Corridor H Progress Observed During Helicopter Tour - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Corridor H Progress Observed During Helicopter Tour

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BUCKHANNON -

Construction continues at a steady pace on Corridor H.

Progress on the project has been sporadic over the past three decades, but construction efforts over the past three years has moved the highway closer to completion.

Corridor H is part of the federal Appalachian Corridor System that was proposed in the early 1960s. This particular four lane highway is the last leg of that system to be built in West Virginia.

A section of highway that is under construction now, from Davis to Mt. Storm, will be finished in 2013, making the project 75 percent complete with about 31.9 miles still to be constructed.

"Leaves a section from Parsons up to Thomas and a section from Kearns over to Parsons to be finished. The only remaining portion other than that is a small section from Wardensville over to the Virginia state line," said Steve Foster, Corridor H Authority President.

The level of completion will increase to 87 percent by 2018. 12 News had a chance to take a helicopter tour of the corridor.

Business and industry leaders said completion is important to the state's economic future. A fully functional Corridor H will allow the Mountain State to compete globally. The highway will open the state to the Inland Port in Front Royal, Va.

"We'll be able to ship directly to the inland port at Front Royal Virginia, which will allow you to double stack containers right to the port in Norfolk, Virginia and from there to 185 different ports around the world," Foster said.

Numerous organizations and community leaders have come together to push for the completion by 2020. After more than 50 years, this would still beat the current proposed completion date by almost 15 years.

"In my job as an economic developer, I just see all the potential that we could realize from this road being completed, and it's exciting. It's exciting to anticipate this and to see us making progress, and we've made a lot of progress in the last few years," Foster said.

The United States Surface Transportation bill passed last year, which made the Appalachian Corridor System including Corridor H, a national priority. It also adjusted the portion of matching federal funds from 80 percent to 100 percent share through 2021.