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CSR/FHS red light sought

Farragut High School students are seeing red over the school’s entrance off Campbell Station Road.

But what they’d like to be seeing is a red light.

Farragut’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen heard from FHS principal Michael Reynolds and two student representatives at its meeting Tuesday, Nov. 16, concerning placing a traffic signal at the intersection.

“I can guarantee you this will be taken into serious consideration by this Board, but I can’t promise anything will go in over the next month or so,” Mayor Ralph McGill told students Kaylor Martin and Kwo-Zong Wang.

He said it takes about $100,000 to put in signals at an intersection, and there is a process that involves determining whether an intersection actually warrants a signal.

“I don’t care if it costs $100,000,” Reynolds said.

“If I have to sell cookies and doughnuts, I don’t really care, because it’s about what’s right, not what’s convenient.

“I don’t know how many of you have buried a child, but I will not see it on my watch,” he added.

Hiring a traffic cop isn’t an option, Reynolds said, because Knox County Sheriff’s Office won’t place deputies at high school entrances.

McGill reassured Reynolds the problem was not being ignored — it was simply going through the normal process.

And that process could take up to nine months, Town engineer Darryl Smith said.

After doing a traffic study to determine if the intersection warrants a signal, the project would have to be planned, bidded out and then actually constructed.

“Please be patient. We’re not blind to the situation, or deaf to it. We know the problem and we’re not happy about it either,” McGill said.

Reynolds said the most dangerous problem with the intersection, especially after the Campbell Station Road widening project is completed later this month, is students turning left from the high school onto CSR, heading toward Kingston Pike.

“We do not want to endanger kids by having them come out there and turn left,” Reynolds said.

Smith said students heading to the Pike had the much safer option of exiting the school onto Kingston Pike directly, at already signalized intersections.

But if prohibiting left hand turns was the goal, and waiting nine months for a signal wasn’t an option, “We could always install an island there to prohibit left hand turns,” Smith said.

Reynolds said he didn’t have a problem with that idea, as long as it was constructed so it actually did prevent left hand turns.

However Alderman Bob Markli disagreed.

“I’m opposed to any more islands in the town of Farragut,” he said.

Markli said he’d like the Town to go ahead and construct the signals, without deciding if the intersection warrants the signals or not.

“Sometimes we get bogged down with going by the book. … Whether or not this intersection warrants a signal … I feel like we probably need to move this to the head of our agenda and not wait,” he said.

Smith said other requests had come in for signals on Campbell Station, including one at Sonja Drive and another at Campbell Lakes.

“If we install one here without meeting warrants, would you like us to go ahead and install signals at Sonja Drive and at Campbell Lakes without meeting warrants?” Smith asked.

Markli didn’t respond.

“We’ve heard you,” McGill told the audience of FHS staff and students.

Alderman John Williams asked Town administrator David Smoak to research the budgetary needs for all the options for the intersection, from a signal to an island.

“Everybody happy now? Want to move on?” McGill asked, ending the conversation.


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