Area residents turned out in droves at Hardin Valley Academy Wednesday, April 10, to discuss Knox Planning’s ongoing Transportation Mobility Study concerning Hardin Valley Road and other major roadways.
“We got a lot of great feedback,” said Amy Brooks, planning services manager who estimated between 120-130 individuals attended last week’s meeting. It included two presentations about what input already had been received and the next steps for the project.
It was the second public meeting this year that sought input on Hardin Valley Road’s severe traffic issues — especially during school pick-up and drop-off hours — along with safety concerns and increased options for traffic flow.
Since the study includes travel on Hardin Valley Road along with major roadways leading to and from it, a larger geographical area is being considered including Campbell Station, Yarnell and Solway roads.
Farragut Mayor Ron Williams, who along with several other Farragut officials attended last week’s meeting, expressed frustration with the project’s late-stage planning.
In a lengthy e-mail, Williams stated a good deal of preparation and foresight seemed to have been involved with a similar high-growth area in North Knox County, and wondered “why Knox County did not mirror what they accomplished in the past before it was way late?
“If you look at the Powell/Emory Road exit, you see tremendous growth, somewhat similar to Hardin Valley with one big exception: once they (saw) the amount of commercial growth they planned ahead with expanded lanes to the east all the way to Halls,” he added. “They are now doing the same west to Clinton Highway. This has allowed for Smart Growth of the corridor both on the commercial and residential side.
“I’m not one for pointing fingers,” Williams continued. “But I do think it is up to the Knox County elected officials for each area, as well as the At-Large (Commission) seats, to push for infrastructure improvements.”
Williams stated he sees three critical topics needing to be addressed regarding Hardin Valley’s current situation: “traffic congestion that calls for major road
improvements … the Pellissippi exit needs help as well; expanded sewer service; and we cannot forget that Hardin Valley has new schools, but they are already at capacity with no budgeted money or plans in the pipeline ... with more farms to be sold.
“How does all of this concern Farragut?” he asked.
For one thing, “Some of the Hardin Valley residents have seen it is quicker to go to the Campbell Station exit and follow North Campbell Station to bypass the major Pellissippi congestion,” Williams stated. “The part that is county road is very narrow and unsafe.”
He went on to state the “Campbell Station exit needs help now. We would like to see a major overhaul, which was proposed years ago but was dropped from the state list ...
“In the short term we would like to see five lanes under the overpass, two in each direction and a center turn lane, along with a sidewalk on one side with ADA cross-walks tied in with the new redlight system,” he added.
Williams further noted his “push to extend Snyder Road to Hatmaker Road and on to the Everett Road/Yarnell Road area.
“… This would give residents two connected escape routes for the middle and west end of Hardin Valley and help future traffic congestion on North Campbell Station Road.”