Drivers leaving Oak Ridge for Route 15 South may finally get some relief from the morning rush hour traffic problem with the possible addition of a second left-turn lane. However, it could cause drivers coming in the opposite direction more time.
Jefferson Township business administrator James Leach spoke to state Department of Transportation (DOT) representatives when they attended a recent meeting regarding another matter.
“I got them to agree to revisit the situation at 15 and Berkshire Valley Road,” Leach said.
The configuration currently allows only one lane to make the left from Berkshire Valley Road west to Route 15 South. The proposed new configuration would allow for drivers in the right lane to also turn left onto the highway.
However, under the proposed plan, Leach said, drivers would no longer be allowed to cross Route 15 going east on Berkshire Valley Road toward Oak Ridge, or turn left onto Route 15 North. Instead, they would have to go right onto Route 15 South, make a U-turn at Phipps Road and come back north on Route 15.
“It’s a case of solving one problem and creating another, but we have to do something about that intersection with people going onto 15 South,” Jefferson Township Mayor Russell Felter said. “The traffic gets backed up way too far in the morning.”
Leach must present the DOT with a Problem Statement regarding the intersection, which the council authorized him to do through a resolution at Wednesday night's meeting.
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