Petition fights Corridor H’s Tucker route

Businesses in Davis, Thomas pushing for alternative path

TUCKER COUNTY — An online petition asking that the path of the Corridor H highway through Tucker County be changed to an alternative “northern route” has been signed by more than 1,700 individuals.

The alternative route is also being supported by a total of 27 businesses in Davis and 24 in Thomas, a “substantial majority,” according to a press release from a “Business Coalition for a Better Route for Corridor H.”

The state Division of Highways plans to construct a large bridge as part of the Parsons to Davis stretch of Corridor H. The alternative “northern route” would run east and north of the town of Thomas, which advocates say would preserve the “attractive rural and historic character” of Thomas and Davis, according to the press release.

“Visual, noise and light pollution impacting Blackwater Falls State Park from Corridor H will undermine our best tourist attraction,” Pat McCann, a Tucker County business owner, is quoted as saying in the press release.

“We want a roadway that will not take away from this sensitive and beautiful part of our state,” Walt Ranalli, the owner of Sirianni’s Restaurant in Davis for 35 years, said in the release. “Don’t divide our communities and stay out of the Blackwater Canyon!”

A survey of homeowners sponsored by the Town of Davis showed 45% supported the “northern route,” while 40% wanted more information, and 10% supported the DOH’s current route, according to the release.

The online petition states: “We the undersigned object to the building of Corridor H between the towns of Thomas and Davis, continuing to Douglas over the Blackwater Canyon Historic area.

“This plan would undermine the connection between the local communities and make it dangerous to travel between the towns on foot or bicycle. An elevated 4-lane highway through the beautiful Blackwater area is not in the interest of the local economy,” the petition continues.

“Valuing our natural resources and public lands adds to our quality of life and draws people to our communities. These visitors create jobs in Thomas, Davis, and Canaan Valley.

“Thomas and Davis have become destinations in the last 20 years with a thriving diversified economy,” the petition reads. “Directing commercial traffic traveling to locations outside the county through the center of our towns would have a detrimental impact on our businesses.”

The petition had garnered a total of 1,721 signatures as of Friday evening.

Earlier this week, the DOH provided an update to the Corridor H Authority, which was holding its annual meeting, about work projections for the foreseeable future.

DOH officials said Gov. Jim Justice wants Corridor H construction between Kerens in Randolph County and Parsons in Tucker County to be completed by the end of 2024 or early in 2025.

They added that Justice continued it a priority to have the stretch between Parsons and Davis, and a stretch from Wardensville to the Virginia border, under construction, if not under construction, by the end of 2024.

Officials noted that designers are aware of the issues involved in the Parsons to Davis stretch, and are working to make sure Blackwater Falls State Park and other popular locations will not be affected by the new construction.


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