The following letter addressing a dangerous situation on the Allegheny Mountain project was sent to James T. Collins, West Virginia Department of Transportation, Division of Highways interim district engineer.
I am writing with a grave concern regarding the potential for a huge, fatal disaster with the now-begun project on Allegheny Mtn. First, the work is simply a band-aid and is not going to address the root problem of runaway trucks on the steep grade in three different curves, while this small project closes the downhill lane at one curve.
The placement of the traffic signals is a recipe for disaster. Stopping traffic on that grade is asking for a truck to be unable to stop. If that occurs, the runaway will try to avoid a collision by steering into the uphill lane. As a retired member of the state police, I have worked numerous fatal accidents in that curve. One of them involved a truck hugging the inside of the uphill lane where he ran over an oncoming westbound car at the approximate point the westbound signal is halting traffic. If one or more westbound cars are stopped at that point and a runaway is able to avoid plowing into the stopped eastbound traffic, it will likely strike the stopped westbound traffic.
I realize that the climbing lanes complicate being able to stop the westbound traffic farther down the mountain, but I highly suggest that you halt the westbound traffic a little farther down the mountain. No one likes traffic delays, but the recipe for disaster at this site is huge.
I have noticed fairly lengthy delays in the light giving the downhill traffic a green signal, even when no one is in the uphill lane. Does this light have sensors? Can one be installed that gives the downhill traffic a green, except when it needs to allow uphill traffic to proceed? It needs to default to a green light for the downhill traffic.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Pendleton County Emergency Services Coordinator