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Plans for Trace Fork access road at a standstill

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A plan to put in an access road to relieve traffic congestion at the Trace Fork shopping plaza on Corridor G has stalled while state officials study traffic in the area.

The state bought property from the City of South Charleston for the possibility of building the entrance from the end of RHL Boulevard next to the South Charleston Memorial Ice Rink and down a ridge, where it would connect with Jefferson Road near the city's public works department.

That plan has slowed down so that officials can study the traffic from Jefferson to MacCorkle avenues in South Charleston, DOT spokesman Brent Walker said.

Walker said there's a timeline for construction of the road.

"The study phase is just the first phase," he said. "It's at the beginning, so we have done some studies and designs on RHL Boulevard but decided to wait until we complete the study on Jefferson Road to MacCorkle Avenue."

The state has not funded the access road, he said. The half-mile stretch of road would cost around $10 million, according to previous Gazette reports. 

The state will need to do a traffic study and an environmental study, he said. Officials also will look for other solutions to the traffic congestion, Walker said.

U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito has secured about $1 million for property acquisition and design work for the road, according to previous Gazette reports.

Congested traffic in the Corridor G area has long been a problem, especially during the holiday season.

South Charleston city officials said a way to alleviate the traffic is still very much needed.

Bob Anderson, business recruiter for the city, said he hopes the state will move forward with the plan for the access road.

THF Realty, which owns the Shoppes at Trace Fork, hire police officers to direct traffic when it gets congested, but it's still backed up much of the time, Anderson said. He hopes that something can be done to fix the traffic problems so it does not become a deterrent to people frequenting the businesses at Corridor G.

"We're hoping that DOT will move ahead steadily in the year starting that road," Anderson said.

Mayor Frank Mullens said the holiday season is the most congested time for traffic near Corridor G. During other times like spring break vacations, traffic also becomes a problem, he said.

"There's always a lot of traffic in that area, which is a good thing, but we need to have a better transportation system to get them in and out," Mullens said.

Reach Lori Kersey at lori.kersey@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1240.


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