CLEVELAND, Tenn. - More than 30 Bradley County residents attended a recent meeting with state and local officials to talk about proposed improvements to state Route 60, especially along a stretch of Georgetown Road between Cleveland Middle School and the Hopewell community.
The proposed changes include increasing the number of vehicle lanes from two to five, which would include a middle turn lane. Ten-foot bike lanes and sidewalks on both sides of the road also would be added.
Bradley Commissioners Terry Caywood, who serves as vice chairman of the State Route 60 Corridor Management Committee, and Bill Wintersdistributed fliers about the meeting and encouraged resident and business participation. Both the 1st and 7th districts, which the commissioners represent, would be affected by the expansion.
Scott Medlin, transportation project manager for the Tennessee Department of Transportation, said the improvements will be an asset to the community.
Difficulty entering Georgetown Road from subdivision entrances will be addressed by the inclusion of a center turn lane instead of an increase in traffic signals, Medlin said. Center lanes will provide "a refuge" for left-turning motorists so they do not have to navigate both directions of traffic at once.
The decision whether to install more traffic signals is a trade-off, Medlin said.
"If we had a traffic signal at every business ... or groups of residences there, we would not have very much progress in terms of moving down the highway," he said.
Bill Winters asked how the proposed changes would look, saying a number of people had called him about the project.
Medlin said the appearance of Georgetown Road will be similar in style and scope to changes recently made to Route 60 on Dalton Pike between Walmart and Waterville Elementary School.
From a future development perspective, Cleveland and Bradley County should consider frontage road requirements, said Doug Berry, vice president of economic development for the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce.
The use of service access roads is something to bear in mind as the city increasingly becomes a regional job center that will be fed by the Georgetown Road artery, officials said.
Anytime a group of businesses can share an entrance it improves traffic efficiency and safety, Medlin said.
TDOT will review the right-of-way process with the community in the spring after those plans have been approved, Medlin said. The state will send notices to affected property owners, using the addresses where their property tax bills are sent.
Paul Leach is based in Cleveland. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.