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Staff photo by C.B. Schmelter / The W Road is seen on Monday, Oct. 12, 2020, in Signal Mountain, Tenn. Area residents are complaining about speeding, littering, and other problems that slow down traffic and impact life near the historic road.

Residents along the W Road and drivers who take it up to Signal Mountain are fed up with speeding, littering and truckers getting stuck on the historic road, which includes several hairpin turns and little or no shoulder.

Hamilton County Commissioner Chip Baker, R-Signal Mountain, Hamilton County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Austin Garrett and Todd Leamon, Hamilton County public works administrator and county engineer, listened at a meeting Wednesday night to residents' concerns and brainstormed possible solutions.

On the issue of drivers who ignore signs prohibiting large trucks who then get stuck on the road — often forcing officials to close it off for hours — Garrett said deputies document the companies of the trucks that get stuck, and that data can be pulled to identify repeat offenders. He can then send officers from the county's traffic unit to educate drivers from those companies, he said.

Garrett said the sheriff's office is also working with Baker and Leamon's department to fund improvements to the road that address residents' concerns.

One citizen said that the road has only one space large enough for trucks to use to turn around, and people are now parking in that space to access the trails at the new Walden's Ridge Park. The park is also bringing more traffic and cyclists to the road, she said.

"That's an infrastructure enhancement that we'll need to be focused on as well," Garrett said.

Photo Gallery

W Road up to Signal Mountain

Leamon said the county added more signs and road markings about three years ago, and he is working with the county's mapping department to inform Google and other companies that provide navigation services to not direct out-of-town drivers to the road.

The county spent $670,000 about two years ago on work to stabilize the road in an area where the ground is shifting, which also affected homes on Sunset Drive nearby, he said.

"We have some inclinometers there that actually measure shifting, and I haven't gotten any dire results from the inclinometers," Leamon said, in response to Baker's question of whether the county was satisfied with the work.

Beth Cox, who lives near where the road was stabilized, asked Leamon if the county could replace the delineators — flexible, reflective white poles used for traffic control — that once lined the 40-inch-deep ditch on the shoulder before they were knocked off by drivers who hit them.

Another resident complained about the thousands of beverage cans he finds on the sides of the road, adding that the littering is probably contributing to the issue of distracted drivers running off the road.

Charging fines for littering and adding license plate-identifying cameras to identify and prosecute litterers were among the options discussed.

Others suggested road enhancements such as rumble strips and reflectors to keep people from crossing the center lines.

Baker told the 40 or so people at the meeting that he would discuss their concerns and possible solutions with Garrett and Leamon and then get back in touch with residents.

Contact Emily Crisman at ecrisman@timesfreepress.com.

(READ MORE: Robbins: Signal Mountain's 'W' Road has gone from Indian route to war cog to beautified road today)

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