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Resident calls for Union Road widening

A Farragut man pledged to donate 1,200 feet of road frontage to the Town if it would do just one thing — use that land to widen the “country lane” he lives on.

“If all of you haven’t driven on it, please do so. It’s an experience. The safety problem is a real issue,” Jeff Ivey, a Union Road resident, told Farragut’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen, Thursday, July 22.

“When I meet another vehicle, my foot always goes from the accelerator to the brake pedal. Safety demands I do that every time.

“You meet a school bus or truck, you have to stop and work your way around it,” he added.

Ivey owns a 110-acre farm off Union Road near Fox Run and Saddle Ridge subdivisions. Union Road sees traffic from the more than 600 residents in those subdivisions, Ivey said, as well as from three school buses.

But Union has received minimal improvements, he said, even in front of the subdivision entrances.

The road doesn’t even meet the standard width to have a center line, which is 16 feet.

“Without a center line, it’s hard to tell which side of the road is mine and which is the other guy’s,” Ivey said.

“I wouldn’t be so critical if it were wide enough for a center line. … Right now, the bridge is the widest part of the road,” he added.

“And that’s a pretty narrow bridge,” Town Engineer Darryl Smith said.

Farragut Mayor Ralph McGill asked Town Administrator David Smoak when Union Road was set for improvements.

Smoak said the design planning for road improvements wouldn’t be coming up until 2014.

“But, obviously, priorities can change,” Smoak said.

Historically, the Town has improved roads as developments go in, letting developers help foot the bill for infrastructure improvements.

But Community Development Director Ruth Hawk said the subdivisions off Union Road didn’t have to improve large parts of Union because “they both [were] geared just toward getting out to Kingston Pike.”

Ivey said if the Town waited for more development on Union Road, they may be waiting for a while.

“I have no plans to sell my farm,” Ivey said, adding it had been in his family since his grandfather bought the property in 1915.

If the Board wished to widen Union Road without any foreseen development, that is “really just a philosophical decision,” Smoak said.

The Capital Improvement Plan discussions before next budget year, in spring 2011, would be a good time to pick up this talk, he added.

McGill told Ivey, “I remember when Grigsby Chapel Road looked like Union. Things change. Sometimes we have to be patient.”

In other business, the Board approved a bid for $11,730.24 to Hanson Pipe & Precast for concrete arch pipes, to be used for drainage improvements and a greenway connector along S. Hobbs Road.

Alderman Jeff Elliott moved to accept the low bid; McGill seconded and the motion was unanimously approved, with Vice Mayor Dot LaMarche and Alderman John Williams absent.


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