The Fayette Tribune, Oak Hill, W.Va.

Local News

December 5, 2012

County commission hears of new road projects

FAYETTEVILLE — A total of $13 million in road improvements are complete or currently being undertaken by the West Virginia Division of Highways (DOH) in support of Boy Scouts of America’s Summit Bechtel Reserve development in Fayette County.

While plans are still under development, details are emerging about how the BSA plans to handle heavy traffic flow associated with July 2013’s National Jamboree, expected to attract around 40,000 Scouts, plus visitors.

Greg Hylton of the DOH says that when the BSA was purchasing the Garden Grounds property in Fayette County, they came to the state agency and said there were seven sections of road that needed attention in order for them to pull off the Jamboree.

The most significant of these is an $8 million project to widen Mill Creek Road to two lanes. The second most expensive — repairing and repaving Mount Hope’s Main Street — was added to the list later. Of all the projects, these two are the least far along in construction. They are both scheduled for completion in the spring.

At the request of local citizens, Hylton addressed members of the Fayette County Commission, Planning Commission and Board of Zoning Appeals on the issue at a public meeting on Friday.

Hylton said repeatedly that he was not privy to details on traffic flow planning related to the Summit project, leading some in the room to request a presentation from “an answer person.”

Steve McGowan, an attorney and one of the lead local volunteers for The Summit, has some of those answers, but he says the routing and traffic flow for the Jamboree are still being worked out between the BSA and the state.

Some have speculated that vehicle traffic headed for the event would be forced off of U.S. 19 at the Bradley and Blue Circle Road interchanges before traveling up U.S. 16, through downtown Mount Hope, and then down U.S. 61 to the Summit’s main entrance at Mill Creek Road.

But McGowan says that’s not the case.

“That is not the plan for the Jamboree. The volume is simply too many people. We could never do that. There’s no place to park them,” he said.

“We certainly hope visitors coming to or from the Jamboree will take the time to stop in Mount Hope or any of the communities in the area,” he added.

The main entrance of the Summit will be along U.S. 61, at its intersection with Mill Creek Road. A service entrance at Glen Jean will be used for deliveries and personnel. A second service entrance on U.S. 61 will be used for “logistics purposes,” says McGowan.

The BSA has contracted with a major transportation coordination company, Transportation Management Systems, to handle the overall coordination of traffic movement.

“They are also coordinating with the state of West Virginia to help create a traffic management plan that will provide for the highest efficiency possible in the movement of vehicles and to reduce highway congestion,” says McGowan.

He says he does not know what routing has been discussed between TMS and DOH, or whether any has been finalized. However, he did offer a broad picture of how the traffic logistics might play out.

According to McGowan, no private automobiles will be driving to The Summit during the Jamboree.

Visitor parking will be located at the Bradley interchange at a vacant lot behind the Sunoco station there, which has been made available by Robert Kosnoski, a businessman in Beckley.

Visitors will be transported by motor coach from that location to the Summit, though that plan is “still under development,” according to McGowan.

Staff will park either at the onsite location or at the Sun Mine property that the BSA has acquired along U.S. 19. That property may also be used as “dead storage” where vehicles can park for the entire Jamboree.

School buses will be used to transport staff from the Sun Mine parking to the Summit.

Each Boy Scout troop or venture crew will arrive as a contingent in a bus, whether it is chartered by the unit or provided as a shuttle from a local transportation hub.

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