published Friday, September 2nd, 2011

Cleveland, Tenn., tweaking timing of traffic lights

By Paul Leach/Correspondent
  • photo
    Robby Downey changes a traffic light in this file photo.
    Photo by Angela Lewis /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

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CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- Cleveland Utilities has thrown its arms around the issue of improving the traffic flow on Paul Huff Parkway and 25th Street/Georgetown Road this summer.

Most of the improvements on Paul Huff Parkway were made by traffic light timing changes designed to accommodate differences in traffic volumes and directions the corridor experiences each day, said Jimmy Isom, engineering manager for Cleveland Utilities.

"We still have a few tweaks to make to the lights on Paul Huff," he said.

Isom said the plan for Paul Huff Parkway also includes a nearby stretch of Keith Street, which intersects the parkway and has a number of inherent challenges.

The targeted half mile of Keith Street encompasses a number of shopping centers along its length as well as a junction with Ocoee Street, another major artery in addition to Paul Huff Parkway. The relatively small section of road is regulated by no fewer than six traffic signals.

The possible relocation of the E.L. Ross Elementary School zone from Paul Huff Parkway to Mouse Creek Road also is up for discussion, according to Tom Wheeler, general manager of Cleveland Utilities. Wheeler said the city council would need to make a decision on the matter before any changes occur, however.

Isom said he had spoken with the school principal and that they agreed that moving the slow-speed zone might better serve the school, which actually is located on Mouse Creek Road.

Canon & Canon Consultants, which assisted Cleveland Utilities with the project, will present a visual demonstration to the utility board at its Sept. 22 meeting, according to Isom. The presentation will include time-lapse video footage of traffic patterns before and after the improvements.

The 25th Street/Georgetown Road improvements have focused on potential bottlenecks created between Westside Drive and Cleveland Middle School, Isom said. The project has required some new equipment as well as time changes, he said.

A cornerstone of the project is the addition of a new signal at the entrance of the northbound ramp at Exit 25 on Interstate 75, according to Isom. The engineering manager said he expects the new signal will be installed within a few weeks.

It is intended to alleviate morning backups experienced by exiting interstate motorists who are stalled by westbound traffic headed for Cleveland Middle School, he said.

Also, a new five-way signal head has been installed at Cleveland Middle, Isom said. He said the new device will make it easier for eastbound traffic to exit school property.

Paul Leach is based in Cleveland. Email him at paul.leach.press@gmail.com.

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