Shaw Ferry Road intersection improvements move forward

Mary E. Hinds News Herald

After years of appeals to the Tennessee Department Of Transportation (TDOT), and several accidents, the state agency may be ready to get moving on improvements at the intersection of Shaw Ferry Road and Highway 11. The improvements will include left turn lanes on all four approaches, line of site improvements and red lights.

The intersection of Shaw Ferry and Highway 11 has been characterized as one of the more dangerous intersections in the county. It has been the site of several serious accidents and at least two fatalities. Representatives of the county have been waiting for TDOT to get moving on the project and, according to County Commissioner Wayne Gardin, they have. "I just talked to TDOT. Everything is go," Gardin said on Thursday. "They have all the engineering work done. They will advertise for the bids Friday (Jan. 8) and they will award the bids the first week of February and the rest depends on the weather," he added.

Caution lights and rumble strips are currently in place at the intersection. Gardin, who represents the Sixth District where the intersection is located, said he has stayed in contact with TDOT for updates. 

In July 2009 the Loudon County Commission voted to approve two resolutions to get the project up and running. Drivers and local leaders have long maintained the problem with the intersection is the blind hill on Highway 11. Anyone attempting to turn from Shaw Ferry Road is unable to see the cars until the top of the hill, at times too late to stop an accident from happening. 

The first resolution passed by the county commission contained the standard agreement for the county to give TDOT the land needed and to take any necessary steps to move any utilities or anything else not connected with the highway. It also included provisions for the project's drainage and maintenance of the road frontage. The commission approved a second resolution to be sent to Tennessee Transportation Commissioner Gerald Nicely. The agreement was for the county to take responsibility for lights on the road, to pay the electric bill for those lights and do standard maintenance. 

Gardin said the news that the intersection's update was moving forward was welcomed. "It is progressing and the money is there," he said.