Mary E. Hinds News Herald
begins, some county residents are questioning why the long
sought improvements to the intersection at Shaw Ferry Road and
Highway 11 have yet to begin, but plans for the intersection
update are moving forward, albeit slowly.
officials, the improvements would include left turn lanes on all
four approaches, line of site improvements and red lights.
In June, the
Loudon County Commission voted to approve two resolutions to get
the project up and running. The intersection has been the site
of accidents and concern for neighborhood residents for years.
After two decades the state has agreed to fix the dangerous
Loudon County intersection.
Drivers and local leaders have long maintained the problem with
the intersection is the blind hill on Highway 11.
to turn from Shaw Ferry Road is unable to see the cars until
they top the hill, which may be too late to stop an accident
Many elected officials have worked to keep the intersection on
the state's to do list by trying to get the Tennessee Department
of Transportation (TDOT) to fix the problem. Despite the
installation of caution lights and rumble strips accidents are
still occuring. County officials and State Representatives
Dennis Ferguson and Jimmy Matlock have continued to push for the
state to make the improvements.
County Commissioner Wayne Gardin, who has been one of the most
vocal and persistent advocates for fixing the intersection
before more people are injured, said he is in constant contact
with state officials to make sure the project is moving forward.
Gardin said the people he's spoken with at TDOT have told him
requests for bids for the project will be sent out in November
and should be back by February 2010. From what Gardin has heard
from state officials, he anticipates the project will be
completed by March 2010.
While Gardin said he would like TDOT to move more quickly, he
confirmed he is closely monitoring the process. "They kind of
led us to believe it would be done this past March but that
didn't happen," he said. Gardin said the delays are not unusual
for TDOT and he cited the time consuming process of putting the
contracts out for bids and the need to have utility companies
move power lines and water lines.
The first resolution passed by the county commission in June
contained the standard agreement for the county to give TDOT the
land needed, the county's agreement to take any necessary steps
to move any utilities or anything else not connected with
highway drainage for the project, to maintain the road frontage,
to give any land owned by the county for right of ways or
easements and to take responsibility for maintenance. The
county commission, after being assured there would be no
additional county money involved, voted to approve the first
The commission also approved a second resolution to be sent to
Tennessee Transportation Commissioner Gerald Nicely. This
resolution was the usual agreement for the county to take
responsibility for lights on the road, to pay the electric bill
for those lights and do standard maintenance.
County Mayor Doyle Arp said he had a recent meeting with TDOT
officials cancelled but "It is my understanding that the bids
will be let on that in November."
Gardin said his most recent conversation with TDOT officials had
the timetable set back a bit with bids not being let until after
the new year.
The process has been progressing for years. In 2005, the
commission voted to appropriate the required 20 percent match,
up to $144,000 in funding to realign and make necessary
improvements to the intersection of Shaw Ferry Road and Highway
11. At that time, the state's engineering study estimated the
cost of the project at $720,000. The county was assured by TDOT
if the county would appropriate the required 20 percent match,
TDOT would supply the additional funds needed to fix the
intersection. Despite the long, involved process of getting
TDOT on the project, Gardin said he is confident the fix is
going to occur. "It is moving forward according to what they've
told me and I call them every two weeks," he said.