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By Kimberly McMillian

Correspondent

SPRING CITY, Tenn. -- Recent accidents on state Highway 68 near two local markets have state and local officials, as well as residents, concerned.

Resident Betty Godsey said motorists drive "too fast" on the highway, especially when they're turning onto Wolf Creek Road that runs beside the J&L Market.

The speed limit there is 55 mph, and no traffic lights are in place at the intersection.

Rhea County Sheriff's Office Deputy Dean Cranfield said he "didn't normally run radar" even though he patrols the area.

According to Godsey, turning off County Road 302 onto the highway has created difficulty for area motorists because of the speeding.

County Road 302 has two outlets, one near U.S. Highway 27 and the other past the Wolf Creek Market.

Capt. David McGill with the Tennessee Highway Patrol said authorities are addressing the issue and have worked on putting together an "operational plan."

McGill said he, along with Tennessee Highway Patrol lieutenants and supervisors, would review previous accident data and determine whether extra enforcement or sobriety checkpoints are necessary.

Troopers are responsible for their areas primarily, but the highway patrol would work with city and Rhea County officers to evaluate what needs improvement, he said.

County Executive George Thacker addressed the speeding concerns along the highway at a recent Rhea County Purchase and Finance meeting.

Chairman Ronnie Raper agreed the speeding is an issue and that the county could use radar enforcement equipment for two days.

There was a recent fatal accident on Highway 68 in McMinn County, but speed hasn't been ruled as a contributing factor, officials said.

Kimberly McMillian is based in Rhea County. Contact her at kdj424@bellsouth.net.

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