Traffic solution ideas, bids at BOMA
In looking at ways to divert traffic and alleviate traffic congestion from the Kingston Pike and Campbell Station intersection, Farragut Board of Mayor and Aldermen heard from Cannon & Cannon, an engineering firm that offered possibilities involving Jamestowne Boulevard during the Board’s workshop Thursday, Nov. 10.
While no decisions were made, the Board heard some possible solutions.
Meanwhile, in BOMA’s attempt to improve traffic flow through the more efficient operation of the Town’s traffic signals, the next step in installing Advanced Traffic Management System Phase 1 was unanimously accepting a construction company bid and purchase of equipment for the system during its subsequent meeting.
Even considering school traffic, when school lets out, and churches, the highest volume of traffic is the 5 to 6 p.m. rush hour, reported Brian Haas, a consulting engineer with Cannon & Cannon, which has been working as consultants with the Town for a few months.
“We did collect traffic data during school dismissal” starting at 3 p.m.,” he said. “While traffic congestion is bad there, we found that overall traffic volumes were higher around that 5 p.m. range.
“Obviously, we have a traffic problem, and we want to solve that,” he added. “There are three different ways we can do that.
“One is to increase efficiency of the intersection. That’s through keeping your (traffic) signals timing updated. The second way is to increase capacity of the intersection – adding lanes. There’s too much traffic for the lanes you have now.
Haas advised the Town to widen the intersection or restrip it to narrow the lanes.
“The third way is to reduce the amount of traffic that is going through the intersection,” he said. One potential solution would be to use Jamestowne Boulevard as a “bypass” around the Kingston Pike-Campbell Station Road intersection, “specifically the eastbound Kingston Pike to northbound Campbell Station Road.
“It removes congestion from the Kingston Pike intersection,” Haas added. “Now, we’re not reducing traffic through the overall network; we’re redistributing it to other intersections with hopes of balancing it a little bit.
“To make it work, improvements need to be made.
He recommended a traffic signal at Jamestowne Boulevard, adding turn lanes and making other improvements, such as widening lanes on Jamestown Boulevard to accommodate higher volumes of traffic.
The cost estimate for this would be $5.5 million to $7 million depending on project plans. Haas projected future year costs could run from $7 million to $9 million in five years and $9 million to $11.5 million in 10 years.
“You know someone who can pay for that?” Vice Mayor Louise Povlin asked then laughed.
“This was very helpful. Thank you,” Alderman Scott Meyer said about the engineer’s report.
“If we figure out how we’re going to fund this, when do we start talking about designs?” Povlin asked.
“We have design (stage) in the budget for this year,” Town administrator David Smoak said. “We have right-of-way acquisition next year. I’ve got it (budgeted) for the next two years. The issue is we have $3 million in the budget in the third year for construction, and I was just told it would be double that, so we’ve got a lot of money we’ve got to allocate for this project.”
He pointed out one possibility is when the Eddy Ford property develops (proposed site for Hy-Vee along Kingston Pike about one-quarter of a mile west of the Pike’s intersection with Campbell Station Road), the developers would be required to pay for some of those improvements.
“There would be an impact they would put on those intersections to make those requirements,” Smoak said.
Also, he questioned the school traffic and how it relates to the intersection at Jamestowne. “Can we take some traffic away from Kingston Pike? Would it divert it?” Smoak asked.
“I think there’s a possibility of doing it without an extra lane,” Alderman Drew Burnett said.
After receiving three bids — David H. Eliot Construction Company Inc., $4,949,900; Progression Electric, LLC, $4,876,836.18; and Stansell Electric Inc., $5,055.771.30, the Board chose Progression Electric, LLC.’s low bid.
Similarly, the Board unanimously agreed on a purchase agreement for traffic signal equipment for the system from Transportation Control Systems Inc for $243,120, and voted to increase the Town’s fiber optic capacity from 72- to 144-strand optics, so they can be used for other things besides the ATMS, for $9,700.
“I think we’re all pleased to see the Advanced Traffic Management System moving forward,” assistant Town engineer Brannon Tupper said. “(Town engineer) Darryl Smith has been working on this for several years to get the funding and the project going.”
According to Tupper, the work is scheduled to begin in January 2023 with an 18-month construction schedule and completed by summer 2024.
“What this actually does is reduce (traffic) congestion through the Town by operating our traffic light signal system at the Town Hall,” Burnette said. The new system would update all of the Town’s existing traffic lights and be “more reactive to traffic situations throughout Town.”
About five ago, the Town was awarded grant funding through Tennessee Department of Transportation via the federal Congestion Mitigation Air Quality Improvement Program, which provides funding to states for transportation projects, for design and installation of the ATMS.
Tupper explained the system, which consists of the construction, installation, testing and integration, is “a fully-functional, interconnected traffic signal system, including replacement of all cabinets and equipment, radar detection, CCTV, Ethernet-based fiber optic communications system, central software installed at Town Hall, (Americans with Disabilities Act)-compliant pedestrian facilities and other upgrades, such as mast arms at select intersections.
“The project’s scope includes the entirety of the signalized intersections within the Town, which totals 26 intersections,” he said. “Design was complete in 2020; utility make-ready work began earlier this year; and the construction contract was bid with a bid opening on Aug. 17.”
”Several suppliers were evaluated, with staff, the design consultant and TDOT agreeing that Transportation Control Systems Inc. was the most technically capable firm to perform the work,” Tupper said.
“TCS will provide the Central System Software and Integration. ...”