2022? Really

Dixie Lee Junction redesign on TDOT ‘to do’ list

With optimism from Loudon County and Regional Transportation Planning officials that Dixie Lee Junction intersection would be reconstructed and operational no later than 2022, three construction options remain on the table from a 2010 study.

“It is past due for re-engineering,” said Brad Brinson, senior pastor at Two Rivers Church, whose worship location (275 Harrison Lane off Highway 70) main entrance would be an intersection among options from a June 2010 Tennessee Department of Transportation planning report.

“The pressure on that exchange right there is just going to grow more and more.

“Particularly difficult is a left turn onto Harrison Lane when heading east,” Brinson added. “We know this because people living in the neighborhoods north of us are driving through our front entrance and cutting through our parking lot to Harrison Lane, to avoid turning left onto Harrison Lane at the junction. Their fear is getting rear-ended from eastbound traffic or T-boned from the traffic coming west.”

Many of the following options expand new highway extensions to five, four and three lanes:Option 2 ($2 million estimated cost) has Highway 11 straightened up to intersect with Highway 70 at Two Rivers’ main entrance (running due north and south), with a traffic signal. New Highway 11 would run behind The Fireside & Patio Shop instead of its current curved intersection with Highway 70. That curve would be closed to highway traffic.

Option 3 ($3.6 million estimate) closes current Highway 70 in front of Twin Lakes Materials eastward to just past eastern entrance to Two Rivers. New Highway 70 curves to run behind Fireside & Patio and intersect with a new Highway 11 about one-half mile south of the store.

The curved section of Highway 11 would be moved a few hundred feet to the north and west away from businesses on the south side of the current Highway 11 curve, with a traffic signaled intersection.

Option 4 ($2.7 million estimate) is placing a roundabout behind Fireside & Patio and closing the curved portion of Highway 11 from its current intersection with Highway 70 southward about one-half mile.

Highway 70 would be closed in front of Twin Lakes Materials east to the main entrance of Two Rivers, and a new section of Highway 70 would curve into the roundabout.

The new Highway 11 section would run behind Fireside & Patio beginning about a half-mile south of that business before connecting to the roundabout.

Option 1 simply is leaving the intersection basically intact.

Though TDOT has not signed off on any Dixie Lee improvements according to Jeff Welch, executive director of Regional Transportation Planning Organ-ization, he added that having a new intersection operating no later than 2022 “is a good possibility just because of continued growth in that west corridor.”

Patrick Phillips, president of Loudon County Economic Development Agency, said, “I think within three to five years we’ll start seeing activity out there. I’m optimistic.”