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Author Topic: Berkeley Springs (US 522) Bypass  (Read 6327 times)

MASTERNC

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Berkeley Springs (US 522) Bypass
« on: March 02, 2019, 04:48:03 PM »

This has been talked about for decades but sounds like it is finally getting traction (hopefully). Construction is one-third funded (with a Federal grant) and would start next year, with completion in 2022.  It's definitely needed given the amount of traffic trying to cut from I-68/I-70 to I-81 in Virginia.

https://www.heraldmailmedia.com/news/tri_state/west_virginia/berkeley-springs-bypass-meeting-scheduled-for-thursday/article_ef239cf9-3575-51c7-9477-d37c116a0591.html
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Beltway

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Re: Berkeley Springs (US 522) Bypass
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2019, 05:11:47 PM »

This has been talked about for decades but sounds like it is finally getting traction (hopefully). Construction is one-third funded (with a Federal grant) and would start next year, with completion in 2022.  It's definitely needed given the amount of traffic trying to cut from I-68/I-70 to I-81 in Virginia.

Any mapping of alignment alternatives yet?
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Re: Berkeley Springs (US 522) Bypass
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2019, 05:47:33 PM »

This has been talked about for decades but sounds like it is finally getting traction (hopefully). Construction is one-third funded (with a Federal grant) and would start next year, with completion in 2022.  It's definitely needed given the amount of traffic trying to cut from I-68/I-70 to I-81 in Virginia.

Any mapping of alignment alternatives yet?

I saw a map posted somewhere when news of WV's BUILD grant was first awarded. The route will run to the east of downtown Berkeley Springs, which is logical because there's a big honking mountain immediately west of downtown that WV 9 climbs/descends.
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Re: Berkeley Springs (US 522) Bypass
« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2019, 06:03:19 PM »

Finally. Now all that's needed is a parallel span across the Potomac/tracks/local streets. I wonder what would something like this cost about 4 or 5 years from now?
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sprjus4

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Re: Berkeley Springs (US 522) Bypass
« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2019, 08:16:21 PM »

This has been talked about for decades but sounds like it is finally getting traction (hopefully). Construction is one-third funded (with a Federal grant) and would start next year, with completion in 2022.  It's definitely needed given the amount of traffic trying to cut from I-68/I-70 to I-81 in Virginia.

Any mapping of alignment alternatives yet?

https://www.morganmessenger.com/2018/12/06/berkeley-springs-bypass-gets-20-million-in-federal-funding/
The bypass would be a four-lane divided highway with at least 2 interchanges. The rest of the intersections will be at-grade, a design similar to other Corridor projects in West Virginia.

The project would cost an estimated $64 million total for 4 miles of new divided roadway (only about $16 million per mile?)
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Re: Berkeley Springs (US 522) Bypass
« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2019, 10:03:06 PM »

This has been talked about for decades but sounds like it is finally getting traction (hopefully). Construction is one-third funded (with a Federal grant) and would start next year, with completion in 2022.  It's definitely needed given the amount of traffic trying to cut from I-68/I-70 to I-81 in Virginia.

Any mapping of alignment alternatives yet?

http://transportation.wv.gov/highways/engineering/comment/BerkeleySpringsBypass/Pages/default.aspx

They'd completed the NEPA process with an approved bypass alignment 15-20ish years ago...I recall this from the time.  Looks like they're currently going through NEPA reevaluation.

Worth noting that, since last year (the time of the map sprjus posted), the endpoints have been changed to either T-intersection or roundabout options, the 2nd intersection south of WV 9 has been eliminated, and the ramps at CR 13 (near the south end) have been deferred to the future.
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Re: Berkeley Springs (US 522) Bypass
« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2019, 10:23:31 PM »

Worth noting that, since last year (the time of the map sprjus posted), the endpoints have been changed to either T-intersection or roundabout options
I think this is a mistake in the long run. The only reason it was done is because locals were afraid if you were directed on the bypass, business would be lost in town. IMHO, any bypass should have continuity, and not require you to turn onto it. For a long distance traveler, this is extremely beneficial. If US 501 is ever widened in the future to 4 lanes, directing 4-lane highway traffic onto a 4-lane bypass as opposed to, turn right to stay on a 65 MPH four-lane highway, or go straight (the expected movement for thru traffic) to continue into a 2-lane 25 MPH road through town.

Bottom line, if someone wants to do business in town, they'll go into town. If they just want to get through, they're not going to stop. Projects like these need local input, but a design change in this manner should not be done just because of local opposition that don't have a care for keeping the flow of thru-traffic going.
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Re: Berkeley Springs (US 522) Bypass
« Reply #7 on: March 03, 2019, 12:17:58 PM »

Worth noting that, since last year (the time of the map sprjus posted), the endpoints have been changed to either T-intersection or roundabout options
I think this is a mistake in the long run. The only reason it was done is because locals were afraid if you were directed on the bypass, business would be lost in town. IMHO, any bypass should have continuity, and not require you to turn onto it. For a long distance traveler, this is extremely beneficial. If US 501 is ever widened in the future to 4 lanes, directing 4-lane highway traffic onto a 4-lane bypass as opposed to, turn right to stay on a 65 MPH four-lane highway, or go straight (the expected movement for thru traffic) to continue into a 2-lane 25 MPH road through town.

Bottom line, if someone wants to do business in town, they'll go into town. If they just want to get through, they're not going to stop. Projects like these need local input, but a design change in this manner should not be done just because of local opposition that don't have a care for keeping the flow of thru-traffic going.

Frankly, I think most of the businesses in Berkeley Springs would be perfectly happy to have through traffic bypass town. US 522 traffic chokes the town and makes it hard for people who actually want to go there to do so during warmer weather months.

I suspect a lot of the change is WVDOH trying to cheap out and not wanting to realign the roadway when they do eventually intend to relocate the rest of US 522 on a new alignment.
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Re: Berkeley Springs (US 522) Bypass
« Reply #8 on: March 03, 2019, 12:42:23 PM »

I suspect a lot of the change is WVDOH trying to cheap out and not wanting to realign the roadway when they do eventually intend to relocate the rest of US 522 on a new alignment.
Well, if a four-lane widening for the rest of US 522 would be relocated rather than widening the existing road, then by all means, the existing design would work for the time being, IF the bypass would be extended in the future.
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Re: Berkeley Springs (US 522) Bypass
« Reply #9 on: March 03, 2019, 12:47:22 PM »

I suspect a lot of the change is WVDOH trying to cheap out and not wanting to realign the roadway when they do eventually intend to relocate the rest of US 522 on a new alignment.
Well, if a four-lane widening for the rest of US 522 would be relocated rather than widening the existing road, then by all means, the existing design would work for the time being, IF the bypass would be extended in the future.
If they go that route, I would like to recommend them to leave some nice paved stubs, just like PA and its freeways.

sprjus4

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Re: Berkeley Springs (US 522) Bypass
« Reply #10 on: March 03, 2019, 01:19:58 PM »

http://transportation.wv.gov/highways/engineering/comment/BerkeleySpringsBypass/Documents/handout.pdf

Looking at the link froggie posted previously, I realized the first page does indicate...
Quote
The US 522 project consists of a four-lane roadway on a new alignment from the Virginia/West Virginia state line to the Maryland state line for a distance of approximately 19 miles. The Berkeley Springs Bypass portion of the US 522 project will be the first segment to be constructed.



Completion of a 19 mile relocation in West Virginia would result in a mostly 4-lane corridor (with the exception of Maryland's 1 mile section) between I-81 and I-70 / I-68 in Maryland. It'd be interesting to see a bi-state buildout, with Maryland widening their portion into a 4-lane freeway (which would be a complicated build due to the existing footprint), building a new 4-lane Potomac River Bridge, and completely rebuilding the interchange with I-70 / I-68.
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Re: Berkeley Springs (US 522) Bypass
« Reply #11 on: March 03, 2019, 02:27:38 PM »

http://transportation.wv.gov/highways/engineering/comment/BerkeleySpringsBypass/Documents/handout.pdf

Looking at the link froggie posted previously, I realized the first page does indicate...
Quote
The US 522 project consists of a four-lane roadway on a new alignment from the Virginia/West Virginia state line to the Maryland state line for a distance of approximately 19 miles. The Berkeley Springs Bypass portion of the US 522 project will be the first segment to be constructed.

Completion of a 19 mile relocation in West Virginia would result in a mostly 4-lane corridor (with the exception of Maryland's 1 mile section) between I-81 and I-70 / I-68 in Maryland. It'd be interesting to see a bi-state buildout, with Maryland widening their portion into a 4-lane freeway (which would be a complicated build due to the existing footprint), building a new 4-lane Potomac River Bridge, and completely rebuilding the interchange with I-70 / I-68.
Maryland would probably have to widen in-line since there is little room to go on a new alignment, but there appears to be enough to do it with a few driveway closures/relocations and maybe acquiring 1-2 properties. It's already 4 lanes approaching I-70, though those are auxiliary lanes. In that regard, I don't see an immediate need to rebuild the I-70 interchange. Yes, it's suboptimal, but it's fully directional at least.

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Re: Berkeley Springs (US 522) Bypass
« Reply #12 on: March 06, 2019, 10:38:34 AM »

That’s very interesting.
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sprjus4

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Re: Berkeley Springs (US 522) Bypass
« Reply #13 on: April 22, 2019, 07:32:22 AM »

Quote
BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. - The proposed U.S. 522 bypass project around Berkeley Springs, West Virginia is raising concerns for residents nearby, who say the project will cause safety and accessibility issues on a well-traveled road.

Longtime residents Chris Haldeman and Andrea LaRue are just a few who take the north end of Sugar Hollow Road in Berkeley Springs, as it is closer to 522 than the south end, a steep stretch of road. 

"When I purchased the place, I planned to live here forever,' said Morgan County resident Chris Haldeman, who lives nearby on Dark Hollow. "I wouldn't have bought it with that type of access, because it isn't safe."

They say the current bypass design creates issues that didn't exist before.

"When the bypass goes through... it is going to fill in this valley, so we will no longer be able to use this end of Sugar Hollow Road. We'll be forced out the other end," said LaRue. "The issue with that is just past here, the road becomes extremely steep."

As a Morgan County school substitute bus driver, Haldeman's concern is the safety of the students.

"The proposed route is going to force us to take our vehicles up and down there every day, regardless of whether because it will be our only option in and out," said Haldeman.

They are not against the project, but hope that the West Virginia Department of Transportation officials would consider alternate routes that would not affect their livelihoods. They say they've attended public meetings, and received response from local politicians, but more still needs to be done.

"We've had limited response back, and that's the frustrating part. Let us know what's going on," said Haldeman.

We reached out to the West Virginia Department of Transportation for comment, but have not heard back.

https://www.localdvm.com/news/west-virginia/residents-raise-concerns-over-proposed-route-522-bypass-project/1939325806
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Re: Berkeley Springs (US 522) Bypass
« Reply #14 on: June 16, 2019, 11:06:14 PM »

From first hand experience, a Berkeley Springs bypass is needed as there are A LOT of 18 wheelers running right through downtown Berkeley Springs. As Winchester keeps growing, it will only get busier as it is the quickest way from northwest Virginia to points such as Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Detroit, and Chicago.
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sprjus4

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Re: Berkeley Springs (US 522) Bypass
« Reply #15 on: June 17, 2019, 06:16:17 AM »

From first hand experience, a Berkeley Springs bypass is needed as there are A LOT of 18 wheelers running right through downtown Berkeley Springs. As Winchester keeps growing, it will only get busier as it is the quickest way from northwest Virginia to points such as Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Detroit, and Chicago.
Perhaps a cheaper way than relocating US-522 for 20+ miles as West Virginia is currently proposing, they should instead build a 7 mile freeway between I-70 and I-81, in partnership with Maryland. Currently, it's 65 miles to take I-81 to I-70 between Winchester and I-68, or a smaller 45 miles of US-522. Therefore, more truck traffic uses US-522 because it's shorter. If you built a connector though between I-81 and I-70, it would reduce the distance from 65 miles to 46 miles on the interstate route. That would easily remove all the traffic from US-522, and only require 7 miles of new construction, not 20+. Plus, you get a 70 mph interstate corridor as opposed to a 55-65 mph four-lane divided highway.

Just a thought.

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Beltway

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Re: Berkeley Springs (US 522) Bypass
« Reply #16 on: June 17, 2019, 07:22:21 AM »

Perhaps a cheaper way than relocating US-522 for 20+ miles as West Virginia is currently proposing, they should instead build a 7 mile freeway between I-70 and I-81, in partnership with Maryland. Currently, it's 65 miles to take I-81 to I-70 between Winchester and I-68, or a smaller 45 miles of US-522. Therefore, more truck traffic uses US-522 because it's shorter. If you built a connector though between I-81 and I-70, it would reduce the distance from 65 miles to 46 miles on the interstate route. That would easily remove all the traffic from US-522, and only require 7 miles of new construction, not 20+. Plus, you get a 70 mph interstate corridor as opposed to a 55-65 mph four-lane divided highway.

Why would they need to relocate more than 7 or 8 miles of US-522 in West Virginia?  Dualize the rest.  I also suspect that there is more local traffic on US-522 than we might realize.  Accessing Berkeley Springs from the south is considerably less distance on the current route.

That alignment connecting I-81 and I-70 would entail crossing the Potomac River valley and building a bridge over the river.  Environmental opposition and permitting difficulty could be a major obstacle.
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sprjus4

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Re: Berkeley Springs (US 522) Bypass
« Reply #17 on: June 17, 2019, 07:49:16 AM »

Why would they need to relocate more than 7 or 8 miles of US-522 in West Virginia?  Dualize the rest.  I also suspect that there is more local traffic on US-522 than we might realize.  Accessing Berkeley Springs from the south is considerably less distance on the current route.
The concept I posted above from West Virginia was to relocate about 20 miles of the roadway, and dualize a little portion entering Virginia. It may be cheaper to dualize most of it, but I suppose their standpoint is creating a limited-access type highway instead of a dual-lane. West Virginia is more strict on access management standards than Virginia, who mostly dualizes (which isn't a bad thing, it's just the differences between the state's standards) and I suppose relocating it would achieve limited-access better. You could also do this with dualizing the road, but then you'd need to construct frontage roads, etc. which may rack up the cost.

Most of the US-522 corridor through West Virginia also has more dense development along it which could be another reason.

That alignment connecting I-81 and I-70 would entail crossing the Potomac River valley and building a bridge over the river.  Environmental opposition and permitting difficulty could be a major obstacle.
If the goal is to achieve a 4-lane US-522 to I-70, you'd still have to build a new bridge over the Potomac River, and expand the 2-lane US-522 heading to I-70 in Maryland, which is a condensed path, to 4-lanes involving another bridge being built over the Little Tonoloway Creek. You still have environmental impacts either way, but I suppose less.

Relocating US-522 works to, the I-81 / I-70 connector was just another concept that would primarily benefit thru traffic.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2019, 07:51:44 AM by sprjus4 »
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Beltway

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Re: Berkeley Springs (US 522) Bypass
« Reply #18 on: June 17, 2019, 08:12:26 AM »

The concept I posted above from West Virginia was to relocate about 20 miles of the roadway, and dualize a little portion entering Virginia. It may be cheaper to dualize most of it, but I suppose their standpoint is creating a limited-access type highway instead of a dual-lane. West Virginia is more strict on access management standards than Virginia, who mostly dualizes (which isn't a bad thing, it's just the differences between the state's standards) and I suppose relocating it would achieve limited-access better. You could also do this with dualizing the road, but then you'd need to construct frontage roads, etc. which may rack up the cost. Most of the US-522 corridor through West Virginia also has more dense development along it which could be another reason.

The rural sections of US-522 have a mostly straight alignment and with ample space for dualization.  The point is that they don't -have- to relocate except for the bypass of Berkeley Springs.

That alignment connecting I-81 and I-70 would entail crossing the Potomac River valley and building a bridge over the river.  Environmental opposition and permitting difficulty could be a major obstacle.
If the goal is to achieve a 4-lane US-522 to I-70, you'd still have to build a new bridge over the Potomac River, and expand the 2-lane US-522 heading to I-70 in Maryland, which is a condensed path, to 4-lanes involving another bridge being built over the Little Tonoloway Creek. You still have environmental impacts either way, but I suppose less.

Major difference from 4-laning the existing crossing as compared to building a virgin alignment across a river valley.
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sprjus4

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Re: Berkeley Springs (US 522) Bypass
« Reply #19 on: August 28, 2019, 01:01:48 PM »

Bypass comments favored two lanes rather than four
Quote
The majority of the 35 public comments on the proposed U.S. 522 Berkeley Springs Bypass want the bypass to be reduced to two lanes instead of the four lanes as it is now designed.

The comments are from the West Virginia Department of Transportation Division of Highways (DOH) workshop meeting on February 28 at Berkeley Springs High School.

In addition to the requests for a two-lane bypass, the majority wrote that they want the speed limit to be 55 mph instead of 65.

While many people said they were against any bypass at the February meeting, seven of the comments received do not want a bypass and five said they wanted the route to be adjusted.

The collection of public comments were received on August 21 through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request sent by The Morgan Messenger on July 16 to the DOH. The comment period from the February meeting ended on April 1 and several requests to receive the comments were made by this newspaper but not fulfilled until the FOIA request was submitted.

The bypass entrances at the southern and northern ends were redesigned based on the community comments from last year’s meeting to allow traffic to continue on U.S. 522 straight into town.

At the February workshop meeting, the intersection at the southern end connection was shown as a roundabout that would allow the entrance onto the bypass on the east side of U.S. 522.

A roundabout on the northern end was shown connecting to the bypass. A Fairview Connector exit was depicted, going to Fairview Drive and War Memorial Hospital.

A roundabout is a circular intersection where drivers travel counterclockwise around a center island. Drivers yield at entry to traffic in the roundabout, then enter the intersection and exit at their desired street. A roundabout is designed to accommodate all vehicles, including truck and trailer combinations.

DOH traffic engineer Ken Clohan said at the workshop meeting that the intersection design on the map shows a roundabout, but it could be a traffic stop sign instead. He said studies show a roundabout is safer and there “are less severe crashes.”

Five people commented they would prefer a bypass that included a stoplight and not a roundabout, and four people preferred a bypass with a roundabout.

The final intersection design will be based on right-of-way and environmental impacts and the costs associated with the current and future four-lane construction projects, the DOH had said.

An at-grade intersection at Myers Road that was in the original design has been eliminated. Construction of ramps for the Winchester Grade Interchange will be delayed for future construction, the DOH had said.

The project description proposes to construct the Berkeley Springs Bypass and the Fairview Connector. The project begins south of Winchester Grade Road and ends north of town near Sandmine Road, including a connector from U.S. 522 to Fairview Drive (near War Memorial Hospital) for a distance of about four miles. The estimated cost of the project is $64 million.

The currently proposed bypass will be a four-lane, controlled access expressway with a grassed median and a design speed of 65 mph, according to the DOH.

According to the DOH timeline, the environmental impact study should be finished by mid-2019, right-of-way activities by the end of 2019, construction in late 2020 and in early 2021.
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Re: Berkeley Springs (US 522) Bypass
« Reply #20 on: August 30, 2019, 08:36:25 AM »

Bypass comments favored two lanes rather than four
Quote
The majority of the 35 public comments on the proposed U.S. 522 Berkeley Springs Bypass want the bypass to be reduced to two lanes instead of the four lanes as it is now designed.

The comments are from the West Virginia Department of Transportation Division of Highways (DOH) workshop meeting on February 28 at Berkeley Springs High School.

In addition to the requests for a two-lane bypass, the majority wrote that they want the speed limit to be 55 mph instead of 65.

While many people said they were against any bypass at the February meeting, seven of the comments received do not want a bypass and five said they wanted the route to be adjusted.

The collection of public comments were received on August 21 through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request sent by The Morgan Messenger on July 16 to the DOH. The comment period from the February meeting ended on April 1 and several requests to receive the comments were made by this newspaper but not fulfilled until the FOIA request was submitted.

The bypass entrances at the southern and northern ends were redesigned based on the community comments from last year’s meeting to allow traffic to continue on U.S. 522 straight into town.

At the February workshop meeting, the intersection at the southern end connection was shown as a roundabout that would allow the entrance onto the bypass on the east side of U.S. 522.

A roundabout on the northern end was shown connecting to the bypass. A Fairview Connector exit was depicted, going to Fairview Drive and War Memorial Hospital.

A roundabout is a circular intersection where drivers travel counterclockwise around a center island. Drivers yield at entry to traffic in the roundabout, then enter the intersection and exit at their desired street. A roundabout is designed to accommodate all vehicles, including truck and trailer combinations.

DOH traffic engineer Ken Clohan said at the workshop meeting that the intersection design on the map shows a roundabout, but it could be a traffic stop sign instead. He said studies show a roundabout is safer and there “are less severe crashes.”

Five people commented they would prefer a bypass that included a stoplight and not a roundabout, and four people preferred a bypass with a roundabout.

The final intersection design will be based on right-of-way and environmental impacts and the costs associated with the current and future four-lane construction projects, the DOH had said.

An at-grade intersection at Myers Road that was in the original design has been eliminated. Construction of ramps for the Winchester Grade Interchange will be delayed for future construction, the DOH had said.

The project description proposes to construct the Berkeley Springs Bypass and the Fairview Connector. The project begins south of Winchester Grade Road and ends north of town near Sandmine Road, including a connector from U.S. 522 to Fairview Drive (near War Memorial Hospital) for a distance of about four miles. The estimated cost of the project is $64 million.

The currently proposed bypass will be a four-lane, controlled access expressway with a grassed median and a design speed of 65 mph, according to the DOH.

According to the DOH timeline, the environmental impact study should be finished by mid-2019, right-of-way activities by the end of 2019, construction in late 2020 and in early 2021.

The corridor should be built as 4 lanes to provide passing opportunities and for eventual continuity with Virginia. As a controlled access freeway, 65mph is the appropriate speed limit.

I submitted public comment to DOH suggesting they defer the Winchester Grade interchange construction and eliminate the at-grade intersection, so I'm glad to see that is happening. I do not like how old US 522 will continue to be the through route. The point of the bypass is to divert traffic around town. That works a lot better when that's the straight-through connection rather than making traffic turn on and off the bypass.
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Re: Berkeley Springs (US 522) Bypass
« Reply #21 on: September 01, 2019, 12:44:25 AM »


The corridor should be built as 4 lanes to provide passing opportunities and for eventual continuity with Virginia. As a controlled access freeway, 65mph is the appropriate speed limit.

I submitted public comment to DOH suggesting they defer the Winchester Grade interchange construction and eliminate the at-grade intersection, so I'm glad to see that is happening. I do not like how old US 522 will continue to be the through route. The point of the bypass is to divert traffic around town. That works a lot better when that's the straight-through connection rather than making traffic turn on and off the bypass.
If that compromise is what it takes to get the bypass built properly (limited access, at least a 4-lane ROW even if they only build 2 lanes to start), I'll take it over the alternative of an at-grade bypass that can't be expanded, even if the tie-in is direct. Look at it this way, upgrading the corridor will require new alignment to be built at either end anyway.

sprjus4

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Re: Berkeley Springs (US 522) Bypass
« Reply #22 on: September 01, 2019, 06:53:33 AM »

I do not like how old US 522 will continue to be the through route. The point of the bypass is to divert traffic around town. That works a lot better when that's the straight-through connection rather than making traffic turn on and off the bypass.
It would only be temporary. In the long-term goal, US-522 is to be relocated fully through West Virginia, so where it will temporarily do a 90 degree turn to connect back to existing US-522, it would continue straight from there without turning in the future.
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Bitmapped

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Re: Berkeley Springs (US 522) Bypass
« Reply #23 on: September 01, 2019, 02:08:32 PM »

I do not like how old US 522 will continue to be the through route. The point of the bypass is to divert traffic around town. That works a lot better when that's the straight-through connection rather than making traffic turn on and off the bypass.
It would only be temporary. In the long-term goal, US-522 is to be relocated fully through West Virginia, so where it will temporarily do a 90 degree turn to connect back to existing US-522, it would continue straight from there without turning in the future.

It could be (and likely will be) decades before anything further is built given WV's priorities. The alignment tie-ins could be curved now to promote use of the bypass as part of the through corridor.
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hbelkins

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Re: Berkeley Springs (US 522) Bypass
« Reply #24 on: September 01, 2019, 04:28:21 PM »

For people who follow the signs (the marked route), it's most likely that the old route through downtown will get a county route number, quite possibly a fraction. So people will likely stay on 522 no matter how it turns.
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