Jefferson County Commissioner suggests building emergency road on Blue Ridge Mountain

January 10, 2008|By DAVE McMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.VA. ? A Jefferson County official suggested Thursday that the county should explore the possibility of building a new road on the Blue Ridge Mountain that would help handle a potential wave of traffic from a disaster like a terrorist attack.

If a terrorist attack or some other emergency occurred in one of the nearby metropolitan areas to the East, traffic coming over the mountain likely would be overwhelming, Jefferson County Commissioner Greg Corliss said.

Not only would travel over the mountain be difficult, but people who live there would be hampered from traveling as well, Corliss said.

"They're going to be stuck up there. The roads will just shut down," Corliss said.

W.Va. 9 is the primary east-west route over the mountain and it is used heavily by commuters. The road heads into Hillsboro, Va., and Corliss said he has been told that 16,000 vehicles a day pass through Hillsboro.


Corliss suggested a new road be explored for the mountain area. It could be a road that would he open only for emergencies, he said.

Jefferson County Sheriff Everett "Ed" Boober, who was not at Thursday's regular commission meeting, said perhaps another bridge could be built across the Shenandoah River to facilitate traffic flow in an emergency.

There is a bridge that carries W.Va. 9 traffic over the Shenandoah River.

Boober said the bridge could only be a one-lane span, and like the emergency road, only open during emergencies.

Commissioner Rusty Morgan suggested that perhaps the Division of Highways could study the issue.

Commissioner Dale Manuel said a resolution in support of the idea from the West Virginia House of Delegates and state Senate could be helpful.

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