Roundabout in the Valley to help solve traffic issues: Snowden

Crews are starting a six-month construction project on a new roundabout that aims to improve traffic flow and safety at a problematic intersection in the Hardin Valley area, a Knox County Mayor’s Office press release stated.

“Going west on Hardin Valley Road, the road ends at an intersection with East Gallaher Ferry Road and Hickory Creek Road. It is the intersection of three main roadways,” said Jim Snowden, senior director of Knox County Engineering and Public Works. “You have to make a couple of sharp 90-degree turns There are lots of conflict points for drivers.”

He said the intersection has a long history of crashes, with vehicles often driving off the road.

“People are not expecting it. Going westbound or eastbound approaching this intersection, you’ve got a mile of roadway that’s flat and relatively straight,” Snowden said. “Then you have a curve where you have to slow down to 10 miles per hour.

“This new roundabout will have everyone come into one point, eliminate conflict points, and really operate more efficiently and safely,” he added.

“The volume of traffic in the Hardin Valley area is increasing due to rapid growth and residential development,” the press release stated. “The developer of a new subdivision near the intersection is contributing $300,000 towards the $1.2 million construction project.”

Snowden said drivers should be prepared for large construction equipment near the intersection through mid-November, the deadline for the contractor to complete the project.

“Yet, construction of the actual roundabout should not interfere with traffic or require road closures,” the press release stated.

“We are able to build the roundabout in an empty space — beside the intersection — where nobody is currently operating,” Snowden said. “So, we’ll be able to minimize the inconvenience to traffic on the existing roads.

“Then we’ll come in one weekend or over a week and tie it (the three roads) all together,” he added, “This will fix something that has been a problem. It will really operate a lot more efficiently for the folks who have to drive these roads every day.”