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Sain & TDOT Work to Improve Traffic Flow and Safety

Building Alabama

By: Richard Holt, P.E, M.ASCE, Sain Associates


The Tennessee Department of Transportation has a plan to improve traffic flow and safety for the corridor between I-40 and Clarkrange, Tennessee; a distance of approximately 13 miles.  The corridor consists of four different segments assigned to design consultants.  Sain Associates is preparing roadway design plans for the second segment within the corridor from near Potato Farm Road to near Hollow Lane for a distance of approximately 2.5 miles.

The original plan was to design a four-lane highway.  The typical section would consist of 12-foot travel lanes, 12-foot graded shoulders of which 10 feet would be paved, a 48-foot depressed median, and roadside ditches.

The project was re-evaluated by a technical report to evaluate the safety, operational and geometric conditions.  It was determined the existing two-lane facility was capable of handling both the current traffic volumes and projected traffic demands. Existing geometric deficiencies and safety concerns, however, warranted upgrading and improving the existing roadway.  Deficiencies include substandard lane and shoulder widths, insufficient clear zones, sharp curves and inadequate stopping and passing sight distances.  The technical report recommended re-construction of an improved two-lane facility with 12-foot graded shoulders (including 10 feet as paved) and roadside ditches.  This will be an “interim” solution until future traffic demands warrant construction of the ultimate four-lane facility with a 48’ depressed median and roadside ditches.



Sain Associates has completed development of preliminary plans and is now preparing right-of-way plans. TDOT’s strategy is to establish the required right-of-way necessary to contain the future “ultimate” cross section to avoid impacting property owners with a future second round of right-of-way acquisition.

Sain Associates recently conducted a Design Public Meeting.  The purpose of the meeting was to provide the public with up to date information on the project, display preliminary plans and address comments / concerns regarding the project.  The meeting provided the public an opportunity to interact with Sain Associates and TDOT staff to review maps of impacted structures and properties and to provide written or oral comments / concerns to TDOT.

Once the public comments / concerns are addressed by TDOT and Sain Associates, the right-of-way plans will be finalized and submitted to TDOT.  TDOT will then utilize the right-of-way plans for property appraisals and acquisitions, which are presently scheduled to occur in spring and summer of 2019.  Final construction plan preparation is scheduled to begin in early 2020 with construction anticipated to begin during spring of 2021.




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