State taking count of road traffic

PARKERSBURG – In recent days, Wood County motorists may have noticed rubber strips stretched across roads running to small gray boxes.

Brent Walker, spokesman for the West Virginia Division of Highways, said the devices are traffic counters and part of the state’s effort to update data on the district’s traffic count.

“We have a consultant that goes around every three years and collects the average daily traffic counts,” Walker said. “We have done it for a long time..”

The consultants work year-round collecting traffic information throughout the state. This year Walker said the consultants, the Traffic Group, based in Maryland, are working districts 1, 2 and 3 (Charleston, Huntington and Parkersburg) and the surrounding areas.

In the last few days the consultants deployed about a hundred traffic counters throughout the area. Walker said the counters are not isolated exclusively to state roads.

“We have them on some city routes too,” he said.

Walker said the information is important to highway officials for planning purposes. It is used to assist with road projects, signage and signals.

“It is very useful information to help us with our planning division,” he said.

The traffic counts differ from traffic studies, which are more encompassing. Walker said traffic studies, or warrants, are used to determine if a signal light or tuning lane is needed. The studies incorporates additional information, but ADT data is vital, Walker said.

“When it comes to some kinds of traffic issue, one of the first questions is what is the ADT of that area,” he added. “It’s a useful resource to go back to. This is a cross-section, a foot print of area traffic.”