The West Virginia Division of Highways should not give up on improving safety at the intersection of U.S. Route 220 and Stoney Run Road in Keyser merely because the intersection does not meet the state’s criteria for a traffic signal.
There have been three accidents at the intersection in the last month. The crashes have alarmed local residents to the point that 300 of them signed a petition asking the West Virginia Division of Highways to install a traffic control signal.
But Lee Thorne, district manager / engineer for the Division of Highways’ District 5, said the intersection does not meet one or more criteria in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices. The manual serves as the guidelines for the state in deciding where traffic signals are placed.
Although the criteria may not be there, local residents believe the intersection poses a serious traffic hazard that seems to be growing worse.
Becky Viers, who started the petition in February, said, “Traffic has gotten worse since the (Keyser) high school has moved and since businesses are moving south (of town).” B&B Concrete Inc. is located on Stoney Run and heavy loaded trucks have trouble gearing up making a right turn to go south on U.S. Route 220, according to Delegate Gary Howell, who is of member the Legislature’s House Committee on Roads and Transportation. The trucks tend to make a right and go south to find a place to turn around so they can go north, said Howell.
Howell said he had been working to address the problems with the intersection for the past two years. He presented the petition and it was referred to the Roads and Transportation Committee but it was never addressed.
We urge that the Division of Highways take another look at the intersection and come up with signage and other improvements that can make the intersection safer. Surely there are ways other than a traffic light that can alleviate some of the safety problems.