published Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

TDOT: Traffic clog at Signal Mountain Road exit only temporary

U.S. 27 Traffic Pattern Map
U.S. 27 Traffic Pattern Map
  • photo
    Workers construct a wall to the approach on the new Signal Mountain exit overpass Tuesday, October 8, 2013, as U.S. Highway 27 construction continues in Red Bank.
    Photo by Tim Barber.
    enlarge photo

  • photo
    The U.S. Highway 27 construction in Chattanooga is seen from the air.
    Photo by Doug Strickland /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Traffic stretching from the Signal Mountain Road exit off northbound U.S. Highway 27 almost to downtown Chattanooga on Monday during afternoon rush hour had motorists questioning the placement of a new traffic light at the end of the busy off-ramp.

“Monday evening was bad,” said Bob Patel, owner of the Mountain Mart gas station on Signal Mountain Road, who said customers complained about travel times.

A new traffic signal at the end of the Signal Mountain Road exit ramp directs motorist to either Signal Mountain or Dayton Boulevard. Thousands of northbound motorists have to use this exit as the Dayton Boulevard exit ramp will be closed until July. The ramp is being rebuilt as part of the ongoing widening project on Highway 27.

State transportation officials said Tuesday adjustments already are being made to improve traffic flow at the Signal Mountain Road exit.

The right turn at the bottom of the exit ramp toward Signal Mountain is only a “temporary situation” that will allow the construction of two through lanes to Signal Mountain Road while still maintaining traffic, said Jennifer Flynn, the Tennessee Department of Transportation community relations officer for Region 2.

“It was the first full day of the new traffic pattern,” Flynn said,

TDOT is aware that adjustments will be needed to address the traffic flow problems.

TDOT workers monitored the exit at rush hour Monday, and the signal times have been “tweaked” to allow for better flow, but workers won’t know how traffic flow is affected by the adjustments until the ramp has been monitored through the next high-traffic period, Flynn said.

“It’s not uncommon for it to take a couple of days for traffic to settle down when adjustments are made,” Flynn said.

Flynn said that TDOT received numerous complaints through various channels about the changes to the exit ramp.

While TDOT doesn’t have the numbers for how many vehicles use the actual on and off ramps, the average daily traffic count for the area of the Signal Mountain exit was about 45,500.

Contact Alex Harris at aharris@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6592.

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