Group keeps pushing for alternative route for part of Corridor H

THOMAS, W.Va. — A loosely organized group of individuals, business owners, and environmental organizations say the support is growing for their push to find an alternate route for Corridor H around the Tucker County communities of Davis and Thomas.

“We’re not trying to stop the road, we know it’s coming, but we are trying to insure that it’s the best route,” said Rachelle Davis who is with the organization seeking what they believe is a better route for Corridor H in the region.

The current plan calls for the highway to go between the two towns in the highlands region, but Davis said there are many who don’t believe that’s the best plan for a myriad of reasons.

“We’re concerned the road is going to come between Davis and Thomas and we want to get the heavy trucks off the streets of Thomas. We’re concerned about the road crossing the Blackwater Canyon and the North Fork of the Blackwater at Douglas. We’re concerned about the viewshed from Blackwater. We don’t want the light pollution and noise pollution to impact the park, that’s a big draw to our area,” she added.

The West Virginia Department of Transportation has previously stated the current route is still the best option logistically and financially for the project. When contacted about the suggestion of an alternative route, state Transportation Secretary Jimmy Wriston issued this statement:

“Our efforts on Corridor H will remain result oriented. We are working with our federal partners at every level to ensure that we construct a safe, efficient, modern highway that protects the valuable resources and the beauty of our great state. We’re going to build that road.” said Wriston via e-mail.

Davis indicated the agency has been good about attending meetings and listening to their concerns, but they remain unsure if their concerns are being addressed.

“They’ve got a mission and they want to get on with it. We understand that, but we’re hoping they’ll take into consideration our concerns,” she said.

Davis said the preferred route for locals would go well north of the two towns and avoid the possibility of building a secondary truck route. The proposal has gained nearly 5,000 signatures on a petition which is being shared with the Department of Transportation. Davis said the signatures went from a few hundred locals to a few thousand when it was placed on line.

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