Corridor D: The Latest

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The year 2002 may be remembered as the year that nearly all of the major construction work on the massive Corridor D project got under way. The only major phase that hasn't been started is construction of a bridge to Ohio, which has been going through a redesign.

"(The Ohio Department of Highways) will probably wait until the Ohio River Bridge gets under contract," says Darin Simpson of the West Virginia Division of Highways. "This fall, everything should be under contract from I-77 to the Ohio River."

Reporters were shown the two biggest phases of construction work from this year.

One is the paring down of a hillside near Fort Boreman Hill, and work to Marrtown Road. The other is the clearing of land along 7th Street and Old Route 50.

"There'll be some retaining walls built near Worthington Creek," says Marvin Vernatter of the project contractor, Bizzack, Incorporated. "Then, the ramps will be installed. We had a very wet spring, but we had good luck this summer. Things are going very well."

We made in five minutes, the trip from Route 50 near Interstate 77 to Staunton Avenue along Parkersburg's city limits. Normally, that trip would last 10 to 15 minutes. Much has been made of the economic impact of the new road. But one lawmaker believes that impact should extend beyond the service business.

"I want to see very high-paying jobs," says delegate John Ellem, "something along the lines of the manufacturing jobs that are being lost. Those jobs are hard to replace, and I think the best way to replace them it through high-tech industry."

One engineer says the bulk of the paving work on the West Virginia side of the project should be completed by the end of the current construction season.

Wednesday night, the eastbound lanes of 7th Street in Parkersburg, which had been closed due to Corridor D construction this summer, were reopened to traffic.