North Murfreesboro's rush hour travelers will soon be experiencing a less frustrating commute, thanks to the efforts of the city staff and the encouragement of Councilman Doug Young, city officials announced.
Tonight's city council agenda includes approval of upgrades to the notorious intersection at Thompson Lane and Sulphur Springs Road.
"Most folks don't realize that intersection is one of only two that are four-way along Thompson Lane ... all the rest are simple 'T' intersections with only one lane of entering or exiting traffic, which is much simpler to deal with," Transportation Director Dana Richardson said. "Without turn lanes, a single driver taking a left turn blocks all traffic on their way to work or school at Siegel."
Richardson has been working with Young to optimize safety and traffic flow along the length of Thompson Lane for several years, and he said this project was a priority for the councilman.
"Councilman Young inquires often about our progress on the project, and he's been asking more frequently as the north Murfreesboro area has grown," he said. "His urging was definitely one of the reasons that we included the project in this year's Capitol Improvement Plan."
The project includes widening both roads, adding left turn lanes, and a programmable traffic signal with sensors installed in the roadway, which will continually adapt the signalization to the traffic flow.
Traffic studies have determined a traffic volume of more than 12,000 vehicles daily at the intersection, and City Planner Joseph Aydelott said he is looking forward to fixing the problem.
"Currently we have a situation in which parents and students entering the Siegel school area meet commuters at the Sulphur Springs Road crossing, and due to the absence of signalization and turn lanes, traffic gets backed up for several hundred feet at times," he said. "We have been working on this for a couple of years, and I look forward to this big improvement and safer situation."
The city's cost for the project is approximately $700,000, which is a savings of more than $50,000 in resurfacing costs due to coordination with the Tennessee Department of Transportation, who had already planned to resurface Thompson Lane and will now simply be finishing the roadway surface at the intersection upon the completion by city contractors.
TDOT also plans to widen all of Thompson Lane in the near future.
City Engineer Chris Griffith will be in handling the construction phase, and he noted frequent rear end collisions over the years at the intersection which should be alleviated with greater traffic movement.
"We are anxious to get moving on this project because it will definitely help alleviate the problem of stopped drivers getting rear ended while waiting to turn," he said. "I know it's been a priority for (Councilman) Doug (Young), and our plan will certainly improve safety at that location."
"I'm just glad that the city's department heads and the City Manager (Rob Lyons) have worked together to get this much needed project moving for the citizens of North Murfreesboro," Young said.