The Tennessee Department of Transportation will conduct a public hearing on plans for construction of a roundabout traffic circle at the Five Points intersection of Highway 81 South, Old State Route 34, and Depot Street, from 5 to 7 p.m. Jan. 17 at the Jonesborough Visitors Center.
Dwight Armstrong with the TDOT Project Management Office in Knoxville said the meeting will include a short presentation on the project’s design and how it was selected, followed by a public question and answer session with representatives of TDOT and Clinard Engineering Associates, a private consulting firm based in Brentwood.
The meeting will be followed by break out sessions in which TDOT representatives and engineers will meet privately with any individual property owners or others interested in learning more about the project.
“The design is limited in scope. It’s a typical roundabout with a bypass lane,” Armstrong said. “We are always open to pubic input but our focus will be to present the plan we have in place to address safety concerns at that intersection.
“It’s an informational hearing to introduce the roundabout and how it functions and the safety concerns it will address.”
Jonesborough Town Administrator Bob Browning said, because of its design and layout, Five Points has the largest percentage of accidents with injuries of any intersection in Jonesborough and the town is anxious to see the improvements made.
“We’re very appreciative to TDOT for moving forward with it,” Browning said. “Traffic circles in themselves slow traffic down. That’s not to say you do not have accidents but the risk of injuries is much less than if you’re T-boned at 50 or 60 mph. We feel its the right thing for Five Points.”
Armstrong said construction of the roundabout will impact a total of five property owners at the intersection, including the decades-old Five Point Grocery. “The impact to four of the property owners will be minimal but Five Points Grocery will have to acquired, the building and about a quarter of an acre,” he said.
Kelly Street, owner and operator of the landmark store, said she does not plan to relocate the business. “The state appraiser was at Five Points in October. We’re not going to relocate. So I’m all done,” she said. “What happens from here on out should be very interesting.”