||New Four Lane Divided Highway
When the Morgantown - Monongalia County Transportation Plan was completed in 1998, it was clear that major traffic problems had developed in Morgantown, and would only get worse as time progressed. Thus, the West Run Expressway was proposed as the key improvement project to ease congestion on the current road system.
The proposal would create a new four lane divided highway a little over six miles long, linking I-68 and I-79. The connection would carry traffic to various points along I-79 to a point near the Pierpont Road interchange on I-68 (Route 857 at US 119, Easton).
Click Map to Enlarge
The above graphic is a small version of the whole map which was presented at the public meeting on Thursday, March 23, 2000. Please click the map to view the entire map at full-size (53k)
The need is abundantly clear to commuting workers and students who struggle daily with the inadequacies of access to the University and medical facilities on the north side of the city, as well as those driving into downtown. Studies indicate that the West Run Expressway would move between 21,500 and 28,800 vehicles each day by the year 2020.
Perhaps the most dramatic statistic involves WV 705 in that same timeframe. Without the expressway, that route would have to carry between 22,300 and 38,500 vehicles per day. When the expressway is built, those numbers would be slashed by more than 12,000.
The West Run Expressway not only would ease congestion along US Route 119 and WV 705, it would also provide significantly safer travel. Engineers estimate that the planned expressway would result in 40 to 50 fewer accidents in this area each year.
The West Virginia Division of Highways initially developed a number of alternatives, but have developed additional alternatives that have been suggested by citizens at the November 1999 and March 2000 public information workshops. No route has been selected, nor could one even be called a "favorite." The process of narrowing the options is continuing, and a list of possibilities was presented at a public meeting in late March 2000.
The Morgantown - Monongalia County Transportation Plan concluded, "No other project or combination of projects offers the range and magnitude of benefits, or addresses as many critical deficiencies, as a connection between I-68 and I-79 north of Morgantown." That is what the West Run Expressway is being designed to provide.
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