Friday, May 22, 2009

Letter from Hampshire County Commission on Byway Status

County of Hampshire
Office of County Commission
Court House Building
Romney, West Virginia 26757

Date: May 22, 2009
To: Route 50 Association
From: Hampshire County Commission
Subject: Scenic Byway Designation of U.S. Route 50

Dear Route 50 Associations Members,

This letter is concerning the designation of U.S. Route 50 as a Scenic Byway through Hampshire County. After serious thought and consideration, the County Commission of Hampshire County has decided to not pursue this issue; however, we do offer our support to any other member of the Association that wishes to designate their portions of the highway as a Scenic Byway. Our major concerns over this issue arise from the U.S. Route 50 being Hampshire County's major access road, and the designation may inhibit commercial development due to signage regulation imposed with the designation. We are also in pursuit of numerous upgrades along the Hampshire County section of Route 50, of which a byway designation would in fact bring about conflict.

We again offer our support of other counties; however we must decline in the joint pursuit to designate the entire stretch of U.S. Route 50 as a Scenic Byway, as we wish Hampshire County to remain un-designated.

Thank you,
Steve Slonaker, President
Hampshire County Commission

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Letter to Robert Byrd

US Senator Robert C. Byrd
311 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510 May 20, 2009

Dear Senator Byrd:

We are writing to urge your support of the appropriations request from US Senator Ben Cardin(D-MD) for the US 220 portion of the proposed North-South Appalachian Corridor in West Virginia and Maryland. Additionally, WVDOT needs approximately $ 2.5 million for its portion of these bi-state preliminary engineering studies required by NEPA.

In a cooperative four state (PA, MD, WV, VA) feasibility study it was forecast that a relocated US 220 four(4) lane divided highway between Interstate 68 in Cumberland, Maryland and Corridor H in West Virginia would generate a 19% increase in permanent jobs or over 8,000 from an existing job base of 43,350 within West Virginia and Maryland. An additional approximately 2,500 jobs would be generated when US Route 219 from I-68 in Maryland to the Pennsylvania Turnpike (I-70/76) in Somerset, PA is completed as the northern leg of the North-South Appalachian Corridor.

That is huge for the Potomac Highlands region of our State and your support is critical in this effort.

Wayne Spiggle,
Mineral Co. Commissioner

Cc: Governor Joe Manchin lll
Congressman Alan Mollohan
Congesswoman Shelly Moore Capito
Secretary Paul A. Mattox

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Preston County Minutes May, 2009


May 20th, 2009

Recorded Attendees: Gary Howell – Mineral County, Robert Harman – Mineral County, Wayne Spiggle-Mineral County Commission, Arvin Harsh – Preston County, Mona Ridder – MCDA, Brian Carr – WVDOH, Chris Strovel – Congresswoman Capito’s office, Dave Moe – Garrett Co. Dev. Com, Dave Price – Preston County, Evelyn Baker – Hampshire County, Delores Stemple – Aurora, WV, David Stemple - Aurora, WV, Charles Baker – Hampshire County Planning Commission, Daniel Haskins – WVDOH, Matthew Hastings – WVDOH, Betty Spiggle – Mineral County, Larry Weaver – WVDOH Preston County, Cate Johnson – Congressman Alan Mollohan’s office.

Introductions: Dave Price, Preston County Commissioner welcomed everyone to the meeting stating, Wayne Spiggle then opened the meeting by requesting each county introduce themselves as a group. He made special recognition of former Delegate Robert Harman from Keyser.

Correspondence: None

Old Business: David Moe provided a copy of a funding request letter for the North/South US 220 Corridor Tier 1 study. The letter can be found on the US 50 Association website. David went on to say that the Tier 1 study was originally to start in 03/04 and take 18 to 24 months. The completion date was pushed back to 2007 and that has still not been met.

The intersection of US 50 and WV 24 was discussed and Brian Carr of WVDOH said a speed study should start in June when weather will allow the installation of traffic study devices. After the study, the traffic engineering division will make a recommendation which may require a public meeting if changes are indicated. Brian Carr acknowledged that the intersection needs to be redesigned, but because of funding restraints and priorities that it precludes it at this time. Larry Weaver indicated that the grade of the intersection makes the project more expensive than other improvement projects.

David Moe spoke about the Corridor O project and stated that it may not go anywhere. Chris Strovel of Congresswoman Capito’s office stated the Congresswoman believes that the extension of Corridor O could reduce funding for other ADHS corridors in the state. Cate Johnson of Congressman Mollohan’s office indicated that no co-sponsors had signed on to H.R. 1489 the Corridor O extension bill.

Congresswoman Capito did introduce a request for ten million dollars in improvements to US 50 in Hampshire County to improve safety and traffic flow.

Wayne Spiggle requested the group consider requesting Scenic Byway status for US 50 over the length from the Virginia state line to Interstate 79. Robert Harman objected stating that Scenic Byway’s are anti-business and they stop signage along the route. Wayne Spiggle disagreed. He stated the Byway allows access to grants to celebrate the highway and that is pro-business. He stated that advertising is not affected because it is only eliminated in the areas that have intrinsic value. Gary Howell disagreed asking if the area of the Saddle Mountain overlook was considered an area with intrinsic value and it was stated so. Howell went on to explain that that also happened to be the intersection of US 50 and WV 42 and by eliminating signage it would damage the businesses in Elk Garden and the Jennings Randolph Lake area as they would not be able to direct traffic to their locations.

Howell also read from the July 21st, 2004 minutes of the US 50 Association, “There are strict sign regulations such as been brought to light by the George’s Creek Coal Heritage Trail. The [Scenic Byway] Task Force recommends tabling this issue until dual lane and alternate routes can be reviewed which may leave portions of the original roadbeds to be designated as Scenic By-ways.” Scenic Byway status is anti-business.

Brian Carr stated that US 60 through most of West Virginia was a Scenic Byway and it was successful. Robert Harman reminded that Interstate 64 also paralleled US 60 for business and US 50 had no such companion.

Com. Spiggle stated he had distributed information to all the involved county commissions and he had spoken with them verbally and they were in agreement to request Byway status for US 50. Charles Baker, representing the Hampshire County Commission, objected and stated that Com. Spiggle was mistaken and that Hampshire County after reviewing all documentation felt that Byway designation may inhibit commercial development due signage regulation imposed and that their efforts to upgrade the road would be in conflict with the Scenic By designation.

Com. Spiggle then stated that the US 50 Association would not pursue the status for the full length, but that Mineral County would pursue it alone. He then invited those opposed to the Byway status to come to a Mineral County Commission meeting to voice their objections.

New Business: It was suggested that a letter be sent to Congresswoman Capito for her efforts to get ten million in funding for US 50. David Moe said it would be more appropriate to thank all of the Congressional delegation for their efforts.

It was requested that the state look at paving areas of US 50 in eastern Preston County. Both Larry Weaver and Brian Carr of WVDOH explained how the cost of asphalt was hindering the state in expanding paving projects, but they would look into the possibility.

July Meeting:

Taylor County is next on the schedule to host the July 15th, 2009 meeting a t a place to be determined.

Meeting Adjourned at 2:04

Tentative Meeting Schedule

15 July 2009 – Taylor County

16 September 2009 – Hampshire County

18 November 2009 – Mineral County

20 January 2010 – Grant County

Monday, May 18, 2009

Agenda May 20th, 2009 Meeting - Preston County

May 20th, 2009

Preston County Meeting Agenda

Melanie’s Restaurant

US 50 next to Cathedral State Forest

Aurora, WV 26705

I. 12:00 Lunch

II. 1:00 Introductions

III. Minutes of Previous Meeting

IV. Correspondence

V. Old Business

a. WV24/US50 Intersection (update) – Bill Woods

b. Corridor O Extension Request Letter – David Moe

c. US 220 Tier 2 Funding Request Letter – David Moe

d. Scenic By Way Status – Wayne Spiggle

VI. New Business

a. US 50 Assoc. Position on Corridor H– Wayne Spiggle

b. US 220 Status – David Moe

VII. Regional Issues

VIII. Citizens Concerns

IX. Volunteer host site for next meeting – Taylor County

X. Adjourn

Tentative Meeting Schedule

15 July 2009 – Taylor County

16 September 2009 – Hampshire County

18 November 2009 – Mineral County

20 January 2010 – Grant County