Citizens along, near Virtue Road question Town’s upgrade plans

Fourteen people attended a public meeting in Farragut Town Hall Wednesday evening, April 18, to find out how their properties might be affected by Town of Farragut’s proposed improvements to Virtue Road.

Farragut Town engineer Darryl Smith said construction is expected to begin in fall 2019 and last about a year.

To get the project going, he said the Town is using its own funds rather than waiting to apply for federal funding. However, the Town could apply for federal grants for future phases of Virtue road improvements, he added.

“Two weeks ago, there was an accident here,” Virtue Road resident Kami Darakshani said, pointing to one place on the map of Virtue Road then pointed to another place. “A month ago there was an accident here. What about the rest of this road? What are you going to do about that?”

“That [part of the road] will be a future phase,” Smith answered.

“I have seen two people killed in front of my house,” Darakshani said. “Why can’t you extend [the project] all the way right now?”

“It comes down to how much money we have to spend,” Smith said.

“Is there a way we can fast-track (the project)?” Darakshani asked.

“We have an awful lot of hurdles to get through, as far as design, purchase of right of way,” Smith said. “I think we have it on a pretty aggressive schedule now.”

The projected length of this project is 3,706 feet, or seven-tenths of a mile, that begins about 750 feet south of Kingston Pike, said Jason Elliott, an engineer with Vaughn and Melton, which is heading up designs for the project.

It ends at the top of the hill, where drivers go around the steep “S” curve, he said.

The changes include flattening the “S” curve and widening each of the travel lanes to 12 feet.

“But the big piece that is going to require the most grading work — outside the existing roadway — is the addition of (an asphalt) shared use path on the east side of the road,” Elliott said. “That extends from the beginning of the project to just south of the bridge over Little Turkey Creek.”

Smith said Bob Mohney, who is developing the former Harville property off Virtue Road, will extend the greenway across the creek on the east side.

“At that point (the town) will pick (the path) up in a separate project and take it down to the east side of the creek to Sheffield greenway,” he said.

The project also involves replacing the existing bridge over Little Turkey Creek with a wider bridge that would accommodate the 10-foot shared use path, Elliott said.

In one area, four culverts will be replaced with one large culvert, and the road will be raised about 2 feet to prevent further flooding, Elliott said.

Elliott said the designers’ goal was to stay just inside the fences along Virtue Road.

“You keep saying ‘inside the fence line,’” said Ricky Bullock, whose home sits off Virtue Road, “Some of us are affected differently. I think that’s a play on words.

“A few of us are affected here,” he added, pointing to an area on the map. “It shifts all to our side. You are not going to the (Willow Creek) golf course side.”

Elliott said part of the reason for using more of the east side was because of the steeper slope on the west side; “there was much less grading on the east side than if we put it on the west side.

“On the golf course side, it does drop down steep,” he added.

“You’re still affecting 10-plus people as opposed to one (property),” said Jim Anderson, who lives at the corner of Broadwood and Virtue roads.

“The idea is to keep the impact as small as possible overall and you don’t really count tracts,” Smith said. “I think we’ve done a pretty good job of that."

“I disagree,” Anderson said.