State Rep. Susan Lynn announced Thursday she worked with the Tennessee Department of Transportation during the last several months to secure new signage to better alert drivers of the safest, quickest and most secure route to Providence Marketplace from Interstate 40 eastbound.
On Wednesday, TDOT officials confirmed they have made the decision to move forward with the new signage that will highlight exit 226C as the exit where mall traffic should exit.
The new signs will soon be placed along exits 226 A, B and C. It will indicate exit 226C is the direct route for mall traffic. This will discourage mall goers from using exit 226A, which requires drivers to cross three entire lanes of southbound traffic to turn onto Providence Way – creating a dangerous situation for all drivers involved.
In addition to the road remedy, Lynn, R-Mt. Juliet, also spoke with TDOT concerning two additional issues.
The first was a discussion regarding complaints about standing water on I-40 east by the recreation league fields. Though the area is still under construction, complaints are rainwater is pooling in this area during inclement weather.
As construction draws to its conclusion, repaving will soon take place, and Lynn wanted to make sure everyone was aware the grading issue exists.
“TDOT officials were very appreciative and will immediately investigate this issue with the contractor,” said Lynn.
Still another issue discussed during the meeting with TDOT concerned creating a solution to ease the traffic congestion at Providence and I-40. Currently there are two northbound lanes in front of Providence, but upon crossing over the highway, the left lane suddenly turns into a westbound entrance for I-40.
“This surprises drivers and frustrates other drivers in the right lane,” said Lynn. “Another problem is the long line of traffic that collects on Providence Way while waiting for the light at Mt. Juliet Road.
After discussing the issues and potential solutions, an idea was settled upon that may actually solve three separate problems. Pending the results of a traffic study, exit 226B could be straightened in order to align it with the current I-40 eastbound entrance on-ramp.
A signal would also be added to control the exiting traffic from 226B. Eliminating the clover leaf, which currently allows traffic to flow onto Mt. Juliet Road northbound at will, would free up an entire lane so that both northbound lanes of traffic in front of Providence could continue to freely flow north on Mt. Juliet Road; instead of the left lane becoming an I-40 eastbound turning lane as it is now.
Finally, the proposed changes would also allow two turning lanes from Providence Way onto Mt. Juliet Road northbound, easing the long line of traffic that collects here waiting to turn north onto Mt. Juliet Road.
“City Manager Kenny Martin is owed a great deal of credit for suggesting so many possibilities in a recent letter to TDOT concerning the issues at Providence and I-40,” said Lynn. “In addition, our officials at TDOT are some of the finest state employees we have, and they have my great respect for their knowledge and ideas, and for the interest they show in working to solve our road issues. Free-flowing roads improve our quality of life and advantage our businesses. Thankfully, TDOT officials agree with this fact and are helping us remedy these important situations.”
Lynn is chairman of the House Consumer and Human Resources Committee. She lives in Mt. Juliet and represents District 57, which encompasses a portion of Wilson County.