The West Virginia Department of Highways will be seeking public comment on a planned road to connect the two tracts of land making up Chief Logan State Park.
The property for the original Chief Logan State Park was purchased in 1960 by the Logan County Civic Association for $90,000 and deeded to the State Conservation Commission for $40,000. Originally designated as a recreation area, it gained state park status in 1968. In 1996 the W.Va. legislature added $5 million to Chief Logan State Park to construct the new Chief Logan Lodge, Hotel and the Earl Ray Tomblin Conference Center. This new addition is on a tract of land that is to the west of the original park.
The conference center and lodge has no vehicular access to the original park property for visitors except by two round-about routes over existing roadways, one approximately 10 miles to the North and the other approximately 16 miles to the South.
Part of the park was purchased using Land and Water Conservation Funds (L&WCF); therefore it contains “Section 6(f) property” for which proposed alterations will be subject to review by the National Park Service (NPS).
The purpose of the project is to find the most suitable and economical location for a new roadway that will accommodate vehicular traffic from the Conference center area to the roadway system within the original park. The new roadway must meet current roadway design standards including suitable design speeds to efficiently serve park and visitor needs. The new roadway will improve the connectivity of the park and enhance the recreational experience of the visitors.
Five routes through the mountain has been designed:
• Alternative One (Preferred Alternative) — Constructs a road from near the Recreation/Fitness Center with a slight cut through Crawley gap and ties into the existing park road near the existing swimming pool. The road is approximately 9,000 feet in length. Alternative One allows connection to be maintained for all existing roadways and trails. Total cost of construction is $10,050,000.
• Alternative Two — Constructs a new road from near the Recreation/Fitness Center using a box cut through the Crawley gap and ties into the campground road. The road is approximately 4,200 feet in length and creates excess earthwork that will need wasted outside of the roadway alignment. It also requires the traffic to drive though the campground and will interfere with its current operation. Alternative Two will sever the connection to some existing trails and will eliminate access to a cell tower that is on an adjacent tract of land. Total cost of construction is $12,050,000.
• Alternative Three — Constructs a new road from the Conference Center and follows an old mine road and crosses the ridge to tie in at the lake. This road is approximately 17,500 feet in length and was developed by L.A. Gates for the WV Park Service, but at the direction of the state park. In 2005 a cost estimate of $4,000,000 was made for Alternative Three however it that assumed volunteer labor will perform the majority of the work. In comparing the alternates in this study it was assumed that all work will be contracted and no volunteer labor will be available therefore following is the new contracted estimate. Total cost of construction is $18,475,000.
• Alternative Four — Constructs a new road from the Conference Center and flows an old mine road for 7,000 feet then crosses the ridge and ties into the existing road system near the Wildlife Exhibit. This road is approximately 9,800 feet in length. Total cost of construction is $12,050,000.
• Alternative Five — Upgrade the existing equipment trail beginning near the Recreation/Fitness Center crossing the ridge and continuing through the campground. The road is approximately 10,300 feet in length and has switchback curves and steep grades. It also requires the traffic to drive though the campground and will interfere with its current operation. Total cost of construction is 9,450,000.
• No-Build Option — The traffic uses existing thru roadways, one approximately 10 miles to the North and the other approximately 16 miles to the South. The connectivity of the park is not improved and the recreational experience of the visitors is not enhanced plus does not meet the purpose and need of the project.
The purpose of this Public Comment Period is to determine what concerns the public may have with the project. A Public Workshop will be held after additional design and field studies have been completed. The Public Workshop with an additional comment period is anticipated in the winter of 2012.
Anyone wanting to share their comments regarding this project may comment online at http://go.wv.gov.dotcomment under engineering projects or use a written comment form that can be picked up at the park office. The written form may be dropped off at the park office or mailed to:
P.E., Director WVDOH
Capital Complex Bldg 5, Room 317
1900 Kanawha Boulevard East
Charleston, WV 25305-0430
Comments will be accepted until September 28, 2012.