Cumberland Times-News

Local News

April 30, 2014

Revamped U.S. 220 would have big residential impact

Chosen route starts on I-68 at Haystack Mountain, ends at Corridor H

CUMBERLAND — The Final Environmental Impact Statement for a revamped U.S. Route 220 was released by the West Virginia Division of Highways and the Maryland State Highway Administration to the Federal Highway Administration, according to Charlie Gischlar, public information officer for SHA.

The U.S. Route 220 Tier I FEIS recommends the preferred corridor to be Corridor B from Interstate 68 in Allegany County to Corridor H in Grant County, W.Va. It would connect either to I-68 or the northern spur of Corridor D, along state Route 53 from I-68 to U.S. 220 in Cresaptown.

Corridor B could have a considerable impact on residential neighborhoods in Cresaptown and Keyser, according to the FEIS.

“It would provide a new highway facility within the heavily traveled U.S. 220 corridor through LaVale and Cresaptown and in Keyser farther south,” states the FEIS.

Corridor B would impact the second-most residential land (and noise sensitive areas); the most mixed-use, built-up land; and the least commercial and industrial land, according to FEIS. Corridor B will impact eight parks and recreation areas, the fewest such impacts among the three corridors that were under consideration.

In terms of cultural resources, Corridor B has the least land with very high archaeological potential and the fewest National Register of Historic Places eligible resources and the fewest places listed on the register. There are two large potentially eligible historic farmsteads in Corridor B — the Potomac State College Farm, located east of Keyser, and the Quality Dairy Farm south of Keyser.

“Additional studies in Tier Two may reduce the farmsteads’ boundaries or determine that farmsteads are not eligible for the NRHP,” states the FEIS.

The estimated cost of the preferred corridor is $482 million to $500 million, according to Gischlar.

Corridor B begins with an interchange near existing Exits 41 and 42 along I-68 between LaVale and Cumberland and ends with a connection to Corridor H in Grant County, north of Scherr. Generally, Corridor B’s limits in the north exist in congested areas, particularly in the vicinity of Cresaptown and Keyser, while in the south Corridor B services mostly low-density rural areas, according to Gischlar.  

Corridor B originates along Haystack Mountain at I-68 and extends southwest to Cresaptown crossing Winchester Road. At this point it parallels U.S. 220 to the west and Dans Mountain to the east. West of McCoole, Corridor B crosses state Route 135, the North Branch Potomac River and state Route 46.  

Entering Mineral County, Corridor B is west of Keyser and continues to parallel U.S. 220 on the western side. At the junction with state Route 972, Corridor B continues southwest along U.S. Route 50. Near Claysville, Corridor B begins to parallel state Route 93, entering Grant County and extending to the terminus at Corridor H.

SHA will initiate the U.S. 220 Tier II Project Planning Study and the limits for the project will be from I-68 to Cresaptown along U.S. 220 and state Route 53, according to Gischlar.

“This study will use the 4,000-foot bandwidths of Corridor B and the northern Corridor D spur to develop preliminary alternatives,” said Gischlar.

After the comment period for the US 220 Tier I FEIS has ended, the Federal Highway Administration will issue a Record of Decision for the project, according to Gischlar. Approval of the Tier One Record of Decision is expected in 2014, according to the West Virginia Division of Transportation. The Tier Two work will occur after the ROD; however, a schedule has not been developed.

Alternative corridor Routes A, C, D and E are no longer being considered, according to Gischlar.

Contact Elaine Blaisdell at eblaisdell@times-news.com.

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