Traffic growth plan in place for VW, Amazon - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Traffic growth plan in place for VW, Amazon

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By Callie Starnes
Eyewitness News Reporter

CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) - No matter the time of day, drivers along Bonny Oaks Drive say traffic is nothing short of a bad dream.

"It's a nightmare," said driver Josh Nelson, "It's just always congested, and it just doesn't seem to get any better."

According to traffic growth maps, Bonny Oaks Drive would serve as the only way in and out of Enterprise South for trucks carrying Amazon merchandise.

Covenant Transport hopes to win the bid, and serve the retail giant.

"They are a customer of ours already," said Mark Pare, Senior Vice President of Sales, "we look forward to any opportunity to expand that business."

With bigger business, comes more traffic.

"We are not going to have that future traffic volume happen all at once," said John Van Winkle, Chattanooga Traffic Engineer, "It's going to be a gradual process, and we are hopeful that we can stay ahead of that."

At the advice of a traffic study, conducted earlier this year, the city has already added roundabouts and traffic lights.

The study was conducted in February and helped lure Volkswagen to Chattanooga. Van Winkles says the same model is being used in negotiations with Amazon.

The daunting task of widening Bonny Oaks Drive will be up to the Tennessee Department of Transportation. The project is not on TDOT's priority list as of yet.

"The city is making every effort to try to push it forward, so it can get done sooner than later,"said Van Winkle.

A TDOT representative told Eyewitness News the state will decide in January if the Bonny Oaks project is a top priority.

If it is, the state will study how to best improve the road.

It could be three to five years before construction begins on Bonny Oaks Drive.

Until then, Van Winkle says the city continues to make adjustments to get ahead of the traffic surge coming.

Josh Nelson says he can manage a longer commute, if it means his community winning another big business.

"I'd rather deal with the hassle and still have the jobs in this area," said Nelson.

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