Business owners discuss Dixie Lee Junction

Concerned about Dixie Lee Junction intersection traffic at his First National Bank branch, David Allen is speaking out.

It’s mostly about customers’ difficulty with left turns out of FNB, 16239 Hwy. 70, and motorists’ speedy, unintentional turns smashing into the building.

“That junction’s horrible … The bank’s been, for some time, concerned about it for the safety of our customers and our employees,” said Allen, FNB president and CEO, whose Dixie Lee Junction branch is located right along the Hwy. 11-70 split.

“That building has been hit twice by vehicles, the last time was maybe a year ago to two years ago,” Allen added.

Both building collision accidents involved motorists going too fast heading east on Hwy. 11 toward Farragut, unable to negotiate the curve approaching the intersection, according to Allen.

The most recent accident “happened at night when there was no one there. But if there had been someone there, it would have been a tragedy,” Allen said. “It hit on the front wall closest to the highway. We had to replace the furniture inside. It caved in a wall into an office. … I would say approximately $50,000 [in damage].”After the most recent accident, FNB erected “guard rails” around the building’s side facing the highways “to protect the building and people there,” Allen said.

For customers leaving FNB, “It is almost impossible and turn and go back to Knoxville,” Allen said. “You can, but it’s really difficult.”

Leslie Lett is owner of Copies ’N More, 19234 Hwy. 11 E, whose business has had three homes south along the curve, which leads directly to and from the intersection, since 2005.

“I would definitely like to see improvements,” Lett said. “I know it’s very dangerous right there in the curve.  

“I actually used to be in that building at the curve [19452 Kingston Pike],” Lett added about the most recent home of Destination Motorcycles that is now unoccupied.

Despite being at that location only “four to five months,” Lett said, “There were several screeching-halt cars. A couple of accidents that I actually witnessed.”

Copies ’N More then moved west to 12762 until “about two years ago” when moving to its current 19234 home, Lett said.

“Something needs to be done as soon as possible,” she added.

Tennessee Department of Transportation released a Transportation Planning Report in June 2010 identifying three possible options to improve the intersection.

However, no timetable for approving these or any other construction options has been given by TDOT, according to Jeff Welch, executive director of Regional Transportation Planning Organization.