Advertisement

New lights ease W.Va. traffic congestion

September 05, 2000

New lights ease W.Va. traffic congestion



By DAVE McMILLION / Staff Writer, Charles Town

photo: RIC DUGAN / staff photogarpher

Traffic lightsMARTINSBURG, W.Va. - At least two new traffic lights have been installed in the Baker Heights area along W.Va. 9 to control heavy traffic flows at intersections, according to the state Division of Highways.

The newest light was installed at the entrance to the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Baker Heights about a month and a half ago, said Larry Deitz, district traffic engineer for the highways department.

The light was installed at the intersection to help VA hospital employees and patients get in and out of the hospital entrance more safely, Deitz said.

Advertisement

Many people arriving and departing from the hospital are elderly and had difficulty trying to turn into traffic on the busy two-lane highway, said George Moore Jr., director of the hospital.

Moore said many of the hospital's patients are from rural areas and not used to driving in such hectic conditions.

Another traffic light was installed about a half mile east at the entrance of the Liberty Business Park. That light was installed to help federal government employees from the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Coast Guard - both of which have facilities in the park - more safely access W.Va. 9, said Division of Highways spokesman Randy Epperly.

While the light at the VA is designed to improve access to W.Va. 9, it has caused some traffic backups on the road.

Around 4:30 p.m., traffic headed west on W.Va. 9 sometimes backs up to Arcata Boulevard, which is about halfway between the VA and Liberty Business Park.

Highway engineers may be able to adjust the timing of the light to reduce some of the backups, said Deitz. But resolving all the traffic problems on W.Va. 9 is going to take more than traffic lights, said Deitz.

"Nothing is going to dramatically help Route 9 until we get four lanes instead of two. The traffic volume is getting so high," Deitz said.

Department of Highways officials say they expect to start expanding W.Va. 9 from two lanes to four lanes next year. The new highway between Martinsburg and the Virginia line in Jefferson County will cost $145 million, according to highways officials.

A W.Va. 9 bypass around Martinsburg is also being proposed that would cost about $100 million, they said.

The Herald-Mail Articles
|
|
|