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TDOT addresses red lights on Pike


Everett Road’s intersection with Kingston Pike appears to be the next Farragut state route intersection to receive a signal light, though it could be years away from reality.

Appearing before the Farragut Board of Mayor and Aldermen during its meeting Thursday, Nov. 10, Amanda Snowden of the Tennessee Department of Transportation Region One traffic office said it is the only Kingston Pike intersection among four in question that meets traffic warrant, or criteria, qualifications based on the latest TDOT studies.

However, that signal light would become reality only after a center-turn lane on Kingston Pike at Everett Road is completed, town engineer Darryl Smith said.

Smith estimated the 1,600-foot Everett Road center-turn lane project — possibly costing the town up to $500,000 according to an FBMA memo — could be under contract for construction, “I’d like to think ... by the middle of next year … by late summer.”

Smith went on to estimate that a functional center turn-lane at Everett Road/Kingston Pike would be in place “potentially” in 2007, adding that he’s confident of having signal light there “within the next couple of years after that.

“It’s my opinion that if there is a center-turn lane on Kingston Pike in front of Everett, you’ll see a lot more traffic use at that intersection.”

Smith added that based on town growth, “I perceive within the next several years, we will have signals at Virtue Road, Old Stage Road and Everett Road.”

Saying the Farragut population has reached 19,000, Mayor W. Edward Ford III added, “We have to face the reality that within a ten-mile radius of the Campbell Station Road-Kingston Pike intersection, we have one-hundred-and-sixty-thousand people living within that ten-mile radius, and these folks are coming into and through our town.”

Ford cited the Campbell Station Road extension to Concord Road and growth patterns in the town’s Southwest quadrant that continue to boost traffic flow.

Ruth Hawk, town community development director, addressed Snowden and the Board by saying that hundreds of new housing units are going up in the town of Farragut.

Ford said, “We have about seven intersections up and down Kingston Pike that in many of our minds certainly justify a traffic signal today,” adding the town is “funded to do that.”

Snowden said main criteria for determining traffic signal need include road-entering count, turn volume count and accident rate, adding, “We look at three years worth of accident reports.”

Of the eight warrants listed as needing to be met for traffic signal installment, Snowden pointed to eight-hour vehicular volume — daily traffic between 7 to 9 a.m., 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday during school years and excluding holidays — “as the main warrant we look for to be met. She adds there must be a “minimum vehicular volume” met for both Kingston Pike and the road with which it intersects.

Other criteria include “peak hour volume.”

Snowden said that while traffic lights “decrease the severity of accidents,” she adds, “installing a signal will not reduce crashes at intersections. All it does, it changes the types of crashes that you experience at intersections.”

At the Everett Road intersection with Kingston Pike, the new center-turn lane “will connect the other two ends that do have a center-turn lane,” Snowden said.

At Old Stage and Kingston Pike, Snowden acknowledged “heavy” left turns onto Old Stage and “extremely heavy” right turns onto Kingston Pike, adding that this “T” intersection meets “signal” requirements based on peak hour and four-hour traffic.

“Based on our studies, Old Stage would probably be the next location to probably meet the warrants,” she said.

At Virtue Road and Kingston Pike, Snowden said there is no traffic study to date on this “T” intersection but that a traffic count will soon be compiled “after the first of the year.”

The Peterson Road and Kingston Pike intersection did not meet any of the required warrant criteria based on a study completed in January 2004, Snowden said, adding that only two vehicular crashes occurred at that intersection between 2001 and 2003.

Snowden said no Kingston Pike intersections between Concord Road and Lovell Road are currently under study by TDOT.

Ford said various “S-shaped” curves between the intersections in question should also be a consideration toward the implementation of stoplights. “We do take that into consideration ...,” Snowden said.

 

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