City studies Hwy 58 intersection after two fatalities - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

City studies Hwy 58 intersection after two fatalities

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One week after a Harrison Elementary substitute teacher was killed in a wreck on Highway 58, the city is studying what went wrong and how to prevent more wrecks.

The city's traffic engineers do this after every fatality but this is the second death at the Highway 58 and Champion Road this month alone.

What, if anything, needs to be done?

City Traffic Engineer John Van Winkle said he's looking at ways to improve the intersection, be it better visibility, slower speed, or a new traffic light, among other solutions.

"If there are other things that can be done, we should do them. Regardless of if we install a signal," said Van Winkle.

Van Winkle said the study may prove the wrecks are out of the city and state's control, like bad driving, speeding, not yielding, or drinking and driving. But if he finds a trend, then a traffic light isn't out of the question. But it's not ideal either.

"Not on a state highway like this. We've got enough traffic lights. It's the people, it's the individuals," said Hwy 58 Business Owner Larry Garner.

Highway 58 Business Owner Larry Garner said it's not the road, it's the lead-foot drivers and that adding a traffic light would only cause more problems.

"Probably be a lot of people running that red light at the bottom of the hill. It's a lot of people coming down the hill, there's a hill both ways coming to it," he said.

Van Winkle agreed, saying that adding a light could come with a catch.

"It is more restrictive on traffic flow. We're stopping a lot of people on Highway 58 that could lead to accidents. People stopping and getting plowed into by people going 55mph," Van Winkle said.

Van Winkle didn't provide a date on when that study might be complete and solutions provided. Because 58 is a state route, TDOT will also be involved in discussions with the city upon the study's completion.

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