(11/02/2006)
Blue-Gray highway ranking near bottom

By David Hedges, Publisher
Times Record-Roane County Reporter

Roane County residents who have waited more than half a century to see a new four-lane highway through Spencer may have to wait a lot longer.

The proposed Blue-Gray Intermodal Highway to link I-77 at Ripley with I-79 at Burnsville ranks near the bottom of a list of unfunded highway projects prepared by the state.

At the direction of Governor Joe Manchin, last year the state released a six-year plan that outlines specific projects that are funded, and gives a specific timetable for their completion.

That list includes replacement of Corder Bridge, on U.S. 33/119 at the Roane-Calhoun line, in 2007 at a cost of $1.5 million, and the replacement of the Col. Ruby Bradley Bridge in downtown Spencer in 2008 at a cost of almost $5 million.

Another list prioritizes projects that are unfunded and includes 170 major projects around the state.

One Roane proposal ranks next to last, or 169th. A proposed Kenna to Amma connector, a new two-lane road between I-77 in Jackson County and I-79 in Roane would be 25 miles long and cost $133 million.

The Blue-Gray highway that has been discussed for more than 50 years is divided into two projects on the list.

At #151 on the list is 24 miles of new four-lane highway from I-77 at Ripley to Spencer. The projected cost is $130 million.

Ranked #163 is another 47 miles of new four-lane from Spencer to Burnsville, which has a projected cost of $500 million.

The total cost of the 71 miles of four-lane highway is $630 million.

A competing proposal, the Little Kanawha River Parkway from I-77 at Mineral Wells to Glenville, ranks slightly higher but is still well down on the list of unfunded projects....

Rest of the story www.thetimesrecord.net


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