County eyes east-west connectors for future

By AUTUMN HUGHES
Posted 8/14/19

Proposed traffic studies and the need for more east-west connectors were among the items of discussion Tuesday for the Bradley County Commission’s Road Committee.

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County eyes east-west connectors for future

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Proposed traffic studies and the need for more east-west connectors were among the items of discussion Tuesday for the Bradley County Commission’s Road Committee.

Commissioner Dennis Epperson said several people have contacted him about the area near Harrison Pike and Freewill Road, asking for a traffic light to replace the caution light.

Sandra Knight, Bradley County’s road superintendent, said the county requested a study from the Tennessee Department of Transportation for that area six years ago, but the intersection did not meet criteria for a traffic light. She added it costs $300,000 to put in a traffic light, then there are recurring costs of maintenance and utilities.

Ultimately, the Road Committee approved to request a TDOT study for feasibility of installing a traffic light at Harrison Pike and Freewill Road.

In other discussion, Barker Lane resident Jack Keith said Mouse Creek Road is "a mess" and asked if the Road Committee will look at "a spur" or connector to Highway 11 or Frontage Road.

"We've got a lot of traffic problems in this county," Keith said, adding housing developments have added to traffic and impacted groundwater.

Road Committee Chairman Kevin Raper said he went to the Cleveland City Council's town hall meeting where Mouse Creek Road was discussed; city leaders noted it is not financially feasible to widen the road.

Knight said in her 23 years here, there have been several traffic studies, and all have shown the need for more east-west connector roads, like Keith mentioned.

Raper asked if Bradley County can work with the state on a feasibility study to look at Mouse Creek Road. Knight said it's a "yes and no" issue: Yes, the Cleveland Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization works with the state and federal government on transportation issues; no, the right of way along Mouse Creek Road is 33 feet, and widening it would require buying property.

Raper said he will bring Keith's concerns before the County Commission and ask for ideas "to alleviate problems out there." He said the public may also have some ideas to share.

Also, Raper echoed earlier comments from Knight that there is no point to pay for a study if the county leadership is not prepared to act on it.

Epperson said the sewer feasibility study funded in the 2019-20 budget will also look at anticipated growth areas, to help with planning future roads.

"Planned growth is what we need," Epperson said.

Commissioner Louie Alford said east-west connectors have long been a problem and asked if there has ever been a study for a cut-across road from Mouse Creek Road to other major roads.

Knight said there are two options she has heard of: extend Hooper Gap to North Lee Highway, or Lauderdale Memorial Highway to Dry Valley Road.

In other discussion, the Road Committee approved presenting a resolution to the full County Commission to authorize Knight to register Bradley County with the National Cooperative Purchasing Alliance, accepting the terms of the Master Intergovernmental Cooperative Purchasing agreement, and authorizing Bradley County departments and elected officials to use this cooperative as an avenue to purchase supplies, materials and equipment.

In other business, the Road Committee heard updates from Knight on:

• Wayfarer Drive paving cost: Knight said it will cost $26,766 in labor and materials to pave 325 feet of narrower, 10-foot-wide roadway to 12 feet wide, and 210 feet of 16-foot-wide gravel road and cul-de-sac.

Discussion on Wayfarer Drive was spurred in June when property owner Ken Cole asked for an unfinished road apparently approved for completion five years ago, to be finished.

"Where do we go from here?" Alford asked.

"That's a good question," Raper said, asking Knight if the Road Department is "prepared to pay for this."

"No," Knight said.

Raper asked if anyone else had insight going forward. Commissioner Mike Hughes said if the Road Department is not prepared to pay for it, the only place to go is to the Finance Committee.

Alford said he is concerned about setting precedent because, "normally the Commission is not in the road-paving business."

Knight said Bradley County has several subdivisions with roads platted and recorded that were never built. She said if they pave one of those roads, there will be more requests. Raper said he can see property owners in the same situation coming to ask for consideration.

Epperson asked how many of those roads Knight is aware of.

"I'd say at least 20," Knight said.

Raper suggested, "we put it off until we can garner some different ideas." To that end, the committee took no action.

"We can always bring it back up," Raper said.

• Chestuee/Old York Road culvert: Knight said the Road Department is still coordinating with Ocoee Utility District concerning water lines and a valve that will be affected.

• Hidden Forest Subdivision drainage issue: Knight said she spoke with property owners about various solutions.

"We're waiting on them to come back with which option they'd like to do," Knight said.

• Greystone Subdivision "no parking" signs: Knight said there are several curves and hills in the subdivision that make street parking dangerous. She added the signs will make it easier for the Bradley County Sheriff's Office to enforce.

Knight said placing the signs will require the Road Committee to recommend to the County Commission to place the signs in the subdivision "as needed."

Raper asked if Knight has received any feedback from subdivisions where "no parking" signs are already in place. Knight said she has received positive feedback.

"This is not anything new, we've done it in the past," Hughes said.

The Road Committee approved recommending the installation of "no parking" signs in Greystone Subdivision to the full County Commission.

• Hopewell Elementary School back traffic lane: Knight said the Road Department is still waiting for the school system to get the deed for property purchased from Volunteer Energy Cooperative, to show ownership of the property.

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