Gov. Jim Justice, along with officials from the West Virginia Department of Transportation, gathered Friday for a groundbreaking ceremony marking the beginning of work on the section of Corridor H from Kerens to Parsons.

The event was held in Tucker County to celebrate the progress made on a project that will bring significant economic benefits to the region, Justice said. With 113 miles of Corridor H already open to traffic in West Virginia, the completion of Section 3 brings the project one step closer to its final goal, he said.

Justice said he would like to see Corridor H well on its way to completion before the end of his term. The governor, who is term-limited, has announced that he will run for U.S. Senate.

“My goal is for all of Corridor H to be under contract before I leave office,” he said. “We’re going to finish this road.”

The successful bid for the new section of the project was awarded to A.L.L. Construction Inc., with a bid amount of $49,488,494.

The work on Section 3 will involve grading and drainage on a 3-mile stretch of Corridor H, starting near the Cheat River Bridge. The bridge, currently under construction, will be one of the longest in West Virginia.

It will connect the 15-mile stretch between Kerens and Parsons with the section between Parsons and Davis. Contractors are expected to move more than 7 million yards of dirt to prepare the highway for construction and paving.

The project is scheduled to be completed by fall 2025.

Corridor H, when fully completed, will connect Interstate 79 in Weston to Interstate 81 in Strasburg, Virginia.

Justice emphasized the significance of the project, stating: “Corridor H will connect all kinds of communities, bringing prosperity to West Virginia. This project will not only provide employment opportunities but also attract travelers who will continue to contribute to the local economy even after the construction ends.”

The groundbreaking ceremony was attended by several officials, including the secretary of the West Virginia Department of Transportation, Jimmy Wriston, and the chairman of the Corridor H Highway Authority, Robbie Morris.

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., who has been involved in securing resources for Corridor H’s completion, released a statement applauding the progress made. Capito is a member of Senate Appropriations Committee.

“The groundbreaking of this key section between Kerens and Parsons marks a major milestone for this critical transportation project. I’m thrilled for the positive impact it will have for years to come as we continue to expand and improve West Virginia’s roads and bridges,” Capito said.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., who also has been involved in securing federal funding for Corridor H, also commended the groundbreaking ceremony in a released statement. Manchin has been a strong advocate for completing the project, which, he says, will bring economic development and improved connectivity to the region.

“Corridor H will spur economic development, promote tourism, and ensure safe travel for West Virginians. It is a critical highway for our state’s growth, and I have been working tirelessly to secure the necessary resources to complete this project,” Manchin said in his statement.

Also a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, West Virginia’s senior senator helped secure $274 million in federal funding for Corridor H.

He said the bipartisan Finish the Appalachian Development Highway System Act, included in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, will provide $1.25 billion over five years, with nearly $200 million specifically allocated for Corridor H.

Corridor H is the final section of the Appalachian Development Highway System in West Virginia. The highway system was established in 1965 to connect isolated areas in Appalachia, promoting commerce and opportunity in the region.

Manchin said completion of Corridor H will bring significant economic benefits, creating more jobs and increasing access to workers within a one-hour commute. According to the Appalachian Regional Commission, every dollar invested in the Appalachian Development Highway System yields an estimated return of $7.10.