Our vehicle was one of the first to "hit the road", when the U.S. Route 33 connector to Ravenswood opened Tuesday, and just like Corridor D in the Parkersburg Area, it's seen as a economic "plus" for Meigs County, Ohio.
It's been a dream for nearly four decades; a modern roadway linking West Virginia's capital with Ohio's, but like a lot of projects serving this area, it was a long time in coming.
"From 1975 to 1991, I was an advocate for this project," says George Collins, Deputy Director of District 10 of the Ohio Department of Highways. "And, for some reason, we didn't get too much accomplished."
Even after the William Ritchie Bridge over the Ohio River was completed in 1981, the road to link it with the outskirts of Pomeroy, Ohio took 20 years to happen.
"Economic development does not completely happen overnight,' said Gov. Bob Taft, on hand for the ribbon-cutting ceremony. "That's because this area has not been connected completely with highway and transportation access."
For some time, this bridge behind me has been called "a bridge to nowhere", but with the opening of the connector, it now goes somewhere and back.
"The highways will change this region forever, giving us good transportation access," says Meigs County Development Director Perry Varnadoe, "and developable land. It will make a huge difference in our economy for the next generation."
But the skepticism about economic growth may continue, as long as the region continues to have unemployment rates that are among the highest in the state. Construction on the project began in May of 2001, and cost nearly $52 million to complete.
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