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February 7, 2000
Gov. Underwood Announces Signing of Corridor H Settlement
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Gov. Cecil H. Underwood announced today that the Corridor H project is back on track after years of litigation, and construction of the 35-year-old project can begin immediately, pending approval of the agreement by a federal judge.

The West Virginia Department of Transportation (WVDOT) has reached an agreement during voluntary mediation with environmental groups opposing the Corridor H project. The two groups have been in discussions for several months. The focus of the mediation, which was led by court-approved professional facilitators, was to see whether the opposing sides could come to some agreement about the project.

The WVDOT and 15 plaintiffs, including Corridor H Alternatives, have signed an agreement that has been sent to U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan of the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia for his approval. The agreement could be modified during the court's review. It will not take effect until approved by the court.

"This agreement paves the way for us to complete Corridor H as a four-lane highway and to fulfill the promise of more than three decades to the citizens of eastern West Virginia," Gov. Underwood said.

"While we move forward to finish the highway with its potential for economic growth and improved safety through this region, we also must work to protect West Virginia's most prized possessions - our natural beauty and rich history.

"This agreement will help us find that appropriate balance, meet legitimate concerns of our citizens, remove the obstacles of ongoing litigation and move forward toward the completion of a four-lane Corridor H," the governor concluded. "Without an agreement, project opponents could - and probably would - file lawsuits over small sections of the highway and, as a result, cause further delays on any further construction along the entire route."

The Corridor H project stretches 134 miles from I-79 at Weston to the Virginia state line. Approximately 34 miles from Weston to Elkins are completed, and 3.5 miles are currently under construction. The mediation agreement allows for the remaining 96.5 miles of Corridor H to be completed.

Details of the agreement are outlined in a summary document. For more information about the settlement agreement, log on to WVDOT's Web site designed for Corridor H at www.wvcorridorh.com.


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