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Public comment period on TDOT proposals Thursday

There will be a public comment opportunity for citizens to comment on TDOT’s proposal for an approximately 2.6-mile stretch of Clinton Highway from Edgemore Road to the Knox County line, where 10 people have died in crashes in the past decade.

Comments will be documented and transmitted to TDOT officials.  The meeting will be held Thursday, August 11 at 5:30 pm in Room 312 at the Anderson County Courthouse in Clinton. During a public meeting earlier this month, TDOT laid out its proposal to resurface and realign a 2.6-mile stretch of Clinton Highway—Highway 25W—from Edgemoor Road to the Knox County line. TDOT says it developed the proposal after reviewing crash data that shows that between 2006 and last year, 10 fatal accidents and 11 others involving serious injuries, have occurred on that stretch of highway. That section of roadway includes a hilly, curvy area with no median or center lane. The roadway shoulders are limited in some spots, the speed limit is 50 mph, and there are several areas with no buffers between traffic traveling north and south, meaning vehicles move past each other around curves while moving in opposite directions.

TDOT said the proposed center turn lane in the middle of the three-lane highway would provide a buffer between vehicles traveling in opposite directions, reduce rear-end collisions, and set up a “safe refuge” for turning traffic.

As proposed, a one-third mile section of Clinton Highway north of Lonesome Dove Road would be one lane in each direction with a center turn lane. The southbound lanes south of Lonesome Dove Road would have two lanes, and there would be one northbound lane and a center turn lane.

A one-third mile section of Clinton Highway south of Mehaffey Road would be one lane in each direction with a center turn lane. The road to the north of Mehaffey Road would have two lanes in the southbound lane, a center turn lane, and one lane in the northbound lane.

The plan has met with mixed reactions, ranging from anger over what some citizens said appeared to a “done deal” that they are just learning about to concerns over what reducing the number of lanes might mean for roadway capacity, especially during busy times of the day like morning and evening rush hours. Some have suggested simpler fixes like installing a traffic light at Mehaffey Road or lowering the speed limit through the area.

TDOT says it is still accepting public comments about the proposal and that no final decision has been made. You may contact TDOT about the proposal by contacting: Nathan Vatter by phone at (865) 594-2456 or by email at Nathan.Vatter@tn.gov, or Kristin Qualls by phone at (865) 594-2408 or by email at Kristin.Qualls@tn.gov.

Jim Harris of WYSH will serve as the moderator for Thursday’s event, which once again begins at 5:30 pm in room 312 of the Courthouse in Clinton.

About Jim Harris

Jim Harris has been WYSH's News & Sports Director since 2000. In addition to reporting local news, he is the play-by-play voice for Clinton High School football, boys' and girls' basketball and baseball. Catch Jim live weekdays beginning at 6:20 am for live local news, sports, weather and traffic plus the Community Bulletin Board, shenanigans with Ron Meredith and more on the Country Club Morning Show on WYSH & WQLA. Jim lives in Clinton with his wife Kelly and daughter Carolina, his mother-in-law and cats Lucius and Oliver.

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