Corridor H roadtrip

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SP Cook

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Aug 4, 2003, 7:40:08 AM8/4/03
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Over the weekend I got to take a roadtrip over the route of the
oft-discussed Corridor H.

I will start in the east.

Virginia has resigned the exit at Strasburg as "US 48/VA 55 -
Strasburg". And all of the road signs on the road up to the line are
also co-signed "US 48/VA 55". (There is no end sign at I-81 for US 48
heading east). This is fine, except it seems like Virginia is jumping
the gun by about 10 years, and a eventually a control city (Elkins, WV
would seem right) would be needed for the sign as well. The US 48
signs die at the state line.

Virginia uses "WV State Line" as a destination on this road. Not
unusual in VA.

The road construction starts just west of Wardensville. Traffic flow
is maintained, but multiple "Your highway taxes at work signs" (all
signed for WV 55) with different money figures on them. Some
mis-signed as US 55. No use of US 48.

The completed section starts at Baker. Basic WV Corridor standard
road. Signed as WV 55. Signs list "Elkins 88". If only. Someday.

You exit down what will one day be an off ramp and continue through an
even heavier construction zone. At one point there is an overpass to
be that has already been built to take the old road over the new. Its
brand new and has the new road (for about a half mile in each
direction) finished below it.

At Petersburg, you have to make a choice. You can either follow poor
local roads along the northern route of what will be H or follow WV 55
to US 33 and end up on the semi-abandoned "racetrack" segment of US 33
east of Elkins. I did it once each way.

Heading west, the signage states "Elkins" via WV 55 and US 33. NOT
the new routing. The routing between the current western end and
Petersburg will not really be usefull (as a through highway) until its
all completed.

The rest of the trip in either direction is unremarkable.

At Elkins, now working from the west, the situation is somewhat
confusing. At the point where H ended for many years, west of the
town, the old road is now signed as "Old US 33" and US 33 contines on
H until a point north of town. There the signage reads "US 33 - To WV
55 - US 250 - Moorefield" to take the exit. The exit is the old US
219 South and lead to the center of Elkins, where you are directed
onto the "racetrack" section of US 33 and on to the east via that
southerly routing. H continues about 3 mile past that. Signed as "US
219 - Parsons". A distance sign lists Parsons, Cannan Valley, and has
a blank where Moorefield will go. The road ends at an off ramp onto
what will be "old US 219".

IMHO, when the current constuction is completed, H will be two
disconnected roads. You will have the "western H" leading from I-79
to Elkins and on to Cannan Valley. And an "eastern H" running from
Wardensville to Petersburg, with a good two lane down to I-81 from
there. I don't know if the middle will ever be built. The old US 33
will act as a conduit for adventurers between Elkins and Petersburg,
and local roads roughly paralleling H will provide access to the ski
areas, but I don't see completion of the middle section anytime soon.

SP Cook

Harry Sachz

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Aug 4, 2003, 8:58:58 AM8/4/03
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SP Cook wrote:

> At Petersburg, you have to make a choice. You can either follow poor
> local roads along the northern route of what will be H or follow WV 55
> to US 33 and end up on the semi-abandoned "racetrack" segment of US 33
> east of Elkins. I did it once each way.

What is the "racetrack" section, and why is it called that?


> At Elkins, now working from the west, the situation is somewhat
> confusing. At the point where H ended for many years, west of the
> town, the old road is now signed as "Old US 33" and US 33 contines on
> H until a point north of town. There the signage reads "US 33 - To WV
> 55 - US 250 - Moorefield" to take the exit. The exit is the old US
> 219 South and lead to the center of Elkins, where you are directed
> onto the "racetrack" section of US 33 and on to the east via that
> southerly routing. H continues about 3 mile past that. Signed as "US
> 219 - Parsons". A distance sign lists Parsons, Cannan Valley, and has
> a blank where Moorefield will go. The road ends at an off ramp onto
> what will be "old US 219".

So 33 runs on a western bypass, then goes right through the middle of town?

H.B. Elkins

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Aug 4, 2003, 10:02:57 AM8/4/03
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pac...@msn.com (SP Cook) wrote:

>At Petersburg, you have to make a choice. You can either follow poor
>local roads along the northern route of what will be H or follow WV 55
>to US 33 and end up on the semi-abandoned "racetrack" segment of US 33
>east of Elkins. I did it once each way.

When I did my Corridor H west-to-east trek three years ago, I took US
219 north to Thomas, WV 32 south a couple of miiles to Davis, WV 93
east to Scherr, and then WV 42 south to Petersburg, then back up US
220 north to Moorefield. There are local roads that follow the
proposed routing a little better (Corridor H will cross US 220 north
of Moorefield) but I opted for a known quantity in state-signed roads.
I thought this combination was excellent, especially WV 93, which was
pretty straight and flat.

Last year when I went up and down the valleys in that part of the
state, I drove WV 28/55 from Seneca Rocks to Petersburg, and it's not
a bad road, but UGH is about the only way I can describe the 30 or so
miles between Seneca Rocks and Elkins. I think I counted seven
mountain crossings in that 30 miles.

>At Elkins, now working from the west, the situation is somewhat
>confusing. At the point where H ended for many years, west of the
>town, the old road is now signed as "Old US 33" and US 33 contines on
>H until a point north of town. There the signage reads "US 33 - To WV
>55 - US 250 - Moorefield" to take the exit. The exit is the old US
>219 South and lead to the center of Elkins, where you are directed
>onto the "racetrack" section of US 33 and on to the east via that
>southerly routing. H continues about 3 mile past that. Signed as "US
>219 - Parsons". A distance sign lists Parsons, Cannan Valley, and has
>a blank where Moorefield will go. The road ends at an off ramp onto
>what will be "old US 219".

Sounds like the signage has changed from last year, then. When I was
there, if you are heading east on H, US 33 and WV 92 were directed off
the highway at the old end with Crystal Springs as the "control city."
US 250 continued on the freeway with "To North US 219" signage as
well. No mention of WV 55. However if you are headed the other way on
US 33, through the center of town, Old US 33 is signed as such and US
33 continues on the US 219 north routing to the new route. Of course,
when I was there, the section north of the exit you describe was not
open yet.


+++++++++++++++++++++++++
H.B. Elkins
http://www.millenniumhwy.net
http://www.users.mis.net/~hbelkins

Visit these sites: http://www.webrats.com/kobewatch
http://www.binaryreport.com

To reply, you gotta do what NASCAR won't -- remove the restrictor plates!
+++++++++++++++++++++++++

H.B. Elkins

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Aug 4, 2003, 10:08:02 AM8/4/03
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"Harry Sachz" <watuzi...@yahoo.com> wrote:

>What is the "racetrack" section, and why is it called that?

It's the four-lane section of US 33 east of Elkins, which BTW, was the
very first part of Corridor H ever built. Some of my old maps show
that section as finished before work ever began in the Weston area
near I-79. That route was originally scheduled to be part of Corridor
H.

A question for S.P.: Was H originally supposed to follow US 33 to
Harrisonburg, or was it suppose to turn to the north at Seneca Rocks
and follow WV 28 and WV 55 to Strasburg?

>So 33 runs on a western bypass, then goes right through the middle of town?

Yes, pretty much. There really is no true bypass of Elkins for any of
the logical thru routes -- US 33 from east to west and vice versa, US
219 and/or US 250 north-south through downtown or vice versa.

Now if Corridor H is ever completed and thru traffic uses the
four-lane, it will end up being a bypass, but now if thru traffic is
headed to Seneca Rocks or points east, it has to go through the middle
of town.

Harry Sachz

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Aug 4, 2003, 1:11:13 PM8/4/03
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H.B. Elkins wrote:

> It's the four-lane section of US 33 east of Elkins, which BTW, was the
> very first part of Corridor H ever built. Some of my old maps show
> that section as finished before work ever began in the Weston area
> near I-79. That route was originally scheduled to be part of Corridor
> H.

Where did the term "racetrack" come from?


SP Cook

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Aug 4, 2003, 5:34:13 PM8/4/03
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hbel...@restrictorplates.mis.net (H.B. Elkins) wrote in message
>
> A question for S.P.: Was H originally supposed to follow US 33 to
> Harrisonburg, or was it suppose to turn to the north at Seneca Rocks
> and follow WV 28 and WV 55 to Strasburg?
>

Pretty much US 33. Remember that the original H, other than the
racetrack section, was little more than a line on a map, but it was to
follow the old US 33 as far as Senica Rocks, and then continue due
east (33 turns south at that point) through the unpopulated (and
already government owned) areas east of there, ending up joining I-81
near New Market, VA. I assume that US 33 would then be multiplexed
down I-81 or US 11 south to Harrisonburg to keep the number continous.

SP Cook

SP Cook

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Aug 4, 2003, 5:44:45 PM8/4/03
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"Harry Sachz" <watuzi...@yahoo.com> wrote in message

> Where did the term "racetrack" come from?

Long answer:

Corridor H was to roughly follow US 33. A section, about 5 miles
long, was built from the eastern edge of Elkins to the foot of the
first "BIG" mountain.

Then courts and politicians tied up the deal for the better part of
two decades. Eventually the road was re-routed to head much further
north, following US 219 to Davis, then undeveloped land to Petersburg,
and then WV 55 into Virginia. The section east of Elkins is now not a
part of H and really serves no purpose. So the section east of Elkins
is just there, serving no purpose. The local term for it is the
"racetrack" or "dragstrip", since it is a short, flat road with little
traffic (and eventually, when H is completed, almost NO traffic).

SP Cook

Scott M. Kozel

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Aug 4, 2003, 5:48:19 PM8/4/03
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pac...@msn.com (SP Cook) wrote:
>
> Virginia has resigned the exit at Strasburg as "US 48/VA 55 -
> Strasburg". And all of the road signs on the road up to the line are
> also co-signed "US 48/VA 55". (There is no end sign at I-81 for US 48
> heading east). This is fine, except it seems like Virginia is jumping
> the gun by about 10 years,

My thoughts exactly. The US-48 signing is not needed until at or just
before the whole corridor is completed.

> and a eventually a control city (Elkins, WV
> would seem right) would be needed for the sign as well. The US 48
> signs die at the state line.

Does West Virginia have any plans to install any US-48 signing any time
in the near future?

--
Scott M. Kozel Highway and Transportation History Websites
Virginia/Maryland/Washington, D.C. http://www.roadstothefuture.com
Philadelphia and Delaware Valley http://www.pennways.com

M. Hale

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Aug 4, 2003, 8:04:41 PM8/4/03
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Speaking of Cooridor H, on US 33 east of Elkins at the east end of the
"racetrack" section, there is a cave or something similar in the side of the
mountain. Is that an actual cve or something manmade. A while back when I
was in the area, I walked into the thing as far as I could go and it looked
like it went further into the mountain, but not by much. Anyone know what
I'm speaking of?

Mike

"SP Cook" <pac...@msn.com> wrote in message
news:da11e11e.03080...@posting.google.com...

sjohns...@hotmail.com

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Aug 5, 2003, 12:32:27 AM8/5/03
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When I was there last year, I recall the signs were very confusing in
Elkins. I had come up along Rt. 219 and when I got to Elkins, I saw
"Old Rt. 33", but no sign of 33 anywhere. I just went north of town
and seemed like quite a ways before I got to 33 and realized that the
layout of the routes was total nonsense. Why is 33 routed to the
north when it actually takes you out of the way quite a bit to by-pass
Elkins itself?

hbel...@restrictorplates.mis.net (H.B. Elkins) wrote in message news:<3f2e679a...@news.newsguy.com>...

SP Cook

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Aug 5, 2003, 6:53:13 AM8/5/03
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"Scott M. Kozel" <koz...@attbi.com> wrote in message \\

> Does West Virginia have any plans to install any US-48 signing any time
> in the near future?


AFAIK, WV will not sign US 48 until it is needed to give directions.
Currently we can get by with the following:

TO I-66: "take US 33, stay on 33 when the 4-lane ends at Elkins and
then stay on WV 55 when 55 and 33 split"
TO CANNAN VALLEY: "take US 33, stay on US 219 when the 4-lane ends at
Elkins"

When the central part of the road, which does not parallel either 33,
219, or 55 is built, then US 48 will be applied to the entire road.
That will not happen for a very long time.

SP Cook

H.B. Elkins

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Aug 5, 2003, 9:44:09 AM8/5/03
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pac...@msn.com (SP Cook) wrote:

>TO CANNAN VALLEY: "take US 33, stay on US 219 when the 4-lane ends at
>Elkins"

Isn't it closer to take US 33 east all the way to WV 32, then take it
north, rather than 219 all the way up to Thomas, then back south?

Christopher L. Estep

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Feb 2, 2005, 5:35:47 AM2/2/05
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SP Cook wrote:
> Over the weekend I got to take a roadtrip over the route of the
> oft-discussed Corridor H.
>
> I will start in the east.
>
> Virginia has resigned the exit at Strasburg as "US 48/VA 55 -
> Strasburg". And all of the road signs on the road up to the line are
> also co-signed "US 48/VA 55". (There is no end sign at I-81 for US 48
> heading east). This is fine, except it seems like Virginia is jumping
> the gun by about 10 years, and a eventually a control city (Elkins, WV
> would seem right) would be needed for the sign as well. The US 48
> signs die at the state line.
>
> Virginia uses "WV State Line" as a destination on this road. Not
> unusual in VA.
>

Virginia may very well *kill* VA 55 *east* of I-81 and multiplex US 48
over I-66 at least as far as Gainesville (and US 29), if not all the way
to Washington, DC (which would explain the lack of end signage for US 48
@ I-81).

From Gainesville, you have all sorts of options for continuing or
terminating US 48 (none of which would require building any new road).

1. Terminate US 48 in Gainesville (at the I-66/US 29 interchange).
Does not make much sense in roadgeek terms. (Also, even though US 211
never separated from US 29 from Gainesville into Washington, DC, instead
of merely truncating US 211 at Gainesville, Virginia multiplexed the two
to the VA/DC line (at the east terminus of the Key Bridge, where US 29
leaves the Key for the Whitehurst Freeway). From there, US 211 made a
circuitous and tortuous path using city streets (M Street, Wisconsin
Avenue, and K Street) terminating at the east end of the Whitehurst
(just west of Washington Circle at US 29). Amazingly, K Street passes
*under* the Whitehurst from its eastern terminus to Wisconsin Avenue
(the southern end of since-terminated US 240 and the short US 211/240
duplex along Wisconsin between M and K Streets). (There actually used
to be an LGS marking US 211's routing along K to Wisconsin, and along
Wisconsin to M, at the Whitehurst's eastern approach, where it leaves K.
While both US 211 and US 240 have gone the way of the dodo, this is
still the *only* vehicular entrance to the southern end of the C&O Canal
without using Wisconsin Avenue.)

2. Multiplex it (either with I-66 or US 29) to VA 234, and then
southeast, using VA 234's alignment, to I-95. (VA 234 is already
scheduled for major widening and improvements in this alignment.)
Additional benefit: this is also the ideal western terminus for any sort
of *southern bypass* of the Wilson (or alteratively *northern bypass* of
the darn near wholly-inadequate Governor Harry Nice) Bridge(s).

3. From Gainesville, maintain the multiplex with I-66, but only as far
as I-495, which would then gain US 48, and the multiplex would then
continue into Maryland (via the Wilson Bridge) to MD 4 (Pennsylvania
Avenue and Marlboro Pike), and take over the outside-the-Beltway portion
of MD 4's alignment to MD 5 (where MD 4 currently terminates), and then
take over MD 5's alignment to Point Lookout State Park.
Quibble: There would be a triplex from Springfield, VA to Forestville,
MD along the Beltway.

3A. No Triplex: Same as #3, except route US 48 along I-395 (Shirley
Highway, SE/SW Freeway) all the way to Pennsylvania Avenue, using all
the MD 4 alignment (MD 4 would be decommissioned in its entirety) in
Maryland. From the current MD 4/MD 5 interchange, US 48 would still use
MD 5's alignment as in #3.

None of this would require *any* additional construction beyond what's
already in the pipeline, Virginia (and Maryland in cases 3 and 3A) would
gain additional Federal road money, and in all cases the resultant US 48
would fit AASHTO guidelines for US routes. (How's that for win-win?)

Christopher L. Estep

Christopher L. Estep

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Feb 2, 2005, 5:43:16 AM2/2/05
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Scott M. Kozel wrote:
> pac...@msn.com (SP Cook) wrote:
>
>>Virginia has resigned the exit at Strasburg as "US 48/VA 55 -
>>Strasburg". And all of the road signs on the road up to the line are
>>also co-signed "US 48/VA 55". (There is no end sign at I-81 for US 48
>>heading east). This is fine, except it seems like Virginia is jumping
>>the gun by about 10 years,
>
>
> My thoughts exactly. The US-48 signing is not needed until at or just
> before the whole corridor is completed.
>
>
>>and a eventually a control city (Elkins, WV
>>would seem right) would be needed for the sign as well. The US 48
>>signs die at the state line.
>
>
> Does West Virginia have any plans to install any US-48 signing any time
> in the near future?

Scott, West Virginia will be signing *all* of US 48 in the new alignment
at least from where VA/WV 55 enters the state; however, Virginia has
*not* decided how far *east* to sign US 48 from I-81. I threw out some
possible options for Virginia (and possibly Maryland and DC in two
alternatives). A duplex with at least I-66 partially is part of all my
alternatives, and two others take US 48 into Maryland (and one via DC
into Maryland).

Christopher L. Estep

H.B. Elkins

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Feb 2, 2005, 1:44:29 PM2/2/05
to
On Wed, 02 Feb 2005 05:35:47 -0500, Christopher L. Estep wrote:
>
>SP Cook wrote:
>> Over the weekend I got to take a roadtrip over the route of the
>> oft-discussed Corridor H.
>>
>> I will start in the east.

Dang. How in the world did *this* post ever get brought back up into the mix?
Didn't SP post it years ago?

>Virginia may very well *kill* VA 55 *east* of I-81 and multiplex US 48
>over I-66 at least as far as Gainesville (and US 29), if not all the way
>to Washington, DC (which would explain the lack of end signage for US 48
>@ I-81).

Does Virginia normally post end signage for its US routes? I haven't seen this
in my experience.

I'd just extend US 48 into downtown Strasburg and end it at US 11, and kill VA
55 at the US 11 intersection there, too. Of course then you have to deal with WV
55, which for the most part is multiplexed with other routes and that extension
has only been signed in the last 15 years or so. The reason for that is that the
length of WV 55 is designated as some sort of scenic highway (Highland Trace, I
think).

Look at a map and you'll see the only standalone portions of WV 55 are a small
section near US 19 north of Summersville, and the portion east of US 220 at
Moorefield. The multiplex with WV 20, WV 39, US 219, US 33, WV 28 and US 220 was
all added later to give the scenic route a continuous number.


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