Intersection turn-lane plans questioned: BOMA ‘got ahead of itself?’

What started as a seemingly simple Capital Outlay Program and State Street Aid budget amendments by Farragut Board of Mayor and Aldermen, during its meeting Thursday, June 9, led to a lengthy discussion when resident Adam Atherton contested the Board’s plans to add another left-turn lane from Campbell Station, in both directions, onto Kingston Pike.

While Atherton expressed appreciation for the Town’s efforts regarding the sidewalk along Smith Road near Andover subdivision and the Board’s acknowledgement of the “traffic mess” in Farragut — “it’s going to require significant efforts between BOMA, staff, consultants and residents to get this right” — he said he had concerns about the planned improvements at the Campbell Station/Kingston Pike intersection.

“It appears to me that BOMA got ahead of itself with the decision to fund reducing a lane width (to 10 feet) and having additional left turn lanes at Kingston Pike and Campbell Station,” he said. “It may be a good idea, but I doubt it’s an ideal solution because of a lack of input from Town of Farragut residents and businesses.

“Where was the opportunity provided for residents and busnesses to provide comments on the now funded proposal?” Atherton added. “I assume BOMA is aware of the concerns to reduce lane widths at the I-40 and Campbell Station overpass. Naturally, people are concerned with safety because their car would be 2 feet closer to other cars.

“Is BOMA aware of the minimum lane widths of 11 feet for truck turning radiuses? Did BOMA fund additional turn lanes without public having the chance to be part of the discussion?”

If so, “where was the opportunity provided?” Atherton asked. “I just want transparency. It just seems like, sometimes, BOMA is in a big hurry. They may be great ideas, but I think there needs to be a concerted effort … to get residents’ and businesses’ input.”

I-40/75-Campbell Station

As the budget amendment was for a traffic flow improvement project at North Campbell Station and the Interstate 40/75 interchange, the board initially focused on that project.

“We’ve been getting an awful lot of complaints about the traffic backing up on Campbell Station Road because of how hard it is to get underneath the Interstate and people from Hardin Valley trying to get westbound,” Alderman Ron Pinchok said. “There is a fix coming, we hope, within the five to 10 years, with the new interchange, (but) we had come up with something now.

“We looked at a lot of different alternatives,” he added. “There wasn’t much we could do — it’s just so narrow. We had to get a second turn lane … it’s just a short-term fix with hopefully a long-term fix coming down the road.”

“There’s been a lot about the 10-foot lanes,” Vice Mayor Louise Povlin said. “Given the limited opportunities we have there with the bridges and seeing that there was space there, we worked with our engineers to work through this, and we’re in the design process.

“If we could not put that lane in and be safe, we would not do it,” Povlin added. “This project was discussed in public-noticed meetings.

“It was on the agenda; there are drawings. There were opportunities for people to come in and give their input.”

Regarding the Campbell Station/Kingston Pike improvements, Town administrator David Smoak said it is on the CIP for the 2023 fiscal year starting July 1.

“What happens at that point is it gets put in the budget, and during the next fiscal year, staff will work toward getting a design and plan for the project that would come to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen,” Smoak said. “People can make comments at that time.”

“All we have funded is the right-of-way and design. The construction will be funded the following year,” he added.

The Board voted unanimously to approve, on second reading, increasing the CIP fund by $17,538, a $250,000 increase to the Campbell Station Road/I-40 improvements and $67,538 for McFee Park Phase 3.

“We’re just re-allocating some funds from the land acquisition expense line item to the Campbell Station project,” Town recorder/treasurer Allison Myers said. “The State Street Aid (fund) will increase $132,304 … due to the increased cost of the annual resurfacing program.

In other business, the Board unanimously approved a change to the Town’s ordinance 22-10 concerning nuisances and property maintenance to correct a clerical error in the ordinance’s lot clearing section.