CHARLESTON, W.Va. — State Transportation Secretary Paul Mattox said three large highway projects in West Virginia are slowly progressing forward.

One of them being the long-planned,four-lane across north-central West Virginia known as Corridor H. The highway is designed to eventually link Interstate 81 in Virginia directly to Interstate 79 at Weston in Lewis County.

So far, 97.2 miles of Corridor H is open to traffic with another 10 miles currently under construction near Davis in Tucker County.

Mattox said the work is moving along, but slowly because currently roughly $40 million is being made available each year for the project.

“Our last estimate I believe to finish Corridor H, which is about 27 miles left to construct, and that cost is estimated to be about $1.2 billion,” he said. “So you can see at $40 million per year it will be quite some time before we get Corridor H constructed at that rate.”

The current projected completion date is 2036. However, a recent study released earlier this year by the Corridor H Authority projected an extra $1.25 billion in revenue would be generated for the state if the project was completed by 2020. Mattox said there is potential out there for more money to come in for the project.

“We here talk from time to time making Corridor H an evacuation route for Washington D.C., northern Virginia area,” he adds. “There is a lot of opportunities maybe for enhanced funding to help us finish Corridor H a lot sooner rather than later.”

In addition to Corridor H, work continues on the Coalfields Expressway. The state Division of Highways has recently opened bids for grade and drain work on a two-mile stretch of the highway from West Helen in Raleigh County to County Route 12/1 in Wyoming County. In the six-year program, Mattox said they are working to finish the stretch of highway to Mullens.

“That’s what we’re focusing what resources that we have available to put towards our expansion program in getting that section of Coalfields Expressway completed,” he said.

Once the Coalfield Expressway, designated as U.S. 121, is completed it will connect the City of Beckley with the Virginia/West Virginia state line where it intersects the Virginia alignment for the Coalfields Expressway.

And then there is the King Coal Highway which once completed, will travel from Bluefield in Mercer County to Williamson in Mingo County and connect to Route 119 near Belo. Mattox said they are currently working on a five-mile stretch called the Buffalo Mountain Project, but it’s slow going at this time.

“Right now it has slowed down a little bit because of the economy and the decline in coal production so that project has slowed down considerably but it’s still on the drawing board,” Mattox said.

The DOH is working with a coal company in Delbarton on that particular project. Mattox said they have other sections of the project they want to get done, but it all comes down to finding the necessary funds.

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Comments

  • David Kennedy

    If anybody is making a list of treacherous road areas to improve, I would like to add the 'Murder Alley of I-79 to that list.
    The area between Goshen Road, Exit 145 and Pricketts Creek, Exit 139. Kills a lot of people each year.
    The road is flat and not adequately banked in some curving areas and was a hop-scotch from parcel to land parcel to accommodate certain politicos 'fat cats when built. Their greed at making a quick dollar has resulted in too many needless deaths and car crashes. When any Haz-mat truck overturns there, it takes 2 days to clean up the wreck.
    It's time to do a 'real fix to this area.

  • Say What?

    I would like to know who is monitoring the wasteful spending, or possible skimming(theft), of these projects .

  • syd

    anyone find it odd that 2 of the 3 projects are in an area of the state that is irreversibly dying? Seems too little too late and now is just flushing money down the toilet.

    • WhgFeeling

      Which 2 areas are you talking about? As far as I am concerned it is never too late unless your a pessimist.

  • Mail lady

    What about the 14 miles of Route 35?!!

    • Jeff

      Sorry, not enough out of state special interests to push this one through

    • Gilbert Gnarley

      To the contrary Jeff there were plenty of out-of-state interests but they succeeded in stopping Rt. 35--the Gallia County, Ohio Commission stopped it with the blessings of the Mason County, WV Commission. Drive through decaying Point Pleasant, WV then to thriving Gallipolis, Ohio and you'll see that the Buckeye tail wags Mason County.

  • 2XLPatriot

    Corridor H runs through some of the most beautiful land in WV that previously, travelers could not enjoy. It will improve our economy and job market potential and best of all, I don't have to drive through Maryland (Liberal utopia) to visit friends in Martinsburg.

    • Jeff

      Yeah it makes perfect sense to run an interstate through the most beautiful part of the state. Maybe if we're lucky we'll get a McDonalds and an Econo Lodge every 5 miles

      • 2XLPatriot

        Maybe I didn't make myself understood. The road allows one to see beautiful land that previously couldn't be seen when driving through the area. Take a drive sometime instead of responding negatively to stories you only read and have no other knowledge or first hand experience. Ask the people in those areas how it has allowed them to more efficiently get supplies for their farms and has lowered those costs due to much easier access. As for Econo Lodge and Md's, you can thank King Coal for the lack of quality business.

        • Jeff

          No, I understood. Sorry, but you don't build billions of dollars of interstate so people can look at the scenery. You also don't build billions worth of interstate to help out a few farmers. And lastly you don't build billions worth of roads in rural areas when you can't maintain the ones you have.

          • The bookman

            Jeff you just don't get it! The road is the completion of a project started back in the 60's by none other than RCB himself in an effort to improve the economic access to rural Appalachia...the current 10 mile section under construction follows the basic footprint of state 93 by and along Mt Storm power plant and numerous coal mines...it provides access to some of the most beautiful parts of our state and also will provide access to the inland port of Front Royal VA...it doesn't travel through Canaan or Blackwater Falls but does pass through an area that has endured heavy industry since Henry Gassaway Davis developed it back in the late 1800's...everyone talks about a diverse economy in WV and then wants to stand in the way of the one real project that can yield quantifiable economic results...we have already spent billions on the Appalachian corridor system and finishing Corridor H will ensure that A. The money we have spent does not go to waste on an unfinished project...and B. We can actually realize the economic impact that was the purpose of building the road...I think Patriot had it right...get out and explore WV...if you had ever travelled Rte 93 you wouldn't have thought it the most beautiful part of WV as much as an interesting and quite barren landscape with a power plant and coal mines and quarry pits sprinkled in it...

  • leroy j gibbs

    I don't mind the economic benefits for the towns but leave my trout streams alone

  • lifetimehunter

    The state can't or wont maintain the roads we have. 40 million a year would help. I'm sick and tired of the condition of the roads doing damage to my truck.

  • Dr DNG

    Is there any relationship between the King
    Coal Highway and the I-74 link from
    Detroit to Myrtle Beach that is currently under construction in other states?

    Does I-74 run through WV?

    • WhgFeeling

      Thanks Dr. DNG. I had not even heard anything about I74. A quick look up indicated very long goals of I74 running thorugh WV. That would be great for economic purposes, IMHO.

  • Andy

    Will cut significant time off of a trip to DC and will open up tourism opportunities. On the other hand, maybe the NOVA and DC libs will shut down the coal and gas industries in the entire state so as not to disturb their retreat like they have in NY and Canada. We can all work servicing them in neat, quaint restaurants. Only then will they stop wasting money building windmills which scar the Allegheny Front.

  • Larry

    Corridor H, aka the road to nowhere, will go down as one of the biggest wastes of taxpayer money in history.

    • wvualum99

      Larry,

      You sir are an idiot. Have you ever driven between Elkins and Wardensville on Rt. 33 and 55? It is a very dangerous road. Corridor H will be safer. It will open many avenues for industries and businesses. It will also make travelling easier for people from north central and other parts of West Virginia needing to go east. My bet is that you've never even been to Elkins, let alone east of that area.

      • Larry

        You madam are also an idiot, I have been there, this road will do nothing for the economy, and VA has no plans to build the remaining portion, it's a boondoggle plain and simple.

    • WhgFeeling

      Larry, I would not call you an idiot but maybe misinformed. I have traveled the road several times and in my opinion it is the most beautiful highway in the state. As far as a waste of money, well what government project does not waste money? It is true that the road is much safer and makes travel time much quicker.

    • Hop'sHip

      Larry, You must spend too much time watching Fox News.

      http://www.foxnews.com/story/2009/03/20/robert-byrd-road-to-nowhere/

      • Larry

        I don't watch it much, but I would highly recommend everyone take a look at your link, it's very telling and true.

      • Larry

        I especially liked this statement from the 2009 report, which is still true, Mattox was just on the radio this past Saturday saying VA has no plans to build their part.

        The road stops 14 miles from the Virginia border, and Virginia has no plans to build its own four-lane highway to extend out to Corridor H.

  • blugldmn

    Evacuation route? Bolder dash !

    Anyone leaving the beltway or NOVA would be dead before they got to front royal......

    Evacuating from what?

    Besides VA currently has no plan to extend their portion on of the road.

  • WVIRGINIAN FOR LIFE

    Good status capture of the project. Evacuation for DC area? OMG, we don't need anymore Northern Virginia politicians, DC Metro druggies or the social crowd coming here. Please install gates or be prepared to bring the bridges down if an evacuation from DC to WV ever occurs. Lol.

    • Harpers Ferry

      DC Metro druggies? Really? Have you even been to Southern WV before?

      • WhgFeeling

        Come on you have to admit there is a lot of drug crime in the DC metro area that has spilled over to the Martinsburg and even into the Moorefield/Romney area.

        But YOU to make a very good point.

        We must face it drugs are so common EVERYWHERE!!! It is just a different genre of drugs. Sad sad sad.

  • Joe

    ''Potential out their''?! The word is 'there'.

  • Danny

    "progressing forward" (as opposed to progressing backward)
    four or five uses of "currently/current" where it's a meaningless word
    "and then there is" as a transition
    Writing like this would get a C in English 101, but I don't reckon my C students are considering writing careers.

  • David Freeman

    Glad to see work progressing , at least in the eastern and southern parts of the state.

    The author of the article also needs to keep working on his/her English and spelling.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    • jeff p

      This was an article I really wanted to read. Too many mistakes in it. I looked to read the comments because I was pretty sure the commenters would do the story a lot better.
      Wake up! If you are a writer, think about the words.