchin said. "But I can tell you, the infrastructure, the quality of life and the stability we have in our government ... poises us to be a true leader and attract an awful lot of opportunities."
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