DAVIS, W.Va. (WBOY) — An alternate route for Corridor H that would bypass several small towns and tourist areas is being considered by transportation officials, the Go North Corridor H Alliance announced Monday.
The route was first proposed by concerned citizens more than a year ago, and thousands of people signed a petition against the originally proposed route. The “Go North” route would veer north just before Thomas, preventing light and noise pollution in the towns of Davis and Thomas as well as tourist spots like Douglas Falls and Blackwater Falls State Park, northern route supporters say.
According to the release from the alliance, it was notified by an email from the United States Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration (FHA) that an upcoming report will include a “Blackwater Avoidance Alternative” study.
The study will replace a now-outdated Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement from 2007 that was never approved by the FHA and will also include a study of the northern route. The study is expected to be published later this year.
In the release, community members, like board member of the Stewards of the Potomac Highlands Olivia Miller and the owner of The Studio Gallery in Thomas Linda Reeves, said they are glad the FHA and West Virginia Division of Highways are taking comments made during the public comment period seriously.
“A project of this magnitude will forever alter the landscape of Tucker County and our precious public lands, which provide the invaluable benefits of nature to us all,” Miller said.
“We only get one chance at this, and it needs to be a win-win for all of us. We are glad that citizen voices are being heard,” said Reeves.
Earlier this year, the WVDOH shared designs for a bypass change along Corridor H that was intended to minimize the negative impacts on Davis and Thomas.