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TDOT, County open N-shore roundabout
Work remains on controversial intersection

The Northshore roundabout at the Concord Road intersection officially opened last Wednesday.

“It’s a little confusing because it was actually a [Tennessee Department of Transportation] project and Knox County participated by doing the design and with some funding,” said Bruce Wuetrich, director of Knox County Engineering and Public Works.

“Because T-DOT was really the project manager on this, I wasn’t even aware the thing was getting ready to open,” he added.

This is not the first roundabout in Knox County, as was reported in some local media. There are two roundabouts on McFee road, but the Northshore roundabout was the first designed by Knox County.

“This is the first one that Knox County has done. That doesn’t mean the City [of Knoxville] or the town of Farragut or any of those [haven’t designed roundabouts],” Wuetrich said.

Many residents worried about the radius of the roundabout and how it would handle tractor-trailers or trucks hauling boats or trailers.

“It was designed with all types of vehicles taken into consideration; it was designed to accommodate those,” Wuetrich said.

“When I get a chance, I want to go take a look at it and get some information too, because I talked to a friend of mine and he seemed to think the radiuses seemed a little tight, so I’m going to double check that,” he added.

“Right now, with construction still going on, that may not be in its permanent configuration. Later, when the final pouring of asphalt and the permanent pavement markings are down, it may not feel so tight,” said TDOT spokesman Travis Brickey.

“There’s not many roundabouts out there, but the county was really limited on options for that area out there. It’ll take some people time to get used to. We kind of got the same response in Maryville, but those people just love it,” he said.

“It’s just one of those things where it’s new and different and a lot of people take a lot to adapt to change. It’ll happen; everybody will just have to get used to it,” he added.

Only small items remain unfinished.

“The major activity is the final surface of asphalt,” Brickey said. “It has a very sensitive temperature restriction on it, and until the temperature starts rising, the wait for the last [application] will probably be sometime in mid-March or early April,” he added.

Brickey does not expect that the roundabout will have to be closed for the final application of asphalt. “We’ll phase it, probably, and try to do it some time when our traffic’s not so heavy. We’ll come up with some way to do it; we probably won’t close it,” he said.

Other minor items such as streetlights and sodding remain to be done, and the final striping will be completed after the last layer of asphalt is poured.


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