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Infrastructure – The Key to Growth in the Tri-State Area

  October/November 2018 / Vol 8 Issue 7
Infrastructure – The Key to Growth in the Tri-State Area
By: Bryce Custer

 

Along the Ohio River Corridor, in the “Shale Crescent” area from Monaca, PA to Marietta, Ohio drilling continues in the Utica and Marcellus Shale plays. Midstream companies continue to put in gathering lines connecting the wells to the rest of the United States. Natural Gas and Natural Gas Liquids are flowing north to Ontario Canada, East to Marcus Hook and south to the gulf coast. Much of the resource is being used domestically, some is being shipped overseas.

What is the major constraint to development of the Ohio River Corridor? To the development of the Appalachian Basin? Infrastructure, the key to Logistics and Supply Chain throughout the area.

The Ohio River Corridor has been served by barge and rail connecting key cities along the river. Starting at the Shell site in Monaca PA, heading west then south along the river, area of population includes East Liverpool, Steubenville – Weirton, Bridgeport – Wheeling then the next populated area is Marietta – Parkersburg.

There are currently three major infrastructure initiatives in Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. These three projects are designed to move people and materials safely and quickly.

COLUMBUS TO PITTSBURGH CORRIDOR

The Columbus to Pittsburgh Corridor is a 160-mile highway linking Columbus to Pittsburgh. From west to east the corridor would start at I270/SR161 on the northeast side of Columbus. The highway would follow SR161 / SR16 through New Albany and Newark to Coshocton. In Coshocton it would follow US36 to Dennison. Continuing along US250 to US22 in Cadiz then continuing along US22 to Pittsburgh. In order to make this a reality, approximately 47 miles of improvements along the route in Muskingum, Coshocton, Tuscarawas and Harrison County would be required. This represents less than 30% of the corridor that needs completed.

“Now is the time to invest in our roads in order to support both current and forecasted growth. Completing the Pittsburgh-to- Columbus Corridor is a project that has been discussed for decades and received on and off support over the years. It’s time to worth together to develop a funding plan and complete something – the completion of the Corridor – that could truly transform Eastern Ohio.”
Congressman Bill Johnson.

WEST VIRGINIA ROUTE 2 / I-68
Bob Miller Jr. Marshall County Commissioner has made numerous trips to Washington D.C. to keep interest on the I-68 corridor project which would create a highway system and link Morgantown WV to Marshall County along the Ohio River. This critical link from Morgantown would allow transport of goods and people between these two critical points. The Morgantown area is ripe with potential employees for the jobs being created along the Ohio River and to the north and south along Route 2. Miller has been joined by West Virginia University representatives from Logistics, Supply Chain and Energy, Greg Kozera with Shale Crescent, Senator Charles Clements, R-Wetzel and me (Bryce Custer, Ohio River Corridor, LLC) have been fortunate to join the West Virginia delegation on two trips to the White House to meet with various department heads.

You’ve got a great asset in West Virginia University. You’ve got the huge talent pool in the Morgantown area, and it opens the whole Northern Panhandle for not only industrial development, but in retail and housing development as well. Emphasis is being able to bring product back and forth. In the Northern Panhandle, there’s just no quick way to get to Morgantown, one of the most popular parts of central West Virginia.

US STATE ROUTE 30 CANTON TO ROUTE 11 COLUMBIANA COUNTY

US 30 is a major east west highway through Ohio. Unfortunately, US 30 stops and then becomes two lanes on the east side of Canton. For years county commissioners, currently being led by Richard Regula, have been working diligently to extend US 30 from Trump Ave in Canton to SR44. State Representative Kirk Schuring, R-Jackson Township has also been instrumental in seeing that US 30 from Canton to the Ohio River becomes a reality.

The US 30 extension and proposed alignment through Stark, Carroll and Columbiana County is crucial for movement of employees from Stark County to future facilities along the Ohio River in Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. The extension also creates incentive for companies that will source materials from the Shell Polymer complex in Monaca, PA and potential PTTGC facility in Dilles Bottom, OH. This extension and alignment will benefit all counties along the proposed route. Stark County is already seeing interest from plastics companies to invest millions of dollars in facilities to take advantage of low transportation costs for raw materials.

Infrastructure of the tri-state area is key to whether our area will be “Producer Exporters” or “Producer Consumers” of the Natural Gas and Natural Gas Liquids currently being drilled in the Utica and Marcellus Shale areas. This area has the opportunity to be the leader in plastics and derivative products. I would encourage everyone to become familiar with the proposed infrastructure projects in your area. I would also encourage everyone to re-visit the Shale Crescent HIS Markit Study that proves the Ohio River Corridor, Appalachian Basin, Shale Crescent USA is the place to invest in facilities and the local economies.

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