Proposed Route 522 bypass: status and issues
(Berkeley Springs, WV – May 26, 2018) — The West Virginia Department of Highways is developing plans to construct a four-lane bypass around Berkeley Springs from Winchester Grade Road on the south to near Sand Mine Road on the north.
The four-mile bypass as initially designed would include two overpasses and five at-grade interchanges into Berkeley Springs. Funding for the project would come from a $1.6 billion bond passed by West Virginia voters in 2017. Land acquisition is scheduled to begin in 2018 with construction commencing in 2019 on a two-year construction schedule.
Two major issues identified
A task force of local officials and interested party has been formed by Berkeley Springs-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce and has identified two issues of major initial concern.
The current proposal would require ALL traffic from the south (including local) to take the bypass and use a complicated exit ramp with multiple turns to gain access to 522 through town, rather than simply giving traffic the option to stay on 522 or take the bypass.
- Under the proposed design, the current Rt. 522 will be barricaded to northbound traffic and residents who live south of Route 13 would be required to enter the bypass to access schools, shopping, etc.
- Although the north end of the bypass design is not complete, the group believes it is critical that it gives travelers an uncomplicated option for remaining on 522 through Berkeley Springs.
The proposed intersections aren’t getting adequate upgrades to absorb new traffic patterns and there is no guarantee of any new traffic signals.
- The proposed intersections
- There are currently seven proposed bypass intersections (Rt.13, Sugar Hollow Road, Myers Road, Johnsons Mill Road, Martinsburg Road, Fairfax Street, and the Fairview Connector Road).
- Three of the proposed bypass intersections (Myers Road, Johnsons Mill Road, and Fairfax Street) are not scheduled for upgrades beyond 100 feet of the bypass.
- Why this is a concern
- Residents have voiced concern that these roads are not suited for the volume of traffic that could potentially use them to access the downtown area.
- Additionally, unless a later traffic survey warrants, no traffic control measures (signals) will be installed at the interchanges.
Working group aims for a redesign
The working group will continue to work with local state elected officials to address these concerns in an effort to get the Department of Highways to redesign the south and north end interchanges and address the issues raised regarding the rest of the intersections. The Cacapon South POA board will continue to monitor the situation and provide occasional updates.
Phone: The Berkeley Springs Chamber of Commerce 304-258-3738.