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Corridor G, Oakwood Intersection project nearing completion

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Upgrades to improve traffic flow at Charleston’s congested Oakwood Road interchange on Corridor G are scheduled to be complete by August.

In August 2020, Gov. Jim Justice announced a $5.8 million project designed to ease congestion and dramatically improve traffic flow through the vicinity of Oakwood Road and U.S. 119. The project includes lengthening and widening turn lanes in the area and building two new Restricted Crossing U-Turns, or R-CUTs, one at the intersection of 119 and Lucado Road and one at the intersection of 119 and Hickory Road.

“Our goal is to make it look like it’s always been there,” said West Virginia Division of Highways District 1 District Engineer Travis Knighton.

Currently, traffic back up at the intersection every morning and every afternoon causes issues for all the movements in the system. Drivers sitting at the intersection may have to wait more than three minutes for the traffic lights to cycle through red lights, green lights, and left-hand turn arrows on both Oakwood Road and 119. Drivers on the Corridor will see much more efficient times.

By eliminating left turns off Oakwood Road, Knighton said wait times at the traffic light will be cut to about 60 seconds.

Instead of waiting for left-turn arrows at the intersection, “You’ll just have a stop and a go,” Knighton said.

District 1 Area Construction Engineer Ryan Canfield said drivers on 119 will still be able to make a left-hand turn onto Oakwood Road. But drivers who want to make a left-hand turn off of Oakwood and onto 119 or who want to cross 119 won’t be able to.

Instead, those drivers will make a right-hand turn and drive a short distance to the R-CUT before they’ll be able to turn left. “You do have a slightly longer distance to drive, but you’re not going to be sitting at the light,” Canfield said. “So the overall trip will take less time.”

In addition to cutting down on wait times at the traffic lights, the new interchange will also be safer, dramatically reducing the number of opportunities for accidents.

The new R-CUTs will also improve access to and from Hickory Road and Lucado Road, eliminating potential confusion for drivers.

While the new traffic pattern should make it easier to get onto and off of Lucado Road, that’s not why the project was adopted.

“It’s to improve the traffic flow on 119,” Knighton said. “That’s the purpose.”

Once completed, drivers in the area will be able to do the following:

Heading SOUTH on 119, from Charleston, you can:
• Continue straight on 119.
• Turn right onto Oakwood Road heading west.
• Turn left onto Oakwood Road heading east, at the turn arrow.

Heading NORTH on 119, toward Charleston, you can:
• Continue straight on 119.
• Turn right onto Oakwood Road heading east.
• Turn left onto Oakwood Road heading west, at the turn arrow.

Heading west on Oakwood Road, from George Washington High School, etc.:
• You must turn right.
• To get back onto Oakwood Road heading west (what would have been crossing 119 under the old traffic pattern), head north on 119 to the new R-CUT near Hickory Road, go through the signal for a protected left u-turn onto 119 heading south and turn right onto Oakwood Road.
• To get onto 119 heading south, head north to the new R-CUT near Hickory Road, once again through the signal and turn left back onto 119 heading south.

Heading east on Oakwood Road, from the fire station, CVS Pharmacy, etc.:
• You must turn right.
• To get back onto Oakwood Road headed east (what would have been crossing 119 under the old traffic pattern), head south on 119 to the new R-CUT near Lucado Road, go through the signal, turn left back onto 119 heading north and turn right onto Oakwood Road.
• To get onto 119 heading north, head south on 119 to the new R-CUT near Lucado Road, go through the signal and turn left back onto 119 heading north.

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