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County creating its first-ever traffic plan

Washington County’s first Transportation Development Study will provide recommendations for a long-range road improvement and installation strategy by identifying current deficiencies and projecting future needs based on land use, growth and infrastructure.
“We hope to have enough information to know what we need to do in the next 25 years,” Highway Superintendent Johnny Deakins said.
The study is divided into a Boones Creek/Gray subarea and a Large Study subarea of the remaining unincorporated sections of the county, including the Limestone industrial area.
“We used State Route 81 as a divider,” Deakins said. “Both studies will be looked at, and then we will tie them together.”
According to Deakins, the study will provide information on current and future growth in the county.
“They’re just starting to release the 2010 census numbers, which will tell us where we think the growth will be,” he said. “We will look at what is available for businesses and residents, and what roads will be needed. There may be large areas we don’t have access to (currently) because there is no road.”
Deakins said the Highway Department is being proactive while the country waits for the economy to recover.
“It’s time to improve the roads before (new) construction rather than after,” he said.
The study was requested through the Johnson City Metropolitan Transportation Planning Organization, which has worked on numerous highway and public transportation projects in the region, including the Interstate-181/Interstate-26 corridor project.
The MPTO is part of the statewide and national network of Metropolitan Planning Organizations established to deliver and manage transportation programs on a regional basis.
Deakins is a member of the executive staff, made up of chief administrative officials of jurisdictions and agencies that are involved in transportation planning activities.
The Tennessee Department of Transportation is managing the project and has chosen The Corradino Group in Louisville, Ky., as the consultant.
The state has approved funding of up to $200,000 for the study, which began in August 2011. Deakins said the study is expected to be completed by September.
The following tasks were assigned to the consultant:
Evaluate and analyze existing state routes and local roads for deficiencies
Evaluate and analyze possible east-west connectors in the Boones Creek and Gray communities
Review existing land-use and infrastructure needs to determine future transportation needs
Identify developable areas in the study region
Analyze the impacts and demands these areas will place on infrastructure
Make recommendations for transportation improvements based on the analysis of transportation deficiencies, infrastructure needs and land use data
The land use analysis will review property data, infrastructure, including the availability and capacity of water, sewer, electric utilities, the availability of developable land, topographic issues and other relevant data. The consultant also will provide projected traffic data for the year 2015 and the year 2035.
“We’re looking at everything,” Deakins said.