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

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