The long-awaited traffic light that is scheduled to be installed at the intersection of Lafayette’s Ellington Drive and the Highway 52 Bypass is on the horizon.
“I’ve been told that the traffic light will be installed in late spring to summer,” Macon County Mayor Steve Jones said.
The traffic light — which will assist vehicles traveling to and from Walgreens and Tractor Supply Company — has been in the discussion and approval stages by the state for multiple years, with Jones, former Lafayette Mayor Richard Driver and current Lafayette Mayor Jerry Wilmore working to get the project to go through.
Jones is hopeful that the traffic light will include a turning signal, though that was not initially approved.
“It wasn’t going to have a left turn signal,” Jones said. “There are turning lanes there. We’re asking for them to be included there.
“It’s being designed to where it can be installed later. I feel that it’s needed now. I feel like it’s going to be dangerous for traffic to turn left when other traffic has been given the green light.”
Turning lanes are a concern in other areas of the city of Lafayette as well.
That was one of the points of emphasis that Jones recently discussed with Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) officials.
“Mayor Wilmore and I went down and met with Kelly Kiesling,” Jones said. “Kelly Kiesling got me a meeting with Paul Diggs (the chief enginer for TDOT). Mr. Diggs is very courteous. The three things I was concerned about was that we’re not getting Highway 10 South (restructured) in the near future. I’m wanting them (TDOT) to do repairs. There’s several places on the rises on Highway 10 that are breaking down. I’ve asked to get those
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repaired. Then, we’d like to get a good coat of pavement from the Trousdale County line up Highway 10, get it paved around the square and out Highway 10 North out to Ellington Drive.
“No. 2 would be, with the growth we’re having on the east side of town, getting a turning lane from Days Road to Days Road (which loops and connects at two points on the Highway 52 Bypass). We have the new Dollar Geeneral that’s been built there. The county is in the process of increasing the size of the jail and justice center, which is going to add more traffic. Then, we’re looking at adding a new elementary school there. We’ve asked for that to be made into four lanes with a turning lane. Then, No. 3 … they’re installing the traffic light at Tractor Supply.”
However, here is a process to undergo before the Highway 52 Bypass could be expanded with a turning lane.
“There has to be studies done on everything,” Jones said. “Hopefully, the next step will be the turning lane. The whole issue with the turning lane on the bypass is the shoulders. If the shoulders will withstand traffic, it’s just a matter of putting a coat of pavement and restriping it. If it doesn’t withstand traffic, that’s a whole different issue for the state.”