Maryville City School board hears report on new school traffic patterns

Construction on Maryville’s new intermediate school has been waiting on the results of a traffic survey that was released at the school board meeting on Monday.

Civil engineers from Wilbur Smith Associates laid out their recommendation on entrances to the school from neighborhood roads and access from Sevierville Road.

The survey calls for a minimum 250-foot left turn lane and a 200-foot right turn lane on Sevierville Road, installation of school warning signals with pavement markings, zone flashers with a 25-mph speed limit and sidewalks on both sides of Sevierville Road.

Around the neighborhood, the survey suggests for Kittrell Avenue to be widened, improve sight distance on Burchfield Street by 100 feet, remove obstruction to improve visibility on Kittrell Avenue, place sidewalks at all entrances to the school and allow use of Hilltop Drive as a load and unload zone for parents and students.

These recommendations were designed for the intermediate school that will see around 450 cars entering each morning and afternoon. Barry Brooke, executive vice president of commercial development and management firm Lawler-Wood, said this is the “best option we came up with.”

Brooke said the next step is to do a more “detailed study” on traffic and then apply for the permits to start road construction. Johnson Architecture’s project manager Kristin Grove agreed with Brooke, saying this traffic decision was the best, considering all possibilities.

Most of the audience’s concerns were with their own property. Many live in the neighborhood surrounding the school, and they said they do not want children walking through their property, and they do not want people parking cars outside their homes.

Maryville Director of Schools Stephanie Thompson said the traffic outside the homes will account for 20 percent of the total vehicles coming onto the property, and that traffic would only be there for 30 minutes in the morning and the afternoon. She said the board will consider placing gates at the entrances to the school to deflect more traffic.

“Because of the experts that have really looked at (the traffic), we feel that this is our best option right now,” Thompson said. “I’m sorry that it is going to impact those people on Hilltop, but if it’s not Hilltop, it is one of the Indian Roads. We realize this is going to be an impact, but we will try to minimize the impact by closing (or) by gating (entrances) at times that they do not need to be opened.”

Only one person stood up and publicly supported the plans for the traffic changed. Jessica Offermann has two sons, J.T. and Otto, who will attend the new school. “We moved to Maryville for the school system, and I know we have different perspectives on (the traffic plans) but I’m excited for my kids,” Offermann said. Leaving the meeting, she said that everyone seems to have forgotten that this new school is about the children.

Grading on the school will begin later this month or in September and foundation work is scheduled to begin in October, Brooke said. He suggested further comments and complaints need to be directed to the Tennessee Department of Transportation as they will issue the permits.

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