Meeting Reports

May 22, 2000
Engineering Firm Guest Speaker at
Advisory Group Meeting

Michael Baker Jr., Inc., the engineering/consulting firm working with the West Virginia Division of Highways (WVDOH) to perform the environmental study on Corridor H, met with the Corridor H Community Advisory Group (CAG) for their second meeting held May 22 at 5 p.m. at Davis City Hall.

Bill McCartney, chief, Technical Environmental Services, and Katry Harris, project manager, were invited to educate CAG about their work with the Corridor H project from the time Michael Baker Jr., Inc. began working on the proposed road through their latest efforts.

McCartney explained that he had not always worked as an engineer and became involved with an engineering firm by working on a committee similar to CAG.

"I was the chairman of a community planning commission," he said. "I certainly understand your concerns because I have been on both sides of the table."

McCartney continued with a brief history of how one begins building a road by discussing the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) regulations that must be followed throughout the entire process. He addressed the settlement agreement and described the reports that must be produced within certain timeframes based on research and fieldwork the firm has completed.

McCartney and Harris then explained the status of the work they are doing specific to the Davis area. They have established boundaries for where alternatives can be considered for the segment of Corridor H running from Davis-Thomas, avoiding the Blackwater Canyon. Any considered alternatives should not be west of the communications tower and high quality weapons area; north of William; east of Benbush; and the southern boundary is the original Corridor H alternative.

Harris distributed seven documents to the CAG members for background including the FHWA's Guidance for Preparing and Processing Environmental Section 4 (f) documents, regulations for the National Environmental Policy Act, a glossary of terms/acronyms, the Corridor H Settlement Agreement and volumes I, II and III of the Final Environmental Impact Statement.

Harris said they expect to complete the fieldwork in the Davis-Thomas area by August 2000 and have the Draft Environmental Impact Statement complete by mid-November.

A group member asked the WVDOH representatives what is expected of CAG. Michael Miano, assistant to the State Highway Engineer, explained, "We hope to utilize input from the group, within the guidelines, to see an alternative that has been reached through an overall consensus so at the end of the day we can build a road in the most environmentally safe way and satisfy as many living in these areas as possible."

McCartney explained Baker's position. "We hope that the time spent with this group throughout the process will give us a perspective that otherwise, we would not have had. The community members know best where to put the road and where not to put the road. It will serve you and it is your advice and guidance that we need to build a road that satisfies you," McCartney said.

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