Twenty-three Farragut citizens attended a public meeting in Farragut Town Hall March 7 to hear about the Union Road improvement project.
That evening David Smoak, Town administrator, presented two possible design concepts for the project estimated to cost the federal government $3.6 million and the town of Farragut $900,000.
The first design concept, similar to Everett Road, calls for two new, 12-foot-wide curbed lanes, a multi-use bicycle/walking path on the south side, sidewalk on the south side and new bridge over Little Turkey Creek.
The other concept includes a ditch section Tennessee Department of Transportation would allow, which would not allow room for a walking trail.
Two weeks ago, Farragut Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved a contract with Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc. for the design of the road, but residents won’t be seeing construction for a while. Smoak estimated the engineering phase would take about 18 to 24 months before it goes to TDOT for approval.
Once Kimley-Horn completes a preliminary plan, the Town will have another public meeting. After that, the project would go into the right-of-way acquisition phase, which would take about 12 to 18 months to complete. Finally, it would go into the construction phase, which Smoak estimated would take about 14 to 18 months.
“The object, obviously,” Smoak said, “is we’re going to have to widen the road in order to make that a safer commute for folks. So, what we are going to do is look at 4,200 feet from Everett Road, right here on Union, all the way down to North Hobbs Road and also 750 feet from North Hobbs all the way down to Kingston Pike.”
He showed residents a rendering of a typical cross section the Town would allow for a road, which includes a 12-foot-wide lane, a 4-foot-wide bicycle lane, 2.5 feet of curve and gutter, 3 feet of grass strip and a 5-foot sidewalk on one side.
“What we find interesting are the proposals are all based on Union Road having a major collector status in the Town’s road map,” Scott Meyer, a Fox Run HOA board member, said. “We don’t understand why Union Road is considered a major collector because other major collectors include Watt Road, Grigsby Chapel, Everett Road, portions of Old Stage Road.
Meyer asked the Town to consider reclassifying Union Road to local collector status and to widen the south side of the road, not north side, where their properties lie.
“The local collector streets would have slower speed [limits] and wouldn’t have the volume of traffic,” he said. “Those of you who have seen Everett Road, you’ll understand. It’s turned into a raceway.”
Jimmie Jane McConnell also expressed concerns about motorists speeding on the road.
“Can we get a speed bump?” she asked.
“Unfortunately, we can’t do speed bumps on collector roads,” Smoak said.
“Although it was done very well, I’m not sure we want that kind of road, an Everett Road, right outside our subdivision,” Meyer said.
“To me, the road only needs to be widened to accommodate the local traffic and keep everybody else from taking shortcuts through [Union Road],” Melissa Boles, who lives off Union Road, said, adding her concerns about potential speeding motorists.
Meyer added the folks in Fox Run do not need the walking or bicycle paths because Kingston Pike is two blocks away.
“If you want all those businesses on Kingston Pike to be occupied by pedestrian and bike traffic, then put the multi-purpose path along Kingston Pike, but put it at Fox Run,” he said.