Cumberland Times-News

Local News

January 7, 2014

Three-arm traffic light at Hampshire High going out for bid

Drivers crossing U.S. 50 will have left turn signal

ROMNEY, W.Va. — After months of debate on whether or not to build a roundabout on U.S. Route 50 in front of Hampshire High School, the state Department of Transportation decided on a three-arm traffic signal.

Brent Walker, head of communications, said Tuesday the DOT will be asking for bids Jan. 28 to be opened 30 days later.

“We normally give the contractor 120 days to complete the project after we award the contract,” Walker said.

Walker said marking now on U.S. 50 in front of the school will be removed and new stripes will be painted.

The traffic signal will have a left turn signal for traffic going across U.S. 50 and up the hill.

“The existing right turn from the high school exit will remain but will be operated with a green light,” Walker said.

All traffic traveling uphill or downhill will be alerted to prepare to stop.

Walker said a cost estimate would be around $200,000.

The state-of-the-art sensor-type light that will recognize traffic and adjust the timing accordingly.

“The timing is programmed in Charleston. We will keep an eye on the traffic situation. We’ll monitor what is happening after the light is installed to get a little bit of history,” Walker said.

That will help the DOT determine whether or not to adjust the timing.

In addition, warning signs will be placed on the up and down grades before entering the traffic light area.

Walker said collecting history on the traffic would determine whether or not to install additional warning signs.

In the case of special events being held at the school, Walker said officials have several options.

“For special events such as graduation or football games, the timing on the sensor could be adjusted, a flashing light could be discussed prior to a major event or arrangements could be made with law enforcement to direct traffic,” Walker said.

The traffic light surfaced after a great deal of conversation and input from local officials and businesses displeased with the DOT’s decision last year to install a roundabout.

A roundabout is a circular intersection where drivers travel counterclockwise around a center island. There are no traffic signals or stop signs.

Drivers yield at entry to traffic in the roundabout, and then enter the intersection and exit at their desired street.

The Hampshire County community was against the roundabout. After numerous stories and contacts it was discovered that no one from the DOT had physically visited the site prior to deciding on a roundabout.

After further investigation the DOT changed its mind and opted for a traffic signal.

With the time frame discussed with Walker, the traffic light at the high school entrance should be installed by June if not before.

Contact Marla Pisciotta at marlapisciotta@frontier.com.

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