PARKERSBURG - Some local officials are seeking traffic studies with the hope of reconfiguring vehicle routes in the Traffic Circle.
And at least one group of officials is hoping government will pay for the study and, if needed, a traffic light.
MPH Hotels, the developers of a proposed hotel at the Henry Logan Head Start Center on 24th Street, and Salter and Associates, marketers for the Park Shopping Center, are both looking at conducting traffic studies that could alter patterns in the traffic circle.
MPH Hotels must conduct a study for possible ingress and egress off Emerson Avenue into the proposed hotel.
Salter and Associates is also considering a study to review potential changes to the traffic circle and the entrance to the Park Shopping Center. Ron Salter of Salter and Associates said shopping center owners think they may invest as much as a million dollars into the center. There is also the prospect of a big box vendor coming in the center, which benefits everyone, he said.
Officials have expressed interest in having a traffic light installed to allow traffic to exit the shopping center to go either toward Vienna or downtown Parkersburg. Right now there is only one light at the circle, allowing traffic to enter the shopping center. There is no light allowing traffic to exit.
Motorists exiting the shopping center at Gran Ranchero, often try to cross three lanes of traffic to turn onto Emerson Avenue or Murdoch Avenue, northbound.
Motorists heading to Vienna, often cut through the Beechwood area to catch a traffic light at 33rd Street. Mayor Bob Newell said the Beechwood detour is a headache for residents.
Earlier this month, Newell sent a letter to Howard Mullins with the W.Va Department of Highways supporting changes to the Traffic Circle pattern.
"Currently the city of Parkersburg has made alleys one-way to discourage traffic from cutting through the Park Shopping Center and driving through the Beechwood neighborhood, because there is no other reasonable egress north onto Murdoch Avenue.
"This solution is not working and we continue to receive multiple complaints," Newell stated in the letter to Mullins.
Rusty Roten, District 3 engineer for the WVDOH, said officials are looking at putting in a light to allow motorists to make left and right turns out of the shopping center. The change depends on what the study shows, he said.