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Brian M.

Powell
3292 University Avenue, Apartment 603 Morgantown, West Virginia 26505-2279

January 24, 2012 Gregory L. Bailey, P.E. West Virginia Division of Highways 1900 Kanawha Boulevard East, Building 5 Charleston, West Virginia 25305-0430 RE: WV 705 Connector (State Project X311-705/1-0.00) Mr. Bailey: I attended the Division of Highways public information session about the Mileground widening project earlier today. I am pleased to see WVDOH is moving forward with this much-needed improvement for the Morgantown area. I generally like what is shown in the proposed plans, but I do have some specific comments and concerns that I wish to share. They are addressed below. Phase I: Stewartstown Road to US 119 (Mileground/Willey Street) Stewartstown Road Intersection As shown in the plans, it appears there will be no modifications to the existing WV 705/Stewartstown Road intersection. I encourage WVDOH to look at correcting the vertical alignment of this intersection. The intersection sits at a rise on WV 705, creating poor sight lines in both directions. The left turn movements from both directions of WV 705 were recently changed to be protected-only. I presume this change was made in response to accident rates. Improved sight lines could allow the return of protected/permitted left turns which would reduce vehicle delays. I also suggest the addition of right-turn lanes from both directions of WV 705. Turning traffic unnecessarily delays through traffic in the existing slow lane. Adding turn lanes would improve the capacity of the intersection at minimal cost. Sidewalks and Typical Section For a high-speed, high-volume road traveling through a largely undeveloped area, the typical section footprint shown seems unnecessarily compact. Adding full-width shoulders as exist on WV 705 west of Stewartstown Road would avoid breakdowns impacting travel lanes and provide a larger clear recovery area. With the area hospitals, the shoulder could also be helpful to ambulances in case of traffic congestion. For safety reasons, I also suggest that a median be included on this 4-lane segment. A small median such as on WV 705 west of Stewartstown Road would help to prevent crossover

accidents, but even a narrow 4-foot concrete rumble strip median as commonly used by PennDOT would be an improvement over a double-yellow line. I applaud WVDOH for including sidewalks on this project, but I am concerned that 50mph traffic passing just 2 feet over from the sidewalk will discourage pedestrians. The typical section shows a guardrail outside the sidewalk. Moving the guardrail between the sidewalk and roadway would provide protection for pedestrians and encourage use of the sidewalk. Intersection with US 119 (Mileground/Willey Street) I am in favor of making WV 705 eastbound-to-US 119 northbound and vice versa the through movement. The bulk of the traffic along this corridor is moving between northern Morgantown and Interstate 68. The fewer turns drivers have to make to stay on the corridor, the better. I oppose the use of a roundabout at the newly reconfigured intersection. Roundabouts are still very new in West Virginia, with the only nearby examples being along WV 273 in Fairmont. From what I have observed in Fairmont, driver understanding of proper roundabout usage is low. Understanding how and when to yield right-of-way seems to be a particular problem. With the volume of traffic this corridor sees during rush hour, I can only begin to imagine the problems that driver confusion will cause. I encourage WVDOH to consider a traditional signalized intersection as an alternative. This would be more familiar to drivers, especially those who visit the area occasionally for the area hospitals and West Virginia University-related events. If WVDOH does intend to proceed with a roundabout, consideration should be given to adding right-turn bypass lanes for traffic turning right to and from Willey Street. Removing this traffic from the roundabout itself will reduce possible confusion and delays. Phase II: WV 705 to Northpointe Plaza Typical Section I favor the 5-lane roadway (including center turn lane) as WVDOH has proposed. This will allow for easy access to adjoining businesses. The center turn lane can also provide a refuge for pedestrians crossing the road. Hartman Run Road Intersection It is unclear from the plans if the dedicated right-turn lane from US 119 northbound to Hartman Run Road will be retained in the widening. With a large amount of turning traffic, I encourage keeping a dedicated right-turn lane at this intersection.

Phase III: Northpointe Plaza to CR 857 at Easton Typical Section Omitting the center turn lane and sidewalk on this segment seems reasonable. I have the same concerns about lack of a median and full-width shoulders on this phase as previously discussed in Phase I. Northpointe Plaza Intersection Due to the volume of traffic entering Northpointe Plaza, I encourage the addition of rightturn and left-turn lanes for traffic entering this plaza from both directions of US 119. Point Marion Road/CR 857 Intersection I am pleased to see the proposed intersection realignment so that Mileground-to-I-68 traffic becomes the through movement at this intersection. I encourage WVDOH to add a right-turn lane for the CR 857 southbound to US 119 northbound movement. To service peak travel flows, it may be helpful to include a dual left-turn from US 119 southbound to CR 857 northbound. Project-Wide Concerns Route Numbering This project area encompasses three separate route numbers: WV 705, US 119, and CR 857. The frequently-changing numbers are unnecessarily confusing to visitors. The WV 705 designation should be extended along the length of this project, continuing out CR 857 to its interchange with Interstate 68 at Exit #7. WV 705 should also be extended from its western end along US 19/WV 7 and CR 19/24 to Interstate 79s Exit #155. These two extensions will provide a single-route path across northern Morgantown so that visitors can easily travel to WVU, area hospitals, research facilities, and sports facilities. Lighting As a high-volume route into one of the states largest cities, consideration should be given to installing continuous roadway lighting throughout the project area. This will improve safety for drivers and pedestrians, making the entrance more welcoming at night, and reduce the visual transitions now present where some business lighting illuminates the road. I appreciate your consideration of my comments and concerns regarding this project. Sincerely,

Brian M. Powell