Heading South

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As our quick trip along the stretch from Route 47 to Route 95 proved, this road is already in mostly drivable position. In fact, the hope was that it would be open to traffic by mid-August.

Engineer George Shinsky with the West Virginia Department of Highways says Labor Day is a more likely timetable.

"We wouldn't probably want to open it up based on our traffic and engineering information," Shinsky says, "until we get the couple of traffic lights working on Fifth Street, so there won't be any traffic problems."

The benefit of this latest phase of the project will be for motorists heading to the main part of Parkersburg from Interstate 77. They can exit near the Fifth Street Bridge to go directly to the downtown area.

Shinsky says it will also have benefits for people heading in the opposite direction.

"If you're from the southside and want to get to Williamstown," Shinsky says, "you can get on our new open section of Route 50 and save several minutes of time."

And it may also be the first look many residents have of Corridor D's reality, not just its promise.

Shinsky says all of the Corridor D projects are now under contract, with the exception of the final phase, construction of the bridge across the Ohio River to Belpre.