State advises against adding signals at busy intersection

February 12, 2004|by CANDICE BOSELY

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Although the intersection of Moler Avenue and High Street is busy and could benefit from a right-hand turning lane, adding either a traffic signal or four-way stop signs is not needed, according to a report prepared by the Division of Highways.

Martinsburg City Council members discussed the 16-page report during their meeting Wednesday night. Afterward they agreed to turn the matter over to Martinsburg Police Department Chief Ted Anderson for review.

Division of Highways officials conducted a traffic study at the intersection on Nov. 5, 2003. During the peak hour of 5 to 6 p.m., 882 cars approached the intersection from the west side of Moler Avenue; 550 approached from the east side of Moler Avenue; 136 approached from the south end of High Street; and 28 approached from the north section of High Street.


Heavier traffic would be needed to install four-way stop signs or a traffic signal, the report indicates.

At the busy intersection, cars often are backed up on both streets, especially if a driver on High Street needs to turn left or go straight through the intersection, or when a driver on Moler Avenue needs to turn left onto High Street.

Drivers sometimes cut through nearby side streets to avoid the intersection.

There were 31 accidents at the intersection from Oct. 1, 2000, to Sept. 30, 2003. Fifteen people were injured; nobody was killed.

The accident rate equaled 1.6 per million vehicles, which is average for that type of intersection, the report states.

Highway officials recommended that utility poles at the intersection be moved to allow for more clearance on turns. A photograph attached to the report shows a beer truck in the wrong lane because of inadequate turning space. One utility pole has noticeable damage from being hit too many times.

Also, the Division of Highways recommends parking be prohibited for 125 feet along the east side of High Street to allow for a separate right-hand-only turn lane. Adding that lane could significantly reduce how long motorists wait at the intersection, the report states.

"Stop Ahead" signs should be installed on High Street because drivers sometimes claim they did not see the stop sign, the report states.

The improvements "will be made as funding and priorities will allow," according to a letter from the Division of Highways that accompanied the report.

Councilman Donald Anderson suggested that may not be soon enough. He suggested that if the city begin the work, the state may kick in some funding.

Other council members agreed. Councilman Glenville Twigg said he would especially like to see a separate lane on High Street for drivers who need to turn right onto Moler Avenue.

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