New Best Buy Store Means Bigger Crowds, More Traffic

By: Brooks Jarosz Email
By: Brooks Jarosz Email

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Electronics giant Best Buy was greeted by hundreds of people as it opened its doors, but with the new business comes new traffic headaches.

People are lining up for TVs, laptops and other gadgets as the new store had a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday morning at the Trace Fork Shops in South Charleston.

The excitement also has brought frustration as bigger crowds and heavier traffic are kicking off the holiday shopping season along corridor G.

"I couldn't see that it would be a bad thing for us," general manager Jessica Watts said. "But, for our customers, we like their lives to be easy as well."

"This area gets congested around the holidays as it is, and I think we're going to have a bigger traffic problem," Carol Albertson said. "I think it's great for business in South Charleston, though."

Off-duty police officers will try to keep things flowing by directing traffic beginning this weekend.

"It's been my experience being out here it's just getting in and out of the parking lots that makes it difficult," Mayor Frank Mullens said. "Once you get out onto the highways it's really not that bad."

Soon, a bigger and more costly solution could be put in place, something that's been talked about for years.

A secondary access road will be built behind the South Charleston Memorial Ice Arena.

"The plans have been approved by the DOT and they are seeking funding right now," Andy Boyd with THF Realty said. "The center was always planned to have two access points and that will complete the traffic plan and it will make access much easier."

Where the funding will come from and the total cost is still unknown.

The major obstacle involves building a bridge over Davis Creek before connecting to Jefferson Road.

"I think that will help somewhat because you're going to separate the traffic heading from Charleston to South Charleston," Mullens said.

THF Realty, which owns the property, says the DOT has been given the green light to start construction.

Right now, it's a waiting game to see where the funding will come from.

Best Buy is already reaching out to the region, awarding the YMCA and the Boys and Girls Club each with $5,000.

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