Several years ago, the West Virginia Division of Highways (WVDOH) settled on a Revised Original Preferred Alignment (ROPA) for the Parsons to Davis section of Corridor H that provides direct access to Tucker County High school and runs between the towns of Thomas and Davis. Recently, the FHWA asked the WVDOH to also consider a route that runs north of the communities.
The decision to examine and provide additional data on an alternate northern alignment lies solely with the FHWA. The WVDOH is working in conjunction with the FHWA on this request and is committed to not only do the right thing, but to do it the right way.
Final planning on the ROPA has been held up while the FHWA considers environmental studies done under the federal National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
The NEPA process for large projects such as this is extremely complex, and it’s not unusual for that process to take some twists and turns, especially when the oversight and guidance is provided by a federal agency.
Today, the Corridor H Highway Authority issued a letter opposing further study of a northern route for the Parsons to Davis section of Corridor H, fearing the change in process would delay completion of Corridor H, which is currently about 90 percent finished.
The WVDOH does not believe the current evaluations will cause delays in getting the project under construction. Much of the data that the FHWA is requesting the DOH to provide has long been collected and analyzed.
The WVDOH will submit all the requirements to the FHWA and request that they expedite the Notice of Intent, which will lead to the final NEPA document. In the meantime, the WVDOH is actively and urgently continuing with preliminary design activities.
This process will test the ROPA alignment, and confirm the value of solid, deliberate, good engineering.
The WVDOH believes the ROPA alignment for Corridor H is the best route with the least negative impact on local communities, and also believes further study of the more northern alignment will reaffirm the ROPA alignment as the better choice.