Route 50 ‘No. 1’ Road Issue In County

Clarksburg Exponent Telegram

by Nora Edinger, Regional Editor

BRIDGEPORT (Tuesday, October 28, 2001)

Local leaders got their first glimpse of what Harrison County roads may look like in 2025 late last week.

In a two-hour meeting at the Benedum Civic Center, planners from URS Corp. of Omaha, Neb., detailed a 64-page county transportation plan.

The state Division of Highways will use it as a guide for the next quarter century.

The plan will be opened for public comment in December.

"In looking at the No. 1 issue in county…it has to be the U.S. 50 corridor," said William Troe, a URS planner. "It’s the only east-west corridor and it serves a myriad of purposes."

The plan breaks the overall U.S. Route 50 improvement project into segments. They include:

  • A southern bypass of U.S. Route 50.
  • U.S. Route 50 exit improvements throughout downtown Clarksburg and Bridgeport.
  • Improved access to the United Hospital Center area in southwestern Clarksburg.
  • Safety improvements to rural intersections between Clarksburg and the Doddridge County border.

Also in the plan is the widening of U.S. Route 19 from U.S. Route 50 to the Marion County border to four lanes and improvements to state Route 20 from Clarksburg to the Barbour County line.

Norman Roush, deputy commissioner for the state Division of Highways, said the study is a general guideline.

No specific projects from it would begin for at least a year and some may never be done.

He said current projects, such as the completion of I-279 this fall and the widening of Meadowbrook Road to four lanes, have first priority.

Roush said the Federal Highway Administration requires such plans for urban areas. The state voluntarily includes Harrison, Marion and Monongalia counties even though they are not populated enough for a mandated plan. Harrison’s most recent plan is from the 1970s.

Other views

Reaction from the 56-member study advisory committee and other community leaders was mixed.

Beth Taylor, county commissioner, said better U.S. 19 access to Shinnston and improved U.S. 50 safety in the Bristol area are her highest priorities.

Del. Barbara Ann Warner, D-Harrison, said her key goals include hospital access and easing of congestion at I-79/U.S. Route 50. She and Taylor co-chair a county transportation committee and Warner is House Transportation Committee chair.

Ken Yost, Salem city manager, was among the few who openly agreed with Troe that U.S. Route 50’s speed limit should be returned to 55 mph. It is now 65 mph west of the Clarksburg City limits.

James Corton, who is developing the Charles Pointe planned community in Bridgeport, said he would like to work with the state on the exact location of an I-79 overpass that would cross the 2,000-acre project to connect to state Route 131.

Corton, manager of Genesis Partners, has already worked extensively with the Division of Highways to include road cuts and under and overpasses needed by the development into the Route 279 construction plan.