A study commissioned by the city hopes to map out traffic patterns around Enterprise South industrial park to help the flow of thousands of workers connected with the Volkswagen plant and its suppliers, officials said.
Steve Meyer, assistant vice president of Volkert Associates Inc., said his company is studying 37 intersections and three railroads crossings around the industrial park.
The study is looking at how roads around Enterprise South industrial park will be affected when thousands of workers start moving in and out of the site daily, he said.
“One of our biggest challenges is estimating how much traffic will be generated in fall 2010 when the plant opens,” he said.
City Traffic Engineer John Van Winkle said the city also wants to see how much traffic will be generated by growth to existing traffic as people move into the area.
Councilman Jack Benson, who represents the area where Enterprise South lies, said the city needs to be “ahead of the curve” and know how the roads will be affected.
“Hamilton Place is a good example,” he said. “It was built in the ’80s when Gunbarrel was a two-lane country road and we’ve been behind ever since,” he said.
Volkert has requested data from Volkswagen including data on how many shipments the plant expects, both by truck and rail, the number of shifts at the plant and an estimate on how many people will work those shifts, he said.
Once complete, the study will help the city know how to address where the heaviest traffic flow will be, Mr. Meyer said.
Lee Norris, deputy administrator of the city’s public works department, said a trip to Greenville, S.C., to visit the BMW plant spurred city officials to consider access in and out of the VW plant.
“One of the first things (Greenville) realized was they needed to add another lane on I-85,” he said.
Some improvements already have been completed in the Enterprise South area, especially on Bonny Oaks Drive, Mr. Norris said, but the study will help nail down specific needs.
“Some intersections may need widening,” he said. “Some may need roundabouts. It could run the gamut.”
Officials do not have any estimates on cost or how the improvements might be done. There is no deadline yet on when the study will be completed. The city and Volkert still are waiting for answers from VW to complete the study, he said.
A spokeswoman for VW could not say by press time when the data would be provided.
Cliff has worked for the Times Free Press for five years and covers Chattanooga city government. He previously covered Rhea County, as well as transportation and growth and development in Southeast Tennessee. A native of Maryville, Tenn., Cliff graduated in 2003 from the University of Tennessee with a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis on journalism. Before coming to Chattanooga, he was a crime reporter with Hernando Today, a supplement of The Tampa (Fla.) ...