$20M announced for Corridor H work

ELKINS — The Robert C. Byrd Corridor H Highway Authority announced Thursday that millions of dollars in funding is being allotted to help with the project in both Randolph and Tucker County.

Robbie Morris, Chairman of the Corridor H Highway Authority said the authority is praising the work of Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, Sen. Joe Manchin, III, and West Virginia Secretary of Transportation Tom Smith in securing $20 million for the construction of Corridor H in Tucker County through a BUILD grant.

“This is a great day for Corridor H,” Morris said. “It has been over a decade since federal money was specifically awarded for the construction of Corridor H. Our federal delegation has been working with U.S. Secretary Elaine Chao to ensure our BUILD grant was approved and I am happy to see it was.”

The grant will be used for paving, traffic control measures, and guard rails on the two sections of highway between Kerens in Randolph County and Parsons in Tucker County.

“Gov. Justice and Secretary of Transportation Tom Smith have made it clear that completing Corridor H is a top priority for West Virginia,” Morris said. “Their application for this grant is one of many ways they are demonstrating their commitment to this critical transportation infrastructure project.”

The Robert C. Byrd Corridor H Highway Authority was established in 1997 by an act of the legislature to promote the construction and use of Corridor H.

Capito announced Thursday the funding will support the West Virginia Department of Transportation with two specific projects: a bypass around Berkeley Springs that includes construction of the Fairview Connector; and the construction of approximately 10 miles of a four-lane expressway in Tucker County as part of the Appalachian Development Highway System.

“This is a much-needed investment in two critical projects that will make West Virginia roadways safer and more efficient. Not only is this good for travelers and those living in Berkeley Springs and Tucker County communities, but it’s good for commerce and our state’s economic potential by better connecting West Virginia to transportation hubs around the country,” Capito said. “From my first day in the Senate, I have advocated for Corridor H and similar projects that will greatly improve our transportation infrastructure, and I’m glad my conversations with Transportation Secretary Chao have proved beneficial to West Virginia. I will continue working to help deliver similar resources.”

Manchin said completing Corridor H is vital for West Virginia.

“Investing in American infrastructure is one of the most important steps we can take to put people back to work and get our economy moving again,” Manchin said. “I have personally discussed the need for BUILD Grant infrastructure funding with Secretary Chao and stressed to her the vital need to West Virginia. I was very disturbed by the lack of funding within this program for Appalachia last year. I continue to believe that the construction of transportation infrastructure can spur economic development in our state, which is why I have worked with the Department of Transportation to encourage them to make changes to this critical program, and I am happy to see that West Virginia is reaping those benefits today. I will continue to push for increased funding to complete Corridor H and the Appalachian Highway Development System.”

Manchin stated in a press release that the completion of this section of Corridor H between Kerens and Parsons will provide residents of West Virginia and visitors to the state easier access and safer roads by linking east central West Virginia to Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York and points North and South along I-81.

Corridor H has already had a significant impact by increasing economic vitality and investment in towns like Elkins and Moorefield along the highway, the release stated. The Appalachian Regional Commission has found that while much of east-central West Virginia has well-regarded schools, workforce, and natural resources, the main issue holding the region back is accessibility, and the completion of Corridor H would help solve that problem. BUILD Grant funds will help construct approximately 10 miles of a 4-lane expressway as part of Corridor H.