As the Oakwood Intersection Improvement project nears completion, West Virginia Division of Highways is reaching out to let drivers know to be aware of a new traffic pattern. When the project opens this week, it will be the first R-Cut in West Virginia.
R-Cut stands for Restricted Crossing U-Turn. On the ground, drivers will experience shorter wait times through an area known for traffic backups. Fewer conflict points, which are places where traffic intersect at lights, will reduce the potential for traffic accidents.
West Virginia Division of Highways decided to build an R-Cut intersection at the Oakwood interchange to solve a very specific problem. Traffic at the intersection backs up badly in the morning and afternoon, with traffic entering from area schools, during rush-hour traffic in the evenings, and during holiday seasons.
The new R-Cut is expected to greatly improve traffic flow at the intersection by eliminating left-hand turns and through traffic off of Oakwood Road. At the old intersection drivers on both Oakwood Road and Corridor G had to wait for left turn arrows before proceeding through the intersection, increasing wait times at the traffic light, particularly during peak traffic times.
“The R-Cut will cut the wait time from three minutes to one minute for those on Oakwood Road,” said Ryan Canfield, DOH project manager for the R-Cut project. At the same time, drivers on Corridor G will have shorter wait times at the intersection too.
“They should have more of a straight shot,” Canfield said. “Their stop is going to be decreased.” Drivers traveling north and south on Corridor G will still be able to make a left turn onto Oakwood Road, assisted by left turn arrows. But drivers on Oakwood Road will only be able to turn right.
With the new traffic pattern, motorists coming from the east side of Oakwood who want to head north on Corridor G toward Charleston will turn right like they always have. Drivers who want to head south toward Southridge Center or go back onto Oakwood will turn right and proceed north to the new R-Cut at Hickory Road, where a traffic light will allow them to turn left onto Corridor G heading south.
Drivers coming from the west side of Oakwood who want to head south toward Southridge Center will turn right like they always have. Drivers who want to head north toward Charleston or get back onto Oakwood Road will instead turn right and proceed to the new R-Cut at Lawndale Lane, where a traffic light will allow them to turn left onto Corridor G heading north.
What it will mean for drivers is shorter wait times at the Oakwood interchange traffic light and smoother-flowing traffic.