Cross Lanes residents on Thursday got their first look at what the West Virginia Division of Highways has deemed to be the best option for easing traffic congestion in the Charleston suburb — widening a 1.5-mile stretch of W.Va. 622 from its current three lanes to as many as five.
The $18.7 million preferred alternative for the project was presented through a series of maps, visual aids and video presentations displayed at a public informational meeting hosted by the DOH at Cross Lanes Baptist Church. DOH staffers were on hand to answer questions and collect feedback from the public.
The preferred route would widen W.Va. 622 to five lanes between Old Goff Mountain Road near the westbound Interstate 64 exit and the four-way stoplight at the intersection of W.Va. 622 and W.Va. 62. Currently, that section of road carries one lane of traffic in each direction, separated by a two-way left-turn lane.
At the point where Brick Lane and Gatewood Road now intersect with W.Va. 622 near the Cross Lanes Subway and City National Bank, a new traffic light would be installed.
The intersection of W.Va. 622 and W.Va. 62 would be widened from the current one lane of through-traffic to two lanes of through-traffic for northbound and southbound W.Va. 622 travelers, and retain single left-turn and right-turn lanes. For drivers entering the intersection from W.Va. 62 (Cross Lanes Drive/Little Tyler Road), through-traffic would remain a single lane in each direction, but it would have two left-turn lanes and one right-turn lane.
North of that intersection to the stoplight at the entrance to the Cross Lanes Kroger and Andrew Jackson Middle School, northbound W.Va. 622/Big Tyler Road would be widened from a single through-lane to two through-lanes. Southbound traffic would continue to operate on a single through-lane, with a two-way left-turn lane serving traffic in both directions.
As northbound traffic on W.Va. 622/Big Tyler Road approaches Andrew Jackson Middle School, the right through-lane becomes a right-turn lane, and the widening project ends.
The project also calls for installing a new underground drainage system along Sun Valley Drive from W.Va. 622/Big Tyler Road to Little Tyler Road, an area prone to flash-flooding. On the east side of W.Va. 622/Big Tyler, a structure owned by the DOH would be demolished and its lot connected with neighboring lots owned by the agency to create the site for a retention pond to further control flooding.
More than 25,000 vehicles per day use W.Va. 622, the main traffic artery connecting Cross Lanes residents with I-64.
Funding for the project is in place, according to Dirar Ahmad, chief of the DOH’s engineering section. If the environmental review process, which began with Thursday’s meeting, proceeds without a major hitch, the DOH would be able to proceed with right-of-way acquisitions by this fall, begin design work, and then start construction in the winter of 2021.
Ahmad said it should take two construction seasons to complete the project. While work is underway, only sidewalks and shoulder closures are expected, while work requiring lane closures will be done at night. Two-way traffic will be maintained at all times, and entrances to streets, driveways, parking lots and businesses will remain open through the construction period.
While up to 60 narrow right-of-way parcels are needed for the project, no homes or businesses will be displaced.