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Study indicates Hunt Field traffic bypassing town

March 24, 2000|By DAVE McMILLION, Charles Town

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Much of the traffic from the proposed 3,300-home Hunt Field development will be routed to Charles Town Bypass, preventing feared congestion downtown, according to a traffic study recently released by developer Greenvest L.C. of Vienna, Va.

According to the study, Greenvest will build a railroad overpass that will link two sections of the 1,000-acre property currently divided by railroad tracks.

The overpass, which will cost a little over $1 million to build, will allow Hunt Field residents from any part of the development to reach the east side of the property, where they can access the Charles Town Bypass, the study says.

The new access will also allow people from Tuscawilla Hills and Locust Hills to have quicker access to the bypass, where they can avoid going through town to commute outside the county, said Jefferson County Planning Director Paul Raco.

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The traffic study also says that because no new employment opportunities are projected in the downtown area, heavy traffic from Hunt Field will not be drawn to local intersections.

Charles Town City Council member Matt Ward, who has been worried about how traffic from Hunt Field will impact an already congested Charles Town, said he is still not convinced the development won't cause traffic problems.

Ward said the railroad overpass probably will not be built immediately in Hunt Field. Ward said the developers will probably have to sell "hundreds of houses" first to have money to build the overpass.

Ward said it is "extremely dubious and inaccurate" to suggest the 24,450 cars expected to pass in and out of Hunt Field every day will not directly impact Charles Town's traffic flow.

"The unanswered questions about that impact still have to be looked at," Ward said.

Ward's comments came after Greenvest's offices were closed. No one at the firm was available for comment.

Ward said the developers also must realize that there will be other commercial development around Charles Town in coming years that will attract Hunt Field traffic downtown.

Although the traffic study predicts that most of Hunt Field's traffic will not affect nearby intersections, it says traffic signals at the intersection of old U.S. 340 and Summit Point Road and the intersection of old U.S. 340 and Cave Road would help traffic flow.

The study also calls for reconfiguring lanes at the intersection of W.Va. 51 and old U.S. 340 in Charles Town.

A public hearing on Hunt Field is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday before the Jefferson County Planning Commission. It will be held in the County Meeting Room adjacent to the Jefferson County Courthouse in Charles Town.

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