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Balance economic, environmental goals when building Corridor H

Corridor H has moved from being a controversial topic for most people in north central West Virginia to one of acceptance that the highway will eventually be built. Perhaps this has occurred in no small part because both major political parties in the state see the need for the 132-mile route from Interstate 79 at Weston to the Virginia border.

However, there is still some opposition to the massive road-building project, including the West Virginia chapter of the Sierra Club, which was among 15 plaintiffs that filed a lawsuit against its construction during the 1996 campaign.

The lawsuit was eventually settled with an agreement that allowed the highway construction to proceed in piecemeal fashion by breaking the remaining 100 proposed miles into nine independent segments.

Corridor H Alternatives, another plaintiff in the lawsuit, continues to oppose the completion of the highway as designed by the Division of Highways. This group favors upgrades to current roads in some areas and supports the four-lane in others.

We think that work needs to continue on sections that already have received approval. And we see the need to complete the four-lane highway to the Virginia border, while being cognizant of environmental concerns.

West Virginia's economy can only benefit from being less isolated from major markets in the East, and Corridor H is one way to alleviate that problem.

Listening to environmentalists' concerns is prudent, though. A good balance must be achieved by constructing a highway with economic and environmental goals in mind.

Today's editorial reflects the opinion of the Exponent editorial board, which is comprised of James G. Logue, Kevin S. Courtney, Patrick M. Martin, Matt Harvey, Nora Edinger and J. Cecil Jarvis.

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