Corridor D Gets a Federal Look

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Representatives of the Federal Highway Department and the Appalachian Regional Commission both say the benefits of Corridor D aren't confined to the cities of Parkersburg, Vienna and Belpre.

"It creates opportunities for other factories or businesses that want to relocate near that transportation corridor," said Federal Highway Administrator Mary Peters. "Very often, if they're in a congested area, businesses are more reluctant to relocate in there, so that's why we say it brings opportunities for economic development."

The final part of the project is the linking of the bridge across the Ohio River near Blennerhassett Island. That's comparable to the construction of the transcontinental railroad in the 1800's. All that's missing is a golden spike.

Instead, Belpre is already seeing the results of the bridge that hasn't even been built yet.

"We've already received some benefits by the new medical center which has come because of Corridor D," said Belpre Mayor Bill McAfee. "We're looking forward to more businesses locating toward (Route) 339 or toward Belpre."

A plan recently was approved which will shave the cost of the bridge project by about $50 million and reduce its construction time by a year.