Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Grafton Meeting

U.S. Route 50 Association
Minutes for November 16, 2005
Senior Center
Grafton, West Virginia


David C. Beard Garrett Commissioner - Jennifer Bonnette, Preston
Crady Hampshire, Brian WVDOH – Charleston, Vicki Preston
Commissioner, Larry Cooper Grafton, WV, Dick Feigley Grantsville, MD, Arvin Harsh
Preston/Eglon, Gary Mineral, Jon Blair Hunter WV Senate, Peggy Jamison Garrett, Dave Preston
Commissioner, James Smith –Taylor, Wayne Spiggle Facilitator/Mineral Com., David Preston,
L. Darwin Wolfe Preston Commissioner

Meeting was called to order by Dr. Wayne Spiggle at 1:00 p.m. and
self introductions were made around the room.


Minutes from the September 21, 2005 meeting were reviewed.

Regional Review:

Brian Carr presented a draft of the U.S. 50 Needs Study. He stated
that it is now in a user friendly format for the purpose of
leveraging funds from state and federal sources. He reported that
Maryland has not presented any items for the wish list. The group
still has time to review and make changes.

Wayne Spiggle recommended that Center Line Reflectors be installed
along Rt. 50 to help with visibility in foggy areas. Brian Carr
cautioned against reflectors because snow plows tend to destroy
them. He reported that the state instead favors repainting the road
lines. The group asked if the painting schedule could be more
frequent. Brian Carr reported that the painting schedule is based on
a statewide contract and that he would check the current schedule for
the group. He also recommended calling the district level with these
types of problems. Senator Hunter asked that local leaders write to
the state and request that the center lines be painted twice a year.
Arvin Harsh stated that painting the road lines would not be enough.
He asked that the group investigate further the idea of installing
Center Line Reflectors. Brian Carr stated that he would research the

Senator Hunter reported that for safety reasons and to help with
drainage, he is investigating paving roads to the birm.

Senator Hunter reported that he reviewed the Governor’s six year plan
and noticed that no new funding was allocated to address the group’s
projects. Brian Carr reported that at this point the only way one of
the group’s projects could be included is if one of the projects
listed in the plan would drop-off. He stated that the majority of
the funding will be going for long-term projects like King Coal
and the Appalachian Highway System. The group recommended
investigating other avenues of funding. The group discussed past
trips to Washington, DC for the purposes of receiving federal funding.

Old Business:

No response from Taylor County officials regarding the group’s
efforts to receive input. The group felt that perhaps Taylor County
officials were not properly notified of the meeting. L. Darwin Wolfe
recommended that his office send a written invitation to the Taylor
County Commission informing them about the next U.S. Rt. 50 Meeting.
The group agreed with this request.


The meeting was adjourned at 2:30 p.m. The next meeting is
tentatively scheduled for the third Wednesday of January in Garrett
County, Maryland at the Cornish Manor.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Preston County Meeting

U. S. Route 50 Association

Minutes for September 21, 2005 Meeting

Melanie’s Family Restaurant

Aurora, West Virginia 26705


Wayne Spiggle


Facilitator / Mineral

Dave Sypolt


Michael Bland


David Stemple


Delores Stemple


Mona Ridder



Arvin Harsh


Preston / Eglon

Dave Moe



L. Darwin Wolfe

265-1658 or 265-1659

Preston Commissioner

Evelyn Baker



Gary Howell



Brian Carr


WVDOH – Charleston

Vicki Cole


Preston Commissioner

William Wood


WVDOH – Charleston

Terri L. Funk


Preston Assessor & COC

Dave Price


Preston Commissioner

Peggy Jamison



Robert Amtower


WVDOH – District Five


Meeting was called to order by Dr. Wayne Spiggle at 1:00 PM and self introductions were made around the room.


Minutes from the July 20, 2005 meeting were reviewed and approved as written.

Comments on “Building of U. S. Route 50:

Presented by Arvin Harsh, a brief discussion about how U. S. Route 50 was built with manual labor and horses. Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone made visits to see about logging and industrialization of the areas along where U. S. Route 50 now resides.

Regional Review:

Hampshire County, reported by Evelyn Baker, said Senator Byrd has been helpful. A letter from Senator Byrd’s office was read to the group. A study and report dated August 4, 2005 from WVDOH Planning and Research Division which reviews and analyses safety along the US Route 50 will be forwarded. The 6 year plan is updated every quarter and is next published to cover January 2006 through December 2011. The six year plan is published on the Internet at:

To successfully promote US Route 50 improvements, we must have Governor Manchin on board with our agenda. Some funding has been extended for homeland security which may be a source for transportation improvements also. The Federal Highway Bill passed but the State must match funds.

There were two fatal car accidents near Capon and one new fatality in Hampshire.

Mineral County, reported by Robert Amtown, there have been several accidents at U. S. Route 50 and U. S. Route 220 at top of Knobley Mountain. It has been recommended that an all way stop be installed there to force drivers to stop and look. Public is generally against that plan. The Director of Transportation has personally viewed the intersection. Possible help by installing a rumble strip.

Grant County is dealing with the Corp of Engineers on road improvements.

Garrett County, reported by Peggy Jamison, was focusing on improvements with the intersections of U. S. Route 50 with Routes 219 and 560.

Preston County, reported by L. Darwin Wolfe, expects minimal improvements on U. S. Route 50. We have some areas needing guide (guard) rail installation and improvements. The bank East of the intersection at Fellowsville School needs scraped back to improve site distance; also, Route 24 and U. S. Route 50 intersection at Aurora should be converted into a “T” intersection. The Commission has primarily been working with the Preston County Chamber of Commerce to improve WV Route 7.

Taylor County has not been represented at the last few meetings.

Old Business:

Bill Wood and Brian Carr reported that with State matching funds for Federal Highway Dollars, there will be $3 million in U. S. Route 50 improvements this year alone. The cost are approximately $50 – 60 k per mile to re-surface and $275 – 400 k per mile for upgrade to Federal standards. A question was asked about clear zones beside highways and who is responsible if a tree falls on a highway.

On North – South Corridor to connect Corridor H with Interstate 68, Dave Moe cited an “upper management delay.” Bill Wood reported that in 2003 funding became available and very little else was done. In 2004 mapping was updated, a memo of understanding between the administration and environmental, and a short list was compiled by late fall. Some environmental issues were settled in January 2005 and a Tier 1 study was begun. Expected to have a scope settled in next two months.

Dave Moe stated that it is not beneficial to jump ahead quickly without exhausting the environmental studies and carefully planning with regard to environmental impacts.

New Business:

An attempt will be made to get involvement from Taylor County; an effort should be made to make new contacts and attempt to get input from their County Officials.

We discussed having the meetings every two months and decided to continue on that schedule.

It was decided to continue dialogue with US Senator Byrd’s office and work to get Governor Manchin on board with the economic stimulus of improving U. S. Route 50. Tourism through motorcycle and bicycle sponsored events will bring dollars into the area and place a focus on the importance of U. S. Route 50. We have o be careful that our efforts do not preclude the ability to improve U. S. Route 50 for future industry and commerce.


The meeting was adjourned at 2:18 PM. We will attempt to get a meeting set up for Taylor County with the help of their officials on the third Wednesday of November. Dinner at 12:00 and meeting at 1:00 PM

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Grant County Meeting Minutes



MAY 18, 2005




Grant County Commission President Charles L. Goldizen, Jr. welcomed those in attendance to Grant County. Introductions of representatives and their interests were presented.

Dr. Spiggle reminded the group of the history associated with the formation and subsequent mission of the Rt. 50 association. On a small scale, this organization is cooperating with the “WV Vision Shared” program and the wishes of Governor Joe Manchin to promote regional networks to address issues.


HAMPSHIRE COUNTY- Hampshire County reported a fatal traffic accident on Rt. 50 south of the US 29 intersection. This is an area that has been identified as problematic. Mr. Brian Carr, WVDOH, stated that the accident reporting data used by DOH is based on a three (3) year cycle. This data would not include this most current tragedy due the timing of the report cycle.

Hampshire County reported that there will be an increase of over 400 jobs in the Industrial Park at Capon Bridge. This will increase traffic along that section of Rt. 50.

The representation from Hampshire County introduced the topic of a name for Rt. 50. They would like to see the route named the North Western Turnpike. The facilitator asked that this issue be deferred for discussion as a separate agenda item.

MINERAL COUNTY-A school bus in Mineral County nearly missed a collision on Rt. 50 in Mineral County recently due to heavy fog.

GRANT COUNTY- Grant County has no significant information to report.

GARRETT COUNTY-There have been no recent accidents in Garrett County. Maintenance along Rt. 50 continues with no major projects anticipated for this year,

PRESTON COUNTY- Mr. Arvin Harsh appeared before the association regarding his concerns that overhanging trees pose high accident potentials. He circulated photos showing shadowing, overhanging limbs, and tree at dangerous fall angles. At a prior Association meeting Senator Mike Ross stated that areas of potential tree impact should be reported to the local department of highways for review. B. Carr explained that the local DOH is the correct route for these concerns and that this agency would review the impact removal and or trimming of the trees will have on the overall safety of the road.



FUNDING-The Rt. 50 Association revisited the general funding for State Roads. Unfortunately the needs of Rt. 50 exceed the amount of available. The WVDOH is still very uncertain about the share of Federal dollars that will be received for projects within West Virginia. A list of cost estimates for the identified improvements for Rt 50 had been given to Mr. Carr. He presented the costs determined to date for all projects except the passing lane near the Rt. 29 S intersection. The preliminary estimate, prepared on the suggestions given by the Rt. 50 Association, exceeds 30 million dollars. Mr. Carr explained that the WVDOH is presently compiling a six (6) year plan for improvements and repairs to state roads. This plan will prioritize projects based on several factors including usage and funds available. This is a work in progress and there is no order yet established. He also reminded everyone that Federal funds obtained must be matched by State dollars. This shrinks the pool of funds budgeted for projects as each Federal match is required. Representatives from Hampshire County were given the Rt. 50 improvement estimate to present for Federal funding. Mr. Carr suggested that the association review this list and prioritize the projects in relationship to merit for each county in terms of safety and capacity. Presently Rt. 50 averages a 5-6,000 traffic count with Hampshire County reaching 10-11,000 in some areas.

CURRENT PROJECTS APPROVED-Mr. B. Carr informed those present of two (2) projects that are currently underway along Rt. 50.

(1) Pruntytown Center Turn Lane- Some right-of-way issues are holding up progress but construction is expected to be complete by late summer of early fall.

(2) Taylor County-Construction along the Belgian Hill area has been funded but construction is expected to be delayed until 2008.

DISCUSSION ON NAMING RT 50- The WV Statewide Mapping and Addressing Council is requiring all counties within the state to name roadways. Dr. Spiggle addressed the issue of different areas assigning different names to Rt. 50. Hampshire County has chosen to name the road the North Western Turnpike. The counties of Garrett and Preston have names their portion of the road the George Washington Highway. Grant County has received comment from residents in the Mt. Storm area wanting the name to be George Washington Highway. Discussion occurred regarding the various historical reasons behind each name. The ultimate decision resides with the County Commissioners in each County. Those present agreed that the naming of Rt 50 would be decided on the individual County level.

NEXT MEETING: The next meeting of the Rt. 50 Association will be held on Wednesday, July 20, 2005 at the Coca-Cola plant in Romney.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Taylor County Meeting

Rt. 50 Group meeting

Held at Taylor County Senior Center

March 16th, 2005 @ 1:00 pm

Sign – in Sheet

1) Diane Parker Taylor Cty Planning Commission

2) Dick Feigley Garrett Co. (Solid Waste)

3) David W. Gobel Taylor Cty Commission

4) Chad Swick Taylor Cty Dev. Authority

5) Ron Swick Taylor Cty Planning Commission

6) Dave Beard Garrett Co. Commissioner

7) Peggy Jamison Garrett County

8) Robert (Buck) True Barbour Cty Rd. Comm

9) Spencer Wooddell Taylor Cty Planning Commission

10) R. Darion Wolfe Preston Cty Comm

11) Robert L. Knotts Taylor Cty Planning Comm

12) Rob Watson WVDOH/Planning

13) William Wood WVDOH/Planning & Res Div

14) Brian Carr WVDOH/Planning & Res Div

15) Joe Mattalion BCEDA-Philippi

16) Don Smith Barbour

17) Rise Straight Mountain Statesman

18) Evelyn Baker Hampshire Cty Planning

19) Charles Baker Mineral County Planning

20) Larry Weaver Preston DOH

21) James M. Smith Taylor County

22) Tony J. Veltri Taylor County Commission

23) Ken Musgrave Mineral County

24) Gary Howell Mineral

25) Arvin Marsh Preston

Suggested Agenda:


County by County update, including accident report for the last two months

Update on planning process … Bill Woods, Brian Carr and Associates

Report of Funding Committee … Deb Clatterbuck, Gary Howell, Eleanor Baker, Darwin Wolfe, Ken Musgrave

Review of WVU study on funding issues … Wayne and others

Comments on regional transportation issues … Buck True and others

Potential Web Page… Ken Musgrave, Gary Howell

Next steps and next venue (We haven’t met in Grant County yet.)

Agenda sent by prior email

Introductions – see signup attendance

Brief recap of mission of Rt 50 Assoc. and Strategic Plan

High degree of interest continues after 1 ½ yrs meeting – floating locations in Counties covered by group.

Counties – regions working together for common goals – also important to current Gov. and admin as was last.

All levels of government are acknowledging the efforts of group and “one voice”

County –by-county update

Hampshire; Mineral; Garrett; Preston; Taylor

Absent: Grant

[Funding sources will be discussed in greater detail]

Dave ask where TC projects stand w/state – B. Carr said that 1 (Pruntytown) is held because of historical – but we say has been resolved – always excuses given –

We’ve had 169 accidents in just a 1 ½-1 ¾ mile section of Rt.50 from hosp to 4-corners over the last 4 yrs.

State update of planning process

Brian – 33 sections broken out for accident comparisons –

15 below statewide average

7 just at

10 above or significantly higher than statewide average

“Wish” list – needs further analysis – Taylor County ahead of game because much research and background info done

79 projects on list – including Taylor County.

There was a TC study from Harrison to Grafton but not from Grafton to Preston (East) – needs reviewed and any projects added to list ASAP in order to be considered per Carr – running out of time

Larry Weaver – some on list are small – some he has been able to address directly –reminds us we should also be working w/local depts. For i.e.: guardrails, speed limits, (small project)

Might not be immediate but will be done [ditches, slides] – few thousand dollar price range.

“State” list ranges form $100,000 – to millions.

Prioritize list by state reps – requested last meeting. Hampshire reports they have completed and given to Carr.

List of projects “programmed” but awaiting funding – Carr said may have been handed out last meeting – Doesn’t have today – we requested it!

32 mil – Hampshire

10 mil – Taylor

Dave told about our meeting on 23rd and need last estimates ASAP

We ask that he redistribute this list “quickly” after this meeting for our reference – He said he has it in his box somewhere and will do his best.

Talked about project that was delayed in Romney and has been in system for 12yrs.

May be other issues – outdated permits or docs – but they will check and try to resurrect.

There is some discrepancy about info from Maddix about missing permits, as Evelyn Baker reports those permits are in the Planning Commission file in Hampshire.

Gary Howell is working w/subgroup for Federal funding but must have list.

In State: 1.5 Billion of Unfunded projects on Books right now.

Things are tight and DOH has been telling folks for years.

WVU conducted studies in order to be independent. He works w/road fund a lot. Federal aid gets about 1 bil/yr – but before any projects can be funded:

Debt Service for Road Bonds – 50mil/yr – 2012

Admin Cost – ie: equip – not salaries 45 mil

Routine Maint – roads/bridges – 320 mil/yr

576 mil per year in State Revenue

450 mil spoken for

115 mil left to use for Fed matching funds or 400/mil per year

Only leaves about 20 mil per year for any/all projects throughout state!

State revenues continue to decrease because of fuel costs going up.

FEAR – if new highway bill goes through and we get 15-20% increase in match – if they (state) get it – they might not qualify because revenues down.

DOH employees cut – 10,000 down to less than 5,000

No way to continue to cut their own budgets.

Now’s the time to get in on ground floor and put name in hat but not a real expectation to be able to add our projects

DMV is not part of DOH – separate agency and DMV gets funds 1st before DOH

State Police 6 or 7 mil

Now increasing request to 9 mil in order to continue to patrol –

All of these come out of same “pie”. Used to be paid from General Fund but now shifted to highways.

Even Robert Byrd (a genius for getting WV funding) is no longer effectively getting federal highway funds.

70 mil – Appalachian Corridor

40 mil – Interstat

40 mil – NHS – National Highway System (1873 miles in state now)

?) from Spencer – should we seek “National Historic Highway Status”

A) A lot of our requests are Safety related – 5 mil per year

For this group is it better to be NHS? It does have to be voted on - but tabled by group currently –

It was the consensus of the group that “Historic” status hurts us per Howell - - Fed funding is preferred

?) What do we need to do to enable them to get projects

A) We are on right track – get money line – itemed for our projects.

“Magic Money” best from Fed. Budget – doesn’t require state funds (matching) but very hard to get.

Get on Fed. List – keep it simple or we won’t progress

This is band aid – need long term fix – to have revenue increase per WVU Study and recommendations

Private funding only happens through tolls – no one likes and traffic not great enough to sustain consideration

They can take/seek donations from Private Enterprise who needs access – public/private partnering is possible in this respect.

Any of us can download WVU study @

Regional issues – Buck True talked about “creative packaging” of road projects.

Frank Moretti article quoted – is great safety concerns and does cause greatest risk

Rural Roads – High unacceptable risks

Buck has a limited stretch of 50 he is presenting – it is a big project but not all of our wish list – mostly Barbour County.

Byrd relies on DOH to give him priorities but will keep True informed of funding as it is sent.

If we (in solidarity) go down and lobby House/Senate we will get farther as an Association

Web page – Ken Musgrave and Gary Howell – update:

They will create and publish a web site for the association to serve as an informational site. Also will upload historical post card images of Rt. 50 to show nothing has changed.

Summary – Wayne

Next steps

- complete wish list and studies – almost done

- Funding revenues

- One voice in Charleston/Fed.

- Web Page

Will meet in Grant next – location/date/time TBA in email.

Other business/comments

Chad Swick - Thanks to TC Comm for food and McDonald’s drinks

Mr. Harsh – 1st meeting he attended but suggested Merger/Passing lanes’ talked about 219 and relocation of corridor H and its potential effects on economic development and Rt 50 connectors will/may become important; guard rails should be buried – several other comments about Aurora (overhand of trees –widowmaker)and econ dev.

He appreciates leadership of the association.

Wayne advised him to seek approval through his County Commission

Dave Gobel – consider the following as very possibly going to happen in future –scenario:

I79 shut down and all traffic routed on 50-119 if accident(s). All Northern state traffic stops! A sobering note to end upon.

Meeting adjourned at 2:15 p.m.

Friday, January 21, 2005



Purpose and Mission of a Route 50 Association
The mission of the Association is to improve U.S. Route 50 from the Virginia line to Clarksburg WV so that this road will fulfill modern day safety standards and will more effectively function as an essential transportation artery complimentary to Corridor H, an improved north-south corridor and other transportation initiatives. In order to accomplish this goal the Association must:
• Be representative of the entire region effected;
• Become cooperators, not competitors, on this issue;
• Maintain a non-partisan approach;
• Agree on the priorities involved in Rt. 50 improvement;
• Present a unified front to responsible government agencies;
• Actively inform the public about what must be done and how to do it;
• Assess Department of Transportation budget priorities and make certain this region is in full parity with the rest of the state;
• Celebrate our successes and remain positive in our approach.

Forming the Association
Hampshire, Mineral, Grant, Garrett, Preston, Taylor, Tucker, Barbour and Harrison County Commissions will be invited to form the core group and to ask their offices for economic development, public safety (Sheriff or 911 Director), Chamber of Commerce and tourism office to participate. Therefore, voting members of the Association will be representatives of the County Commission with a public safety official, economic development/planning, tourism and the Chamber of Commerce in each of the aforementioned counties participating. The public at large will be invited and encouraged to participate as ex-officio members.

Activities of the Association
Meetings of the Association will be held bi-monthly, with a rotating venue so that an even number of meetings are held in each of the membership regions. All meetings will be open to the public and representatives of the WV and MD Department of Highways will be urged to attend each meeting. Proceedings of each meeting will be reported to all constituencies in order to encourage a representative process.

Expected Outcome of the Association
It is expected that by presenting a unified front, a cooperative approach, a studied assessment and a successful public information program, the current unacceptable status of U.S. Rt. 50 will be transformed into a modern and safe roadway. To the extent that this is done, U.S. Rt. 50 will function more effectively as an essential regional link to economic development opportunities and promotion of tourism, thus enhancing the quality of life and future prospects for the entire region.