BERLIN — A new traffic signal is going up this week on Route 50 between Route 589 and the existing signal at the entrance to the Wal-Mart and Home Depot, as part of a larger, long-range plan to rectify the traffic situation along the busy corridor.
For the last few weeks, road crews have been busy making a new cut across the median just west of the existing intersection in front of the large retail centers on Route 50 and just east of Route 589. Orange barrels and lane closure signs have been prevalent for weeks as crews have been creating the latest intersection in the heavily traveled area. This week, poles were inserted in the median straddling the new intersection, signaling the arrival of a new traffic signal not more than a couple hundred yards from the existing signals along the stretch of Route 50.
State Highway Administration (SHA) officials this week assured motorists the new light was intended all along and its installation is part of a larger plan to connect the growing retail complex to the future service road.
SHA District Engineer Donnie Drewer explained the new signal is part of the larger development of the commercial parcels around the existing Wal-Mart and Home Depot complex, connecting eventually to the new Super Wal-Mart, which is currently under construction behind the existing Wal-Mart, which will eventually be torn down when the new facility is completed.
The new signal currently under construction will allow right turns into the retail complexes and left turns out across westbound Route 50 toward Route 589. The existing signal at the entrance to Wal-Mart and Home Depot will soon no longer allow left turns out of the retail areas heading west on Route 50. That traffic will be directed to the new signal.
“They’ll see when this is completed that it really makes a lot of sense,” he said. “The new signal will be synched up with the existing signal and will essentially operate as a single signal with traffic from the east turning into the Wal-Mart and Home Depot with traffic exiting west from the retail areas at the new signal at the same time.”
Drewer said the existing signal at the entrance to the Wal-Mart and Home Depot complexes will be removed eventually when the final traffic plan and the service road that serves the commercial complexes are completed.