Blue-Gray Authority Discusses Highway Development

By Bob Weaver

The Blue-Gray Intermodal Highway Authority met in Grantsville last night.

The proposed 91-mile highway would parallel US 33 across six counties, according to consultant Jack Burlingame. It would link the Ohio River with I-79.

Several county commissioners and regional representatives attended the meeting held at the courthouse.

The actual route is still being studied. The connector highway, projected to cost about $1 billion, would cross Calhoun County and help open up the area.

"There's a whole lot more than just building a road. It's revitalization," said Burlingame. "An inter-modal highway relates to economic development, and is directly linked to benefiting the business community."

"It would also provide access for people to go to work in addition to increasing tourism activity. It would streamline the transportation system, allowing products to get in and be shipped out," he said.

Burlingame is leading the movement to construct the connector highway, which would link the Ohio River with I-79. The proposed roadway is to generally follow U. S. 33.

Bill Wood, an engineer with the WVDOT has told the authority it costs between $12-$15 million dollars a mile to build this kind of road through the mountains.

Burlingame has continued to collect historical information related to the area along the Blue and Gray, including Calhoun's Civil War history.

Jason Nettles will be joining county commissioner Bob Weaver as a member of the authority.

The authority is continuing to seek financial resources to help study and promote the road.

The Blue-Gray proposal joins the Little Kanawha Parkway as possible highways to open up the area.