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Persimmon Ridge Road in need of more improvements

Improvements to both ends of Persimmon Ridge Road are being considered by the Tennessee Department of Transportation.
The installation of a traffic light by TDOT at Persimmon Ridge Road and Highway 11E last year was a much needed safety upgrade; however the lines that were painted at the intersection appear to be causing issues.
“(TDOT) viewed it as a problem,” said Bob Browning, town administrator. “They couldn’t exactly figure out why it was striped the way it was.”
As the lines on Persimmon Ridge Road currently lay, tractor trailers coming from Greeneville are unable to make a right turn onto Persimmon Ridge Road without traveling either onto the shoulder of the road or into oncoming traffic.
“I’ve had to back up a few times for trucks,” said Jimmy Rhein, a member of Jonesborough’s Traffic Advisory Committee.
The town has also received complaints regarding drivers turning left onto Persimmon Ridge Road from 11E. According to Browning, those motorists often cut the turn too short and end up driving across the wrong lanes of traffic when they get onto Persimmon Ridge Road.
TDOT is now considering moving the yellow line on Persimmon Ridge Road approximately 5 feet to the east in order to widen the single southbound lane as much as possible.
A dotted line will also be painted on 11E to guide drivers turning left onto Persimmon Ridge Road.
Meanwhile, town leaders recently met with TDOT officials to discuss a possible partnership for an improvement project at the other end of Persimmon Ridge Road.
“This is trying to straighten out that odd- angle turn on Persimmon Ridge at West Main Street,” Browning said.
TDOT has a design proposal that would fix the intersection and incorporate both a traffic light and retaining wall.
The project cost of $400,000. It’s a price TDOT isn’t willing to pay for on its own and town leaders say is too expensive.
“If we cut the cost in half, (TDOT) feels they can get it funded through a Spot Safety Grant,” Browning noted.
By eliminating the traffic signal and retaining wall, Browning said the project cost would drop to somewhere around $200,000.
In order to do that, though, the town will have to work with Peggy Cloyd, whose property abuts the intersection on the west side.
“The Cloyds who live on that corner have always been advocates of doing something to improve the intersection,” Browning said.
The town is proposing a partnership with TDOT in which town staff reshapes the Cloyd property to eliminate the need for the retaining wall and also handles the grading work for the project.
TDOT crews would then come in to straighten the intersection.
The project is one more step in the town’s ongoing efforts to improve traffic flow in and around Jonesborough.