Northshore Corridor friends,
At last. It’s here! Drum roll…
The long awaited study of Northshore Drive traffic issues has been released by the TPO(Transportation Planning Organization).
One of our diligent volunteers snagged the presentation on CTV for us and had this summary comment:
“As everybody knows there are serious traffic congestion issues and many dangerous areas all along Northshore Dr. A total overhaul of Northshore is really not feasible, but would cost at least $100 million, so we know that won’t ever happen.”
The study analyzed 10 intersections from the Lakeshore/Rocky Hill area to Concord. We have attached it here for your bedtime reading. Each troublesome intersection is evaluated and suggested improvements are detailed.
Not to be a spoiler but, realizing you may not have the time for reading and working to understand the full lengthy document, we recommend going to the end for the actual bottom line most of us seek-
Will the improvements happen and when? Bottom line. Funding for much or most of the proposed work does not currently exist, costs are based on 2020 prices. (A few things have changed since then?) Acquiring funding and approvals will require the cooperation of numerous entities and then there is an acquisition of rights of way process. One suggested source of funding is developers who are contributing to the traffic build-up.
(It appears that the Northshore Drive part of the study predates the demise of the proposed Post Oak Bend development and improvements, specifically the addition of a traffic signal would have been dependent on some level of developer funding (typically a negotiated percentage of actual costs.) Hmmm.
Here we go…
3.6 Northshore Drive and Tooles Bend Road
The unsignalized intersection of Northshore Drive and Tooles Bend Road currently operates at acceptable LOS during both peak hours for existing and future conditions. However, the northbound approach of Tooles Bend Road operates at LOS E and LOS F during the PM peak hour under existing and future conditions, respectively. The increase in vehicular delay under future conditions is largely due to the planned development to the south as well as increased volumes expected along Northshore Drive, making it difficult for vehicles to turn onto the corridor from Tooles Bend Road. However, because the approach is stop controlled along a high-volume arterial, the poor LOS is not unexpected. Knox County is currently working with a private development located along Tooles Bend Road regarding improvements at the intersection of Northshore Drive and Tooles Bend Road, specifically the likely installation of a traffic signal. Therefore, further mitigation of existing operational deficiencies is not recommended as part of this study. Consistent with the other study locations, the Knox County Greenway Corridor Study does recommend a 10-foot greenway be constructed on the south side of Northshore Drive through this intersection.
From the study. Conclusion:
4.0 Cost Estimates and Implementation Timeframes
Following the identification of recommended improvements at each of the 10 study intersections, planning level cost estimates were developed using TDOT’s cost estimation tool. This spreadsheet tool utilizes regionally specific unit prices to estimate costs for the various project elements including preliminary engineering and design, ROW acquisition, utility relocation, and construction. Based on this tool, Table 4-1 shows the estimated cost for the improvements at each intersection in 2020 dollars. The timeframe for implementing these recommended improvements is dependent on many factors, many of which relate to the need for funding. As shown, many of these improvements will necessitate acquisition of right-of-way and/or the relocation of utilities, both of which can take significant time, money, and coordination. However, future development and redevelopment along the corridor creates the opportunity for cost sharing between private developers and the public implementing agencies. Given these factors, the City of Knoxville, Knox County, and TDOT should work to prioritize and ultimately implement these recommendations with consideration for existing deficiencies, timing of future development, funding availability, and constructability.
For those who want it all: