October 5, 2022
A bridge pier slide area in the Kerens-to-Parsons section of the under-construction Corridor H highway project near Moore, West Virginia. (Pamela Moe)
TUCKER COUNTY - Small businesses in Parsons and Davis say they would prefer a planned four-lane highway to be rerouted north, instead of running through what they say are environmentally valuable and outdoor recreation-based regions. Pamela Moe, runs a consulting business in Tucker County which does environmental and educational work with nonprofits. She is also a member of the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce, which recently sent its members a survey seeking feedback on the impacts of Corridor H on small businesses. While the results haven't yet been publicly released, Moe said many owners are concerned about the effect of a highway on tourism in the neighboring towns. "It's been interesting to watch what has happened to the economy of the county over time," Moe observed. "It has become primarily a tourism and outdoor recreation is the driver now, and both towns, the businesses have increased. It has become very much -- they have become very much -- destinations in and of themselves." The Federal Highway Administration and West Virginia Division of Highways recently extended the public comment period to Nov. 3 for the section of Corridor H between Wardensville and the Virginia state line. People can submit a comment online or by mail. The state contended the project will open up remote areas in Grant, Tucker and Hardy counties to economic development and boost travel between West Virginia, Virginia and Washington, D.C. Moe countered the region's natural beauty, including multiple state parks, wilderness areas and public lands are at risk from development. "The whole Tucker County, I think it's a crown jewel, and it also has challenging terrain, unstable geology," Moe asserted. "I think that the need to look at alternatives is critical. And right now, that doesn't seem to be something that is taking place." Moe added local petitions have emerged calling for diverting the highway in various places to preserve wildlife habitat and waterways. "There have been some petitions done locally," Moe pointed out. "In particular, targeting the businesses in both Thomas and Davis. And in both cases, the majority of businesses in both towns prefer the northern route." So far, more than 2,200 residents have signed a petition calling for a better route.
References: Statement W.Va. Chamber of Commerce 09/25/2022 Corridor H W.Va. Dept. of Transportation 2022 Online comment form W.Va. Division of Highways 2022 Written comment form W.Va. Division of Highways 2022 Petition 2022