Officials address traffic concerns near two Bradley Co. schools
BRADLEY COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -
Officials in Bradley County are concerned about student safety in front of two Bradley County schools. Crashes are relatively frequent near Walker Valley High School, and traffic backups are inevitable at Hopewell Elementary.
Administrators at both schools are aware of the traffic concerns, and are doing their best to deal with them until permanent fixes can happen. In the meantime, they are reminding students and parents to be safe.
"It's just a known fact that you just avoid this area if you want to get somewhere in a hurry," said Renee Pearson, who lives just a half mile from Hopewell Elementary.
Every day, Pearson arrives at least 30 minutes before her granddaughter gets out of school. Otherwise, she says, drivers get "stuck in the road" for a long time.
"Traffic can be pretty hideous here sometimes. It's backed up in the road both ways, so you don't dare come this way," she explained.
"With us being so close to Highway 60, it causes a little bit more of a problem with congestion," said Principal Tim Riggs.
The Bradley County School Board hired a company to conduct a traffic study to come up with ideas for alleviating major backups during school dismissal times. According to Riggs, less students are riding the bus compared to years past.
"More parents are wanting to bring their kids, and that's fine. We just have to try to figure out a good plan for it," he said.
While the traffic jams at Hopewell are inconvenient, officials at TDOT say that one intersection near another Bradley County school is dangerous.
In the last four years, there have been 29 wrecks in front of Walker Valley High School, at the intersection of Lauderdale Memorial Highway and Walker Valley Road. According to the safety report, all of them happened on school days and 20 of the drivers involved were 15-19 years old.
"We're asking students to please, please slow down. Pay attention, watch when you're making a turn. Let your focus be the road," said WVHS Principal Nat Akiona.
While there hasn't been a crash since school resumed this year, teachers are reminding students to be cautious until changes can be made.
"We want to make sure that they arrive safely, and that they arrive back home safely," Akiona said.
TDOT recommends installing more signs and even overhead flashing lights at the intersection near WVHS, which could cost close to $100,000. If the state lists the project in its final safety report, the project could be in line for federal safety funding.