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Project Timeline
The West Virginia Division of Highways has provided this project timeline to show the construction activities of Corridor H over the past 30 years. In it you will find information on how the Appalachian Regional Commission began, various studies of the proposed route, court cases and other project information. The WVDOH wants to keep you informed on the events that have taken place in the construction of Corridor H.

Stay tuned to this section as future construction activities will be posted.

1965
ARDA stands for the Appalachian Regional Development Act of 1965, which Congress passed in an effort to stimulate economic growth in rural Appalachia. This act created the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) as well as authorized the creation of the Appalachian Development Highway System (ADHS). This system covers the Appalachian region from New York to Mississippi. The purpose of the ADHS, as defined by Congress, is to "provide a highway system which, in conjunction with the Interstate System and other Federal-aid highways in the Appalachian region, will open up an area or areas where commerce and communication have been inhibited by lack of adequate access". In 1965 Appalachian Corridor H was designated by ARC as one of 23 transportation corridors to be developed as part of the ADHS.
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Late 1970's
The possible construction of Corridor H from Elkins to I-81 was studied.
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1981
A Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) was issued. A preferred route was identified, and a public involvement was initiated.
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1984
The project was forced to be put on hold due to funding issues, and no Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) or Record of Decision (ROD) was issued on the project.
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1990
The project was resurrected, and a re-evaluation for the project was conducted. Based on this re-evaluation, it was determined that a fresh approach to the project should be taken, and a DEIS was prepared. For the purposes of the new study, all corridors considered in the 1981 DEIS were evaluated equally. Scoping meetings for the project were held in October.
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1992
The purpose and need documentation was completed in March, and a Corridor Selection Draft Environmental Impact Statement (CSDEIS) for the project was completed in October. This DEIS concentrated on Corridor Selection for the project.
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1994
In October an Alignment Selection Draft Environmental Impact Statement (ASDEIS) was issued. This DEIS concentrated on Alignment Selection within the preferred corridor identified in the CSDEIS issued in October 1992.
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1996
An FEIS was issued in April consisting primarily of a revised version of the ASDEIS along with selected text from the CSDEIS. The FEIS responds to comments on both the CSDEIS and the ASDEIS, as required by federal regulations. In September a ROD was issued on the preferred alignment. Corridor H Alternatives (CHA) sued (Lawsuit 1) in U.S. District Court in November challenging the ROD for the entire 100 mile Corridor H Project. This lawsuit alleged FHWA violated the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) by failing to consider an improved roadway alternative (IRA) and by failing to prepare a Supplemental EIS to consider impacts of the Corrick's Ford Battlefield alignment shift. The lawsuit also alleged that FHWA violated section 4(f) by issuing the ROD prior to completing the evaluation of Corridor H's impacts on historical resources and by failing to recognize that Corridor H would "constructively use" Corrick's Ford and Moorefield battlefield.
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1997
Briefs were filed, and oral arguments took place throughout the year. In October the U.S. District Court ruled in favor of FHWA/WVDOT on all counts. In October the CHA appealed the ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals.
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1998
Once again briefs were filed and, oral arguments were presented throughout the year. In September the CHA filed suit (Lawsuit 2) challenging FHWA's findings of "no constructive use" for two properties in Sections 14-16 of Corridor H. In November WVDOT was ordered by the Court to halt construction of Corridor H except for the 3.5 mile section near Elkins.
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1999
The U.S. Court of Appeals decision in Lawsuit 1 was issued in February. On NEPA the Court ruled in favor of FHWA/WVDOT, holding that no further study of the IRA was required. On Section 4(f) the court ruled in favor of CHA, holding all studies of historic properties must be completed before construction proceeds. The Court deferred its decision on all "constructive use" issues until remaining studies of historic properties are completed. In March the Court dismissed Lawsuit 2 without prejudice with the consent of both CHA and FHWA/WVDOT. The Court's order allows CHA to file a new lawsuit challenging these decisions when the entire Section 106/Section 4(f) process is complete for the entire Corridor H project. The Court of Appeals clarified its opinion and remanded the case to District Court in April. In May the Lawsuit 1 case was referred to the U.S. District Court mediation program. The Court order prohibited FHWA from proceeding further with Corridor H until FHWA completed the Section 106 process and issued an amended ROD containing the required Section 4(f) findings, with two exceptions. These exceptions state that construction is allowed to proceed on the "Northern Elkins Bypass" portion of Corridor H near Elkins, and that design work is allowed to proceed, to the extent necessary, to allow for evaluation of impacts on historic properties and other resources. Mediation is still ongoing at the present.
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In December 1999, an agreement was reached between 15 plaintiffs the Federal Highways Administration (FHWA) and the West Virginia Department of Transportation regarding construction of Corridor H. Included in the agreement was the division of the entire project into nine separate projects, ranging in length from 5.5 to 16.5 miles from Elkins to the Virginia line. Within these projects are road alignment shifts near Corricks Ford/Shavers Fork Valley and Blackwater Canyon; completion of ongoing studies; and deferment of the Wardensville-to-Virginia-line section with final design and right-of-way acquisition restricted until specific conditions are met. The mediation agreement also established alternative dispute resolution procedures and directed plaintiffs to waive the right to bring future lawsuits seeking further study of any alternative that does not include completing Corridor H as a continuous four-lane highway
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The project was resurrected, and a re-evaluation for the project was conducted. Based on this re-evaluation, it was determined that a fresh approach to the project should be taken, and a DEIS was prepared. For the purposes of the new study, all corridors considered in the 1981 DEIS were evaluated equally. Scoping meetings for the project were held in October.
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2000
  • In February 2000, Corridor H gets the green light.
  • On May 31, 2000, WVDOH officials and state and national leaders broke ground on the Moorefield to Baker section of the project.
  • In December 2000, the FHWA issued the ROD on the Baker to Wardensville section of Corridor H.
  • Wardensville meetings took place to plan for streetscape and other improvements.
  • Construction contracts are awarded in Hardy County.
  • The Parsons area continues to be studied.

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2001
  • New alignments were presented at a Blackwater Avoidance Study Area public meeting.
  • The Western Maryland Railway bike paths were completed from Parsons to Elkins.
  • A Record of Decision was signed allowing the design, right of way purchase and construction of 16.5 miles in Tucker and Grant counties.
  • A Record of Decision was signed for the Davis to Moorefield section.
  • Construction contracts were advertised for the Baker section.
  • Design contracts were awarded for the Wardensville section.
  • The SDEIS was approved for the Kerens to Parsons section and presented at a workshop public hearing.
  • The WVDOH received the Federal Highway Administration's 2001 Environmental Award in the cultural resources category for the educational tools and web sites based on the Reed Farmstead archaeological dig.
  • A public workshop took place to address additional avoidance alternatives for the Parsons to Davis section.
  • WVDOH and Polino Contracting Inc. receive the West Virginia Conservation Developer and Contractor of the Year Award for 1.7 miles of construction near Baker.

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2002

  • Construction contracts in Hardy County were let and awarded.
  • A 5.48-mile segment opened to traffic between Elkins and Kerens.
  • A 3-mile section opened to traffic in Hardy County.
  • The Davis Community Advisory Group addresses route alternatives and next steps.

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2003

  • A public meeting took place to address the approved SDEIS for the Parsons to Davis section.
  • A 5.35-mile section east of Moorefield opens to traffic in Hardy County.
  • In May 2003, the FHWA issued the ROD on the Wardensville to Virginia line section of Corridor H.

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2005

  • A 3-mile section from US 220 to the WV 55 Interchange opens to traffic in Hardy County.

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2006

  • The 6.7-mile Baker to Wardensville section opened to traffic.

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