State Division of Highways gives update on W.Va. 9

November 02, 2000

State Division of Highways gives update on W.Va. 9

By DAVE McMILLION / Staff Writer, Charles Town

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - The state Division of Highways held an informational meeting Thursday to update local residents on the proposed route of the new four-lane W.Va. 9 before final design begins.

The highways department plans to widen W.Va. 9 to four lanes from the Virginia line to Martinsburg, but the first phase built will be the segment between the Virginia line and Charles Town.

The segment between the Virginia line and Charles Town will be built north of the existing W.Va. 9 and will begin at the Charles Town Bypass near Belvedere Heights.

From the bypass heading east, the road parallels Cattail Run until it reaches the Shenandoah River. At the river, a bridge approximately 180 feet to 200 feet high will be built to carry the highway across the Shenandoah, said David Clevenger, head of the consulting and review section for the highway department's engineering division.


The road will proceed up the Blue Ridge Mountain and hook into existing W.Va. 9 at the top of the Blue Ridge Mountain, according to plans.

The Environmental Impact Statement, a report which explains how the project will affect natural resources, historic sites and businesses, has been approved by the federal highway administration, Clevenger said.

The federal highway administration is also expected to sign what is called the "Record of Decision," which is the last federal environmental action needed before the state highways department can proceed with construction, Clevenger said.

Unless the highways department receives significant public comments that would cause the department to reconsider the proposed route for the first phase, that is the route that will be used, Clevenger said during an informational meeting at Wright Denny Elementary School.

The highways department could be finished with the final engineering design of the new road by spring and have right-of-way acquisition completed by mid- to late summer, Clevenger said.

About three houses, mostly near the Blue Ridge Mountain, will be taken for the road, he said.

Construction of the first phase will take between two and three years, said Clevenger.

More than 30 citizens came to the informational meeting Thursday evening to learn about the proposed route.

Mike Irving, who lives in Tuscawilla Hills near Charles Town, said he wants to make sure the road poses no significant impacts to environmental resources or historical structures. After reviewing the plans, he said he is content with the proposed route.

The need for road is unquestionable, Irving said. Irving said he commutes to his job as an air traffic controller in Leesburg, Va., on W.Va. 9 every day and the road is jammed with commuters.

John Porter, on the other hand, has serious concerns about the road. Porter, who is an engineer, said the four-lane road will require an immense amount of fill as it crosses waterways like Double Run as it extends up the mountain.

Porter said from his calculations, it will require a dumptruck load of fill every 30 seconds for 400 days to fill in the low areas around Double Run. Porter said highways officials have been unable to say where the required fill will come from.

"That is a tremendously large environmental impact. That really worries us," Porter said.

Clevenger said the fill needed around the Double Run area could come from other areas along the highway route where construction crews have to dig out areas to put the road in. Construction crews can also enter into agreements from landowners to obtain fill from their land, Clevenger said.

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