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As the industry continues to revolutionize, new and innovative ways of managing roads and highways are constantly emerging. WVDOT utilized Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) to help reduce costs and streamline the process of calculating stockpile material. 

To ease traffic congestion and improve safety on Interstate 64 in downtown Charleston, WVDOT implemented the Restricted Crossing U-turn (RCUT) design as part of its Oakwood Drive RCUT project. This design reduces the risk of collisions and improves traffic flow.   

Streamlining stockpile material calculations with UAS 

In 2019, WVDOT employed UAS on their highway systems to help reduce costs and streamline the process of calculating stockpile material. Unmanned Ariel Systems (UAS), more commonly referred to as drones, are multi-use aircraft that are remotely operated by a licensed operator on the ground. 

The agency deployed drone crews for stockpile inspections at over 150 site locations. Drones provide a much safer and more accurate alternative to conventional stockpile surveying methods, which require workers to physically climb piles with specialized equipment.  

Using UAS and seven drone pilots, the agency completed the project in 7 workdays and saved an estimated $343,000 in man-hours alone.  However, WVDOT believes that the overall savings were likely higher when taking into consideration the time saved for surveyors and engineers to complete other tasks. 

Revolutionizing Traffic Flow: WVDOT’s use of RCUT 

The West Virginia Department of Transportation (WVDOT) utilized the Restricted Crossing U-turn (RCUT) design on its Oakwood Drive RCUT project to alleviate traffic congestion and enhance safety on Interstate 64 in downtown Charleston. This stretch of the interstate is considered one of the state’s most problematic bottlenecks.  

A RCUT intersection, also referred to as a J-Turn or Reduced Conflict Intersection, is an effective geometric design that relies on U-turns to complete certain left-turns. By altering the direct left-turn and through movements from cross street approaches, these intersections minimize the risk for severe crash types. 

The RCUT design allowed WVDOT to leverage existing roadways and right of ways, which reduced the need for extensive roadway widening and infrastructure development. The Oakwood Drive RCUT project only required the addition of traffic signals, lighting, signage and pavement, saving taxpayers approximately $25 million and improving roadway safety.