By CHARLES OWENS
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
A long-requested turn signal is being installed at a dangerous Mercer County intersection.
The new turn signal should be operational later today at the heavily traveled intersection of U.S. Route 52 and state Route 123 in the Brushfork community, District 10 Division of Highways Administrator Tommy Camden said.
“There will be green turn arrows for both the road leading to the armory and Airport Road,” Camden said. “If you are turning south, you will get a left turn arrow onto the Airport Road, and if you are traveling north, or in another words coming down the hill, you will get a turn signal to Brushfork Road.”
Camden said motorists traveling Route 52 are asked to be alert to the traffic signal change.
“I just want to caution people to now be aware of the fact that it (the green turn arrow) is now there, and it will change our driving habits to some degree,” Camden said. “Obviously, it is our sincere hope that it will improve the safety of the traveling public on Route 52.”
The Brushfork intersection has been the site of multiple accidents in recent years. Motorists traveling Route 52, as well as local lawmakers have long requested the green turn arrows. Delegate Clif Moore, D-McDowell, asked state Highway Commissioner Paul Mattox to install a green turn arrow at the intersection earlier this year.
Camden said the DOH is hopeful that the traffic light upgrade will improve motorist safety at the intersection.
“This is a good indication of how fortunate we are that we have a DOH that is able to respond to these type of safety concerns, and hopefully make some improvements,” Camden said. “This will be what is known as an unprotected turn signal. In other words, after the turn signal goes off, you could still turn on green. But once again this would be up to the discretion of the driver. They still don’t want to turn in front of someone, which is basically what you had before. Obviously the best time to turn would be when the arrow is green.”
Camden said the green turn arrows are being installed by crews with Bayliss and Ramey.
“This was actually coordinated by our traffic engineering division out of Charleston,” Camden said. “From the work standpoint, fortunately this wasn’t an overly complicated job for this particular company. They do these on a regular basis.”
Camden said the green turn arrows won’t solve the problem of people who speed at the busy intersection. Camden said all motorists are urged to obey the posted speed limits, and to slow down when approaching the heavily traveled intersection.
— Contact Charles Owens at firstname.lastname@example.org