published Thursday, March 6th, 2014

Bradley County's Georgetown Road concerns reviewed by panel

1st District Bradley County Commissioner Terry Caywood, left, addresses concerns regarding traffic congestion in the road network surrounding Hopewell Elementary during a meeting of the Highway 60 Corridor Management Committee. Caywood, who serves as vice chairman of the 15-member panel, is seated next to Jennifer Innes, program manager for the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, who also serves on the committee.
1st District Bradley County Commissioner Terry Caywood, left, addresses concerns regarding traffic congestion in the road network surrounding Hopewell Elementary during a meeting of the Highway 60 Corridor Management Committee. Caywood, who serves as vice chairman of the 15-member panel, is seated next to Jennifer Innes, program manager for the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, who also serves on the committee.
Photo by Paul Leach.

CLEVELAND, Tenn. — Two dozen Bradley County residents and local officials asked questions and aired their concerns about the proposed expansion of Georgetown Road with the Highway 60 Corridor Management Committee on Wednesday.

One recurring question involved the project's impact on private property and business owners.

"I would have to provide 135 different answers for that question because that's about how many pieces of property we would have to acquire," said Scott Medlin, project manager for the Tennessee Department of Transportation.

The corridor project area runs from just before Cleveland Middle School down to the intersection with Eureka Road, encompassing sections of Bradley County's 1st and 7th Districts.

A right-of-way meeting is planned for midsummer that will provide "minute detail" of how the state road project will affect property owners along this section of the Highway 60 corridor, Medlin said.

It will be at least two years before actual construction begins, he said.

Funding for right-of-way acquisitions for the project has been approved, but funding for construction has not, Medlin said.

The current proposal calls for transforming the two-lane highway into a five-lane highway, which includes a middle turn lane, curbs and guttering, he said.

According to previously distributed documents and discussions, the improved section of Georgetown Road also should include bike lanes, said Bradley County Commissioner Terry Caywood, vice chairman of the Highway 60 Corridor Management Committee.

Once construction is complete, Georgetown Road should closely mirror the improvements made to Dalton Pike a few years ago, according to Medlin.

Caywood said possible changes to Hopewell Elementary School's traffic circulation may need to be considered.

The school, located on Freewill Road near the intersection of Eureka and Georgetown roads, has terrible congestion problems during student drop-off and pick-up times, he said.

No recommendations have been made by the Bradley County Board of Education to the Bradley County Commission in the matter, Caywood said. However, the state needs to be aware of the possibility of having to integrate any proposed improvements, he said.

TDOT is handling a similar issue with Cleveland City Schools and its plan for a new elementary school on Georgetown Road between Cleveland Middle School and Hopewell Elementary, Medlin said.

The next meeting of the Highway 60 Corridor Management Committee will be in early May, officials said.

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

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