Looking to ease N. Campbell congestion, extra lanes onto 40/75 ‘well-received’

New lane configurations at the North Campbell Station Road/Interstate-40/75 interchange were unveiled Saturday, July 23 — and so far, reactions have been positive.

Assistant Town engineer Brannon Tupper — who came up with the idea — said Friday, July 29, the changes “have been well-received …. And we’ve had no issues so far.”

The design “widened Campbell Station Road, south of the bridge, allowing for dedicated turn-lanes for I-40/75 traffic,” he said.

Additionally, safety enhancements, including identifying Interstate shields on the roadway, along with extra signage overhead and on each sides of the interchange, were added.

“We wanted drivers to be (fully) aware of what lane they needed to be in” to access the Interstate, Tupper added.

The problem has been made worse, some Town officials say, by out-of-state motorists encountering an Interstate back-up heading westward who, instead of knowing it isn’t that bad as with local and area motorists, detour at Lovell Road then attempt to get back on the Interstate on North Campbell Station.

The idea of making interchange improvements — budgeted for a complete overhaul by Tennessee Department of Transportation in the 2022-23 fiscal year — began formulating during Tupper’s work commute one afternoon.

“I sat in traffic one day and just started thinking, ‘What can we do to make it better?’” he recalled saying.

In an e-mail, Tupper’s supervisor, Town Engineer Darryl Smith summarized the ongoing issue was “a major problem [involving] the center turn lane of Campbell Station Road under the bridge at Interstate 40/75. 

“Opposing left turn bays are just too short to hold the full left turn queue length, so the queue will back up into the thru lanes during peak hours,” Smith stated. “It isn’t quite as bad for the southbound movement, as there are two thru lanes. On the northbound side, there’s only one thru lane, and when the queue backs up, the thru movement has no way to move.  “Compounding this problem, when the thru lane backs up far enough, drivers will sometimes advance up the right turn lane (which ends at the eastbound on ramp), then attempt to merge into the thru queue. When no one lets them in, both northbound lanes are stopped. 

“This has been an ongoing problem for years, and we’ve looked at a few options …. “

Armed with Tupper’s idea, officials worked with engineering firm Cannon & Cannon on the design, presented to and approved by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen earlier this year.

Cost was $22,000 for design and $513,695 for construction.

Farragut resident Sara Klisz, who also experienced the traffic issues first-hand during her own work commute, said she has been pleased with the resulting changes.

“Looking at the published renderings, I was skeptical the reconfiguration would make a difference in traffic flow,” Klisz said.

“I’m happy to say I was wrong!

“... The new, dedicated turn lanes have alleviated the risk of a single-lane head-on collision,” she added. “I hope traffic continues to flow smoothly through the underpass when school is back in session.”