MORGANTOWN — A Division of Highways public meeting on its Green Bag Road widening project drew a regular stream of residents to South Middle School late Tuesday afternoon.
They viewed displays illustrating the project and peppered engineers on hand with questions.
The roughly $10 million Roads to Prosperity bond-funded project will extend 1.28 miles from Jonathan Lane in the east (Jonathan sits between Mountainview Elementary and Glen Oaks Church of Christ) to just before Mountaineer mall in the west, where Green Bag divides and widens to four lanes.
Traffic circles aimed at improving traffic flow will be built at the Dorsey Avenue/Kingwood Pike intersection and near Mississippi Street, which feeds traffic to South Middle, MTEC and White park. Traffic studies indicated these would work better than traffic lights, DOH said.
The entire stretch will be widened and resurfaced and equipped with shoulders and sidewalks.
Addressing concerns about truck traffic handling the roundabouts, Design Engineer Dirar Ahmed, who’s overseeing the project, said they are one-lane circles (one lane each direction) but will have interior aprons designed to handle the weight of the inside wheels. “This is a common design for all roundabouts.”
There will also be a center turn lane installed before the Mississippi Street intersection, a curb and gutter along the west side to address drainage problems, and a bike lane along the west shoulder.
Here’s the project timeline: public comments due to DOH by May 30; environmental clearance by July 1; right of way acquisition by spring 2020; construction to begin by summer 2020. Ahmed estimated construction at 18 months to two-years.
Construction will proceed in five stages. During stage 2, Kingwood Pike will be closed and detours set up. During Stage 3, Dorsey Avenue will be closed.
The truck detour will extend about 10.6 miles (3.8 miles out of the way) and take 25 minutes to travel. The car detour will be much shorter: 3.2 miles (1.2 miles out of the way) and take 10 minutes.
Delegate Danielle Walker, D-Monongalia, was one of the early arrivals and wondered how the detours will affect school bus and Mountain Line traffic. “What are those detours going to mean? These are the things we all have to take into consideration.”
Raymond Travis lives near the Luckey Lane turnoff to Mountainview. He’s been there since 1976. He thinks Kingwood Pike/Dorsey Avenue roundabout is a bad idea, partly because of all the fill that will be required to level the site and all the weight that fill will have to bear.
“About all they need is a computer-controlled light system at Dorsey Avenue.” A light with sensors will keep the Green Bag traffic flowing, he said, and only change when vehicles are set to turn off the Pike or Dorsey.
Full project information, including satellite maps, can be found at http://go.wv.gov/dotcomment. There Is also a comment link at this page.
Written comments may also be sent to R J Scites, P.E., Director, Engineering Division, West Virginia Division of Highways, 1334 Smith Street, Charleston, WV 25301, on or before May 16.
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