Jonesborough project intended to turn around town's tangled traffic issue

Jessica Fuller • Mar 7, 2018 at 11:34 PM

Officials say a road project to improve traffic flow at the intersection of U.S. Highway 11E and Boones Creek Road in Jonesborough could be finished in a couple of months depending on weather conditions.

The $2 million state highway project began in October in an effort to correct a years-long problem at the intersection, Jonesborough town operations manager Craig Ford said. At peak traffic times, motorists turning left from 11E onto Boones Creek Road fill the capacity of the left turn lane, pushing cars waiting to make that turn into the thru-lane on the highway, sometimes as far back as Burger King, a quarter mile from the intersection.

Ford said the town tried extending the left turn light as long as possible to remedy the issue, but peak traffic times still caused a lot of congestion through the intersection, so the town appealed to the Department of Transportation to add a dual left-turn lane to Boones Creek Road.

“We have 35,000 cars a day passing through 11E and 12,000 through Main Street,” Ford noted, “Sometimes we have a difficult time processing that traffic and so much of it.”

Another arm of the project includes widening the portion of Boones Creek Road that runs by McDonald’s and Tractor Supply to Forest Road, giving motorists enough time to merge once they’re on Boones Creek Road.

For the time being, Ford said that motorists who are trying to get to the shops at 507 Boones Creek Road are encouraged to use the second entrance to the shopping center next to Tractor Supply, as too many vehicles trying to turn into the first left into the center could back traffic into the intersection and cause traffic problems.

In addition to the dual turn lanes and widened Boones Creek Road, Ford said that the lane on Boones Creek Road that currently merges right onto 11E toward Greeneville will also be eliminated in favor of a lane with a right-turn signal.

“We have a tremendous amount of rear-end accidents right at that merge lane,” he said.

Mark Nagi, Region 1 communications director for the Tennessee Department of Transportation, said that right now the project has a projected completion date of May 31.

Email Jessica Fuller at jfuller@johnsoncitypress.com. Follow Jessica on Twitter @fullerjf91. Like her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jfullerJCP.

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