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Marion Institute's campus entrance.

KIMBALL, Tenn. -- Since the Marion County Regional Institute of Higher Education opened along U.S. Highway 41 in Kimball in September, officials have noticed a potential traffic hazard at the entrance to the campus.

Vice Mayor Jerry Don Case voiced his concern about the intersection at the October meeting of the Kimball Board of Mayor and Aldermen.

"When you come either way around 5 o'clock, you need to be careful," Case said. "People are coming in and out of there going to class, and other people are just usually flying on by. I'm sure the police have noticed that, too."

The sharp turn into the campus entrance causes drivers to come to an almost complete stop on either side of the highway.

With a 45-mph speed limit on that heavily traveled, two-lane road, the possibility for a serious accident at the spot has increased significantly, officials said.

"All of the sudden, you've got to bow up [your car] and stop because they're turning in or coming out," Case said.

The Tennessee Department of Transportation is preparing to construct a new turning lane into the facility, but work has not begun.

Alderman Mark Payne said dropping the speed limit wouldn't solve the problem.

"That's just going to make it more congested where you can't get through town," he said.

Payne said state Rep. Billy Spivey, R-Lewisburg, would be at Kimball Town Hall Annex on Thursday at 6 p.m. CST, and he encouraged residents to attend and ask for help with that and other road issues through town.

"Everybody should be here to complain to him that we need this road-widening project finished up through this town," he said.

Years ago, Payne said, Chattanooga State's main campus entrance in Chattanooga suffered from the same problem, and it was only after "several wrecks" at that intersection that traffic lights were installed.

Case said a traffic light would have to be installed at Marion Institute's entrance eventually as the campus continues to grow. For now, he suggested city administrators contact TDOT to get some signs up in the area.

"We just need to pass the word around that you better be careful going up through there," Case said.

Ryan Lewis is based in Marion County. Contact him at ryanlewis34@gmail.com.

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