Cumberland Times-News

Latest news

April 3, 2013

Engineers ironing out problems in wonky U.S. Route 220 roundabout

LAVALE — In the world of highway construction, redesign happens, according to Tony Crawford, district engineer for the State Highway Administration.

“The goal, of course, is to have zero redesign, but it doesn’t always work out that way,” Crawford said Wednesday during an interview at the District 6 headquarters in LaVale.

The specific topic was the partial roundabout at U.S. Route 220 and Interstate 68 near Greene Street, its closure after problems were discovered and its future.

Crawford prefers the term “U-about.”

Drivers leaving Cumberland via Greene Street or those exiting I-68 and heading south toward Cresaptown started to complain soon after the U-about was opened to traffic.

“The most complaints were from tractor-trailer drivers,” Crawford said.

The most common complaint was that their large rigs tilted badly to the right and that the descent was too steep.

In addition, the constricted space allowed for what was in essence a tractor-trailer slalom maneuver that made for tricky mobility.

“Even before we opened it, we started to consider a redesign,” Crawford said. “We had one of our better drivers take one of our tractor-trailers and test it. He didn’t have any problem, but it didn’t take into account the varying skill levels of other drivers.”

The tires on the left sides of most tractor-trailers headed south would ride up on what SHA calls an apron, made of concrete.

The 3 percent slope of the apron and the 2 percent slope of the road surface created a noticeable tilt.

Combine that with the steepness of the descent and you know why drivers of the big rigs are required to have special operating licenses.

SHA closed the U-about in August.

“Since then, we brought in roundabout experts to help us with a redesign,” Crawford said, referring to private consultants.

The concrete apron will be made level with the existing roadway so that all of a vehicle’s tires will be on the same slope.

In addition, the roadway going downhill from the U-about will be elevated 7 feet.

The result, according to Assistant District Engineer Linda Puffenbarger, is that there will be less right-hand tilt and not as much forward lean to a vehicle negotiating the U-about.

“There will be no arc or hump (such as existed on the first U-about),” Puffenbarger said.

Crawford said SHA thinks of the financial part of a redesign not so much as a monetary loss, but as additional costs. Negotiations are under way with IA Construction to see how much that will be. The initial contract was for $3.2 million.

Work should begin in May and be complete by August, according to Devin R. Miller, SHA construction engineer.

Some of the overall project is done and will stay that way, and Crawford is pleased with the result.

Three prongs of eastbound traffic come together on I-68; vehicles from the interstate itself, as well as those from U.S. 220 and Brown Avenue.

“That is working very well,” Crawford said.

“One of the advantages is that there is now a wide open view and motorists can more easily see the traffic that is merging,” Miller added. The acceleration lanes from U.S. 220 and Brown Avenue have been lengthened, allowing, according to SHA, motorists more time to make adjustments for the merger.

An advantage of a completed U-about will be that drivers leaving Cumberland via Greene Street will be able to use it to swing seamlessly onto eastbound I-68.

Previously, those motorists had to continue south on U.S. 220 and find a place to turn around to make that happen. SHA estimates show that about 15,000 vehicles a day travel through the area.

“When you look at a design in the 2-D sense and not in 3-D it can look workable on paper,” Crawford said.

There is computer technology that exists now that wasn’t available when the U-about was designed that might make it easier for designers to spot a potential problem, Crawford explained.

“That way you don’t have to wait until you start pushing dirt before you see that something may need to be changed.”

Contact Michael A. Sawyers at msawyers@times-news.com.

 

1
Text Only
Latest news
  • Sheriff warns of scams targeting taxpayers

    CUMBERLAND — Allegany County Sheriff Craig Robertson cautioned residents Thursday to be aware of continuing telephone scams that are targeting taxpayers.

    April 17, 2014

  • DSC_0446.JPG Oakland returns to normal after tanker accident

    OAKLAND — Nearly 12 hours after a propane tanker overturned in the heart of its business district, the town of Oakland returned to normal early Wednesday night.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • New River Gorge bald eagle dies from injuries

    CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A female bald eagle that nested in the New River Gorge has died from injuries suffered last month when she was hit by a train and later by a vehicle.
     

    April 17, 2014

  • 10 things to know for today

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today:
     

    April 17, 2014

  • Park Service opens Canal Classrooms Park Service opens Canal Classrooms

    CUMBERLAND – The National Park Service held a ribbon-cutting event Wednesday for a new program called Canal Classrooms, which will offer students pre-K through fifth grade accredited classwork on the Canal Place grounds.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • City, county officials to talk baseball at work session

    CUMBERLAND — During today’s Allegany County Commission work session, a proposal to study the possibility of bringing a professional-level baseball team to the area will be vetted again, this time with participants from the city of Cumberland.

    April 17, 2014

  • EversolCody004.jpg Cody Eversole named Kelley Award winner

    KEYSER, W.Va. — Keyser High School senior Cody Eversole was named this year’s J. Edward Kelley Award winner during a ceremony Wednesday morning at Potomac State College.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • DSC_0464.JPG Cranes set up to remove overturned fuel tanker in Oakland

    OAKLAND — Two large cranes were being set up early Wednesday afternoon in downtown Oakland to remove a fuel tanker that overturned several hours earlier and forced evacuation of the business district.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Students support renovation of Southern Middle School

    OAKLAND — Students from both Southern and Northern middle schools presented a list of reasons why Southern Middle needs to be renovated during the Garrett County Commission meeting Tuesday.

    April 16, 2014

  • Oakland business district evacuated after tanker overturns

    OAKLAND — The town of Oakland business district was evacuated Wednesday when a tanker carrying 10,000 gallons of liquid propane overturned at Oak and Third streets at about 9:35 a.m., according to Garrett County officials.

    April 16, 2014

Facebook
Must Read
House Ads
NDN Video
NDN Video