Wednesday, June 20, 2012
A new Tri-Community Fire Department is coming to the intersection of Mountain View and Blanche roads in Ooltewah, but residents are concerned about the potential for added problems at the already difficult intersection.
“We’re glad to have them so close to us,” said Ooltewah resident Jerry Healey of the new fire station. “But the main concern we have is that we’ve had so many fatalities at the intersection, and everyone is hoping they’d put a signal out there.”
According to Hamilton County Communication Manager Mike Dunne there was one fatality at the intersection in 2009, but there have not been anymore since flashing beacons were implemented and the speed limit decreased later that year. There have been seven vehicle crashes since that implementation and a total of 39 vehicle crashes at the intersection on record since 2001, he said.
With the existing traffic on the road, a new elementary school coming to the area and the abundance of neighborhoods near the intersection, Healey said he and his neighbors do not want to see any more fatalities at the intersection.
“It’s a nasty intersection if you’re trying to make a right or left turn out of there,” he said.
Todd Leamon, a traffic engineer for Hamilton County, said plans to revamp the intersection are in the works but will probably take several years to complete.
“We are waiting to get contracts from TDOT on that ,” he said. “As part of the TIP [Transportation Improvement Project] it will allow us to receive 80 percent state funding on the project, but there are certain processes we have to go through with that.”
Those processes will determine whether a red light or roundabout is placed at the intersection and when it will be implemented. In the meantime, he said a reduced speed limit of 40 mph and flashing beacons have significantly improved traffic .
“It’s important just to slow down,” he said. “If you’re driving the posted speed limit, it’s much safer.”
The Tri-Community Fire Department can be reached at 396-3113.