Road upgrades a must to handle growth
There’s a mass influx of new residents to Tennessee, and sometimes it feels like they all moved to the Farragut area. With growth comes increased traffic. The infrastructure improvements we invest in to accommodate growth have long-term consequences for the Town of Farragut and need to be considered strategically.
Often, the first inclination is to widen roads and intersections. Widening roads adds more capacity and allows for an increased volume of traffic, and that is sometimes necessary. However, studies have shown that, in a matter of time, the same congested conditions can return, so widening roads and intersections can’t be the only solution.
More importantly, widening roads and intersections can irrevocably alter the feel of a place. Consider the asphalt morass in the Cedar Bluff area, where Kingston Pike expands to eight lanes. Additionally, considering the Town’s investment in a connected pedestrian system, the pedestrian experience and pedestrian safety certainly deserve consideration in our transportation plan.
A better course of action is to plan more comprehensively to build a resilient transportation network by strategically widening certain roads and intersections and providing alternative routes to disperse traffic over a wider network of roads.
The Town has made great strides in building a resilient transportation network. That work continues. Alternative routes have been created by connecting Old Stage Road to Kingston Pike, connecting Smith Road to Everett Road, extending Campbell Station Road to Concord Road and connecting Watt Road to Old Stage Road. Kingston Pike, Grigsby Chapel Road, Campbell Station Road and the Everett Road-Kingston Pike intersection have been widened. Many of our roads have been improved for safety.
We continue to invest in improvements to our transportation system. Safety improvements to Virtue Road are currently under way, the alignment of the Watt Road/Kingston Pike intersection is being addressed and improvements to Campbell Station Road that will relieve northbound congestion at the I-40/75 interchange should be complete by early summer of 2022.
In 2019, the addition of a second travel lane on southbound Campbell Station Road from Snyder Road to the I-40 interchange relieved congestion on Snyder Road and at the Interstate interchange. The Town of Farragut and Knox County are seeking to secure federal funding assistance to improve the I-40 corridor from Lovell Road to the I-40/75 split.
A traffic and transportation study is under way to determine whether lane improvements and signalized intersections at Jamestowne Boulevard and Kingston Pike and Jamestowne Boulevard and Campbell Station Road are viable and justified.
Further, an upgrade to the Town’s traffic signal system that will allow for more efficient management of our transportation network has been funded through a federal grant and is awaiting a notice to proceed from TDOT.
The Farragut area includes Choto and the Loop Road/Woody Drive area, which are in unincorporated Knox County. Knox County is beginning a comprehensive planning process that will guide land use and transportation decisions for the next 20 years.
Loop Road/Woody Drive is a key east/west connector in our transportation network; addressing the safety of that road should be a priority, particularly in light of the planned improvements to Canton Hollow Road. A plan for improvements to Northshore Drive is needed as well. Farragut area residents need to provide their input during this important planning process.
Balancing our desire to remain a desirable place to live by establishing a unique sense of place with our need to address the traffic that comes with growth in our area requires thoughtful consideration and strategic solutions.
We continue to plan for growth with the long-term well-being of the Town of Farragut in mind.