Several Bradley County traffic signal projects in the works

Several Bradley County traffic signal projects in the works

July 4th, 2014 by Paul Leach in Local Regional News

The Tennessee Department of Transportation plans to install a traffic signal at the intersection of Lauderdale Memorial Highway and North Lee Highway near Charleston, Tenn. Currently, there is only a stop sign at the T-junction where the two highways meet.

Photo by Paul Leach/Times Free Press.

Photo by Laura McNutt/Times Free Press.

CLEVELAND, Tenn. - Several traffic signal projects are under way throughout Bradley County that afffect key traffic corridors and emergency responders.

In a recent meeting, Cleveland Utilities officials discussed the upcoming installation of a traffic signal at the intersection of Lauderdale Memorial Highway and North Lee Highway (U.S. Highway 11) near Charleston, Tenn.

"Construction is slated to begin in July or August of 2014, but it has yet to be determined if Bradley County or the city of Charleston will be responsible for maintaining the signal," said Bart Borden, vice president of the electric division.

Utility engineers recently attended a Tennessee Department of Transportation pre-construction meeting regarding the project, he said.

Currently, only one stop sign controls traffic where Lauderdale Memorial Highway intersects North Lee Highway, forming a T-junction. The stop sign only applies to vehicles turning left -- or north -- onto North Lee Highway.

Lauderdale Memorial Highway accommodates traffic for both Walker Valley High School, located close to North Lee Highway, and the Amazon Fulfillment Center close to the Interstate 75 interchange at exit 33.

Borden also said updated traffic counts have been obtained for the intersection of Dalton Pike and 20th Street SE, which is part of the State Route 60 corridor in eastern Bradley County, as plans go forward for traffic signals there.

And Cleveland Utilities engineers have proposed three conceptual designs to upgrade the traffic signals at the intersection of Central Avenue and Ocoee Street in downtown Cleveland, he said.

The proposals call for replacing the current signals, which hang by lines, with pole-arm structures, said Borden.

The recent installation of 19 GPS-based traffic signal override devices along Keith Street, 25th Street and Paul Huff Parkway have received good feedback from the Cleveland Fire Department, said Borden.

"The new equipment allows [controller-equipped] fire trucks to preempt the signal in all four directions at a point determined by zones set up in the on-site software," he said.

When a fire truck's emergency flashers are enabled, the signal override devices adjust traffic signals based on the approaching emergency vehicle's speed, distance and turn signal position, said Borden.

In other business, Cleveland Utilities is also supporting the fire department through its fire hydrant painting project, said Craig Mullinax, vice president of the water division.

The initiative calls for fresh coats of paint and inspections of 2,600 hydrants over a three-year period, he said. The shafts of the hydrants are painted orange, while their caps are color-coded to indicate the amount of water pressure available at the site

"We believe all hydrants should not only look good, but should operate properly," said Mullinax.

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