February 12, 2001

WV DOT Division of Highways
1900 Kanawha Blvd East
Building 5 - Room A 317
Charleston, WV 25305-0430

Attention:James E Southern, PE
Director, Engineering Division

re:Corridor H
Community Advisory Group

The Community Advisory Group met on January 25, 2001 to review the Blackwater Avoidance Alternatives prepared by Michael Baker & Associates for the WVDOT

The CAG was given the task of reviewing the proposed alternatives, identifying areas of concern and forwarding recommendations to the WVDOT for consideration.

Although eight alternative routes were studied - four of them were rejected for various reasons by Baker and the CAG had no problem with this decision. None of the four remaining alternatives stood out as being more desirable than the others, as each route has advantages and disadvantages. The committee suggests that further study be done using the desirable and eliminating the undesirable features of each route.

The following should be given maximum consideration:

  • No traffic should enter or exit Corridor H by crossing in front of oncoming traffic. This is primarily for safety reasons. The weather conditions, especially fog, dictate that this be given maximum consideration.

  • Minimize the impact of the corridor on the landfill and of the landfill on the corridor.

    -the landfill is important to the economy of Tucker County and impact on it must be minimized. It was suggested that the WVDOT and the consultants meet with the County Commissioners and the Tucker County Solid Waste Authority to address any potential landfill problems and development plans.
    -the view of the landfill from the corridor must also be addressed to minimize the effect on the tourist business.

  • The intersection of Corridor H at Route 93 & Route 32 in the Davis Area needs to be as safe and accessible as possible. The original diamond-shaped intersection is preferred to the "connector" type of intersections being utilized in most of the alternative designs. An interchange with different grade crossing would be preferable.

  • Connector roads need to be kept to a minimum in length and obvious as connections to the corridor.

  • The Residential areas in and near the Benbush area should be avoided.

  • The intersection of Route 219 north of Thomas should be as far north as possible to minimize the impact on the City of Thomas and for future land development.

The Committee did not have any objection to the original preferred route being considered as one of the preferred alternate routes.

The advantages of the original route are:
It is the most direct route; The bridge over the North Fork of the Blackwater would be an asset;
The intersection at Davis (Route 93 & Route 32) is safer and better designed than the alternatives;
It is the lease costly of all the routes.

The disadvantages of the original route are:
It goes through the avoidance area;
There is only one access to the corridor.
It was suggested that if further consideration is given to the original preferred route that a connector to Route 219 north of Thomas be constructed to eliminate the traffic that will have to go through the City of Thomas.

The Committee did feel that two recommendations originally submitted have not been addressed:
  • The first is the consideration of construction of a Visitors Center/Rest Area in the Thomas/Davis area. Currently there is no plan to construct any facility along the entire length of the Corridor. Since the Thomas/Davis area is approximately half way between I-79 and I-81, it is a logical place to have a tourist facility. The proximity of the State Parks, Canaan Valley, Wildlife Refuge, etc., also make the choice an obvious one. The request to consider such a facility is again being made and cooperation with the Tucker County Convention and Visitors Bureau in the construction and operation of the facility is suggested.

  • Secondly, the request for dedicated funds for enhancement projects was discussed at great length. The communities of Thomas and Davis and the Tucker County Planning Commission have already prepared strategic plans for their respective areas. The next logical step is to develop detailed comprehensive community development plans that specifically address the problems and opportunities of the effect of Corridor H on the infrastructure, economic development, land use and landscaping of the communities. Since part of the Corridor funds are dedicated to enhancement projects, such a plan would insure the proper and efficient use of future enhancement requests. The Committee, again, requests that special consideration be given for these enhancement projects.

The Committee thanks the WVDOT for the opportunity to participate in this planning process and the consideration that will be given to our recommendations.

                    Delegated to sign on behalf of the Committee,

                     A M Quattro

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