The West Virginia Division of Highways is providing additional data for an alternate northern route for a section of Corridor H to be built between Parsons and Davis, in order to expedite the design process.
WVDOH is preparing a supplemental Environmental Impact Statement to submit to the Federal Highway Administration that includes a Blackwater Avoidance Alternative route that runs north of the towns of Davis and Thomas. The route is in addition to the WVDOH’s Revised Original Preferred Alternative which would connect just east of Parsons, crossing over Backbone Mountain, to connect with the existing portion of Corridor H at Davis.
Providing additional evaluation of alternate routes is not uncommon on large projects and can in many cases provide efficiency to the process.
When Gov. Jim Justice took office in 2017, he made completion of Corridor H a main priority of his administration. The four-lane highway, now about 90 percent complete, begins at Weston and travels across central West Virginia, to eventually link up with Interstate 81 in Strasburg, Virginia. The highway is expected to open some of West Virginia’s most remote areas in Grant, Tucker, and Hardy counties to economic development, connect West Virginia’s highlands with eastern ports, speed travel times through the mountains and provide a smooth, safe highway for travelers and local residents.
Jason Foster, P.E., chief engineer of development, said the design includes a relocation of WV 32 to serve as a truck bypass route for the town of Thomas, includes a new interchange to serve Tucker County High School, and includes improvements to help the communities of Thomas and Davis.
“We’ve really listened to what the public asked us to do,” Foster said. “We have continuously revised that alignment to make it better for the region.
A draft of a supplemental Environmental Impact Statement including the additional information on the alternate route is expected to be published for public comment in late 2023, with a final draft expected by late 2024.