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W.Va. road projects approved

November 14, 2008|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- Two projects designed to improve traffic flow in and around one of Berkeley County's most heavily traveled intersections have received the green light from the West Virginia Division of Highways (DOH).

Traffic signal upgrades at Apple Harvest Drive (W.Va. 45) and Winchester Avenue (U.S. 11) and four other intersections along the southern end of Martinsburg are part of a project to better coordinate the flow of vehicles to Interstate 81, acting area DOH engineer Kenneth L. Clohan said this week.

Dunbar, W.Va.-based Bayliss & Ramey Inc. has until June 2009 to replace and/or relocate signal poles and replace cable "loop" systems with video-based detection technology, Clohan said.

"Sometimes, the loops in the roadway aren't as reliable," Clohan said.

The other four intersections included in the $381,325 project are Apple Harvest Drive's intersection with New York Avenue, the signaled entrances to Sheetz and Lowe's, Foxcroft Avenue and Exit 12 of Interstate 81, Clohan said. Bayliss & Ramey Inc.'s bid was about $50,000 less than the only other contractor that submitted a proposal, according to the West Virginia Department of Transportation (WVDOT).

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A traffic count assessment completed in June at the Apple Harvest Drive and Winchester Avenue intersection showed an average of 34,200 vehicles per day were traveling west toward I-81, according to data released Wednesday by WVDOT.

The number of vehicles appears to be an average daily increase of 3,000 vehicles from 31,000 in 2005, according to a traffic count assessment of state roads in Berkeley County completed three years ago.

In addition to the signal improvements, Clohan said a section of Winchester Avenue just south of the busy intersection will be widened in the area between Wheatland Street and the junction to improve traffic flow there.

Kingwood, W.Va.-based Mountaineer Contractors Inc. submitted the lowest of six bids ($3,677,477) and last month was awarded the project, which is not expected to be completed until August 2010, Clohan said.

The project involves relocating a significant amount of water and sewer line and the addition of a center turn lane, Clohan said.

DOH officials hope to be able to have enough room to shift traffic lanes while the work is being done in order to minimize traffic disruption.

Clohan said an ongoing project to build a new intersection at Winchester Avenue and Mall Drive about seven blocks north of the Apple Harvest Drive intersection in Martinsburg still is expected to be done by the end of the year.

"They still hope to have Winchester Avenue open before Thanksgiving," Clohan said.

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