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Grigsby traffic discussed

Farragut Board of Mayor and Aldermen heard recommendations Cannon & Cannon, Inc.’s study proposed concerning Grigsby Chapel Road and Mayor W. Edward “Eddy” Ford III advised incorporating those recommendations in the next fiscal year’s budget at the Board’s meeting March 13.

“Last spring, the Board chose to expand the study that Cannon & Cannon was doing with regards to our major roads to look at [Grigsby Chapel Road between] Campbell Station and Smith roads with regards to traffic calming and what can be done to improve that,” Darryl Smith, Town engineer, said.

“Basically, we conducted a study of the existing traffic operational conditions and we also looked out into the future to try to anticipate conditions,” said Alan Childers of Cannon & Cannon.

Cannon & Cannon personnel studied traffic patterns and volume during April, May and September and projected growth to the year 2010. The study was interrupted by summer break.

“We don’t really like to collect data during the summer recess,” Smith said. Cannon & Cannon did not conduct a study on Sundays either, a potential problem, given St. John Neumann Catholic Church’s nearly 1,130 members and the construction of its new church building.”

Harry Schukman, facilities manager for St. John Neumann School and Church, quoted increased numbers of drivers to expect on St. John Court and Grigsby Chapel when the new building opens in June.

“You’re talking a Saturday mass and three masses on Sunday that bring in 700, 900 people,” he said. According to Schukman, 100 to 200 people come in on a daily basis, around 280 Wednesday nights, plus hundreds involved in sports teams and those visiting the adoration chapel, which is open 24 hours a day.

The Board asked Schukman to send them an expanded study of St. John Neumann’s traffic patterns throughout the day. The Board also asked Smith to consider a traffic light at St. John Neumann Court. He immediately quoted a price tag of $90,000.

The speed limit on Grigsby Chapel is 40 mph. The study showed that 85 percent of the traffic travels at least 44 to 45 mph between Fretz Road and Woodchase Drive and Weatherly Hills and at least 44 mph east of St. John Court.

Besides speed, Cannon & Cannon studied volume and crashes and analyzed intersections. The highest amount of crashes were found approaching Campbell Station Road; the second highest concentration was found at the curve between St. John Court and Smith Road. The study analyzed intersections at peak hours: the morning, mid-day and evening rushes.

Cannon & Cannon recommended narrowing traffic lanes to 11 feet wide and installing raised median islands at strategic points in the center lane.

“We have this standard 12-foot traffic lane that we kind of adopted, but really that all came from the proper lane width for interstates,” Childers said.

The medians would cut down on illegal passing in the center turn lane; the narrower lanes and raised medians would also make the road feel tighter and encourage slower speeds.

“They’re going to periodically [drive past] these islands, which let’s face it, are a little bit of an obstruction, and I think it’s going to keep their attention up,” Childers said.

The 11-foot driving lanes would allow for a wider center turn lane, which Cannon & Cannon recommended be paved with textured pavement.

“ ... And the textured pavement, that would be such that if you hit it, you will hear it and you will feel it,” he added.

Childers did not recommend signalization at any intersection at this time, although he said that a roundabout at Smith Road might be appropriate in the future.

Childers also said that the traffic signal at Kingston Pike and Everett Road might cut down on thru traffic, as would the future widening of Campbell Station Road.


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