Traffic in spotlight for Cleveland, Tenn., Bradley County officials

Traffic in spotlight for Cleveland, Tenn., Bradley County officials

November 23rd, 2012 by Paul Leach in Local Regional News

Bill Estes of the Cleveland City Council

CLEVELAND, Tenn. - Officials in Bradley County plan to discuss a number of road safety problems next week.

On Monday, Cleveland leaders will review findings from a traffic study of the intersection of Highland Avenue and Eighth Street. The spot has been cited by City Councilman Bill Estes as a dangerous mixture of speeding vehicles, limited sight distances and pedestrians.

"Something needs to be done at that intersection before someone is paralyzed, before a kid is hit," Estes said at a recent meeting.

Speeding vehicles headed north and going downhill on Highland Avenue are a critical factor in the problem, he said. Students walking to Arnold Elementary on dark mornings are at risk when they cross the street.

Estes said he doubts that enforcing speed limits alone will solve the matter and he's eager to hear recommendations from the traffic study.

The Bradley County Road Committee will tackle a pair of issues Wednesday: a proposed closure of a railroad crossing near the Georgia border and requested signs for the Benton Pike off-ramp on APD-40.

At a recent meeting, Commissioner Charlotte Peak-Jones said she's received several complaints about the lack of warning signs before the sharp turn at APD-40's Benton Pike exit.

"If you don't know that exit, you're going to fly right into [the concrete curb]," Peak-Jones said. "They have put reflectors there ... but half of those are already down because that's the first place people hit."

Committee member Terry Caywood said placing signs would require coordination with the state, because the exit is part of a Tennessee highway.

That committee also will consider Norfolk Southern Railway's request to close the crossing at Old Weatherly Switch Road.

Closing the crossing would improve safety, according to William Miller, manager of grade crossing safety for Norfolk Southern. Miller addressed the Bradley County Commission this month.

Miller said the impact on local traffic is expected to be minimal. There's another crossing less than 1,000 feet away on Tennessee Highway 317, also named Weatherly Switch Road.

Norfolk Southern will offer the county $22,500 to proceed with the closure, and the Tennessee Department of Transportation will add $7,500, Miller said. That money could be used to alleviate stormwater drainage problems at the Highway 317 crossing.

The Cleveland City Council will review the Highland Avenue traffic study at its 1 p.m. work session Monday at the city's municipal building.

The Bradley County Road Committee will discuss the Benton Pike exit and the Old Weatherly Road railroad crossing at 9 a.m. Wednesday at the Road Department building in McDonald, Tenn.