published Sunday, September 2nd, 2012

Bradley officials seek solution to Georgetown Pike bottleneck

Eastbound traffic stacks up on Georgetown Pike between Paul Huff Parkway and Cleveland Middle School in the afternoon.
Eastbound traffic stacks up on Georgetown Pike between Paul Huff Parkway and Cleveland Middle School in the afternoon.
Photo by Paul Leach.

CLEVELAND, Tenn. — Bradley County commissioners are concerned about traffic on Georgetown Pike and a pilot program intended to integrate state and local planning for the corridor.

At a recent meeting, county commissioners discussed several problem areas on the road between Candies Lane and Freewill Road.

"Trying to get [onto Georgetown Pike], in the evenings and mornings especially, is just a long wait, and you're taking your life in your hands," said Commissioner Terry Caywood.

The state's plans for state Route 60, which encompasses 25th Street in Cleveland and Georgetown Pike in western Bradley County, did not ease commissioners' worries.

"It's only going to get worse with the plans to expand Highway 60 to a four-lane all the way out to Hopewell," Commissioner Ed Elkins said. "You're just going to cause traffic to get into that area a lot faster."

Elkins also cited a number of complaints he had received about the highway's intersection with Candies Lane, which is just west of the interchange with Interstate 75 and east of Cleveland Middle School.

"There's a lot of bottlenecking going there, and if there's an accident, it really backs up," he said.

Elkins attributed rush-hour congestion to a series of four traffic signals near the interstate interchange and another three signals within a mile of Paul Huff Parkway. He recommended that a traffic light study be done.

In the meantime, commissioners said they still have some questions about a Tennessee Department of Transportation pilot program agreement intended to coordinate local government and state agency objectives in developing state Route 60, from the Hopewell community east to the Georgia state line.

Before adopting the agreement, a few commissioners said they wanted to make sure they fully understood their obligations and responsibilities.

Essentially the agreement creates a framework for discussion, said Corey Divel, planning director for Bradley County. It does not create another planning body.

The program is intended to address issues such as zoning, traffic signal placement and road improvements, according to transportation officials. Its purpose is to achieve a big-picture perspective of how the highway will look and function along its course instead of grappling with its needs in a disjointed -- and potentially counterproductive -- piecemeal fashion, planners said.

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