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News From Our Capital: By Delegate
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200 Luxurious Rooms
Flatwoods Exit 67 off I-79
Mountain Lakes Amphitheater
this weeks edition:
Changes coming to Flatwoods Exit...
Anyone who travels in the Flatwoods area since Walmart opened knows that traffic can sometimes be a real pain. In December of last year a group of local people met with representatives of the Department of Highways. That meeting was facilitated by Delegate Brent Boggs.
The meeting was hosted by Skidmore Development at the Days Hotel. The County Commission was represented by then Commissioner Gary Ellyson, the County Office of Emergency Services Director Mike Baker was there as was Brent, John and Greg Skidmore, myself and several members of the DOH based in Charleston and Weston.
We laid out concerns and gave suggestions as to how we felt the situation might be made better. The DOH folks were responsive. We all went into the meeting knowing that there wasn’t going to be funding to make major changes so, we were looking for ways to make improvements that would be the most cost effective. A number of options were put on the table.
When we left the meeting the DOH representatives said they would have to look at the data before making any decisions and would report back to us. The original time frame called for us to get back together before the end of the year. We all realized that with the holidays and the changes in administration at the state level, that was a very lofty goal.
Thanks to Brent, that meeting did take place last Friday and I must say I was pleasantly surprised with the results.
The DOH statistical data confirmed what we had told the group. They in turn had run a series of prospective fixes for the problems as well as very preliminary cost estimates… i.e. low, cost, medium or expensive.
With most of the same people in the room, the DOH showed us computer programs illustrating the various options. Obviously, the fixes that had large price tags attached to them were not possible due to the financial condition our state is in. However four items do seem very possible and the outcome of the meeting is there will be changes at the 67 Exit in the near future.
One of the main proposed improvements outlined by the DOH was turning lanes for both the north and south bound entrance ramps to I-79. They also hope to put a right hand turning lane on the south bound exit ramp. All of these items were originally pitched by our group during the first meeting. Another idea that was batted round then and is on the DOH’s table is an additional signal light on the south bound side of the interstate.
Even better, some of the improvement may come about this summer. A DOH representative from Weston’s District Headquarters said that the Scott’s Fork Road area under the Interstate Bridge to Route 4 and to the Walmart entrance was scheduled for resurfacing this summer. He said that if existing roadway would support the widening for the turning lanes on the north and south bound entrance ramps that improvement could happen this summer.
While they may do some restriping at the mouth of the south bound exit ramp to allow for a right hand turn the actual turning lane could take longer in that more redesigning and construction work will have to be done. The DOH hopes to get the turning lanes completed before the signal is installed.
All in all it was a great meeting. Probably one of the most productive I have ever participated in with a state agency. Our Delegate, Brent Boggs and the other who participated are to be commended on taking the initiative to work on this type of advancement. While the improvement will obviously not fix all the traffic flow problems that busy interchange experiences, this is a major step in the right direction.
Will return soon...