City uses micro-milling to address top crash spot

MORGANTOWN — The City of Morgantown recently took steps to address the number one crash location in the city.

According to information provided Monday by Morgantown Communications Director Andrew Stacy, the curve where Darst Street and Hampton Avenue connect was the site of 30 accidents over the last six months.

At a cost of $6,000, the city contracted Donegal Construction, out of Pennsylvania, to treat the roadway using a process known as micro-milling, meaning grooves were carved in the road surface to increase friction.

Stacy said the underlying issue is less about road surface and more about the design of the curve, which  also sits on a hill, making it particularly treacherous to navigate in wet weather.

“The underlying issue is with the geometry of the curve, not so much the surface condition of the roadway,” Stacy explained. “The roadway surface met all required friction necessary, but due to the combination of the vertical and horizontal curves, this area needed more friction than most other roadways …”

He went on to say the city is looking at other areas where the high-friction surface treatment could reduce crash frequency during inclement weather.

The city plans to apply for roadway safety grants next spring to fund the treatment, but opted to move forward on this initial project using funds generated by the city’s $3 weekly user fee.

“Due to the frequency of crashes and public safety concerns, the city didn’t want to wait to try and improve the traction, which is why we proceeded with the micro-milling,” Stacy said.

The project was started and completed Nov. 29.

The city’s public works department also installed “Slippery When Wet” signage at the site.

According to the city, the area will be paved in the spring.

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