Skip to content Skip to left sidebar Skip to right sidebar Skip to footer

Work begins to fix traffic issue near Justice Center

A road construction project intended to improve safety along a busy part of Highway 11E is now under way.
In November 2011, Jonesborough Mayor Kelly Wolfe began publicly discussing the need to make changes to the traffic flow in the area around the George P. Jaynes Justice Center, which opened in 2009.
“There’s a problem already there and it continues to get worse,” Wolfe said during a 2011 meeting with county leaders. “I think it’s important we change something before someone gets killed.”
The largest problem is at the intersection of the highway with North Cherokee Street, which runs along the east side of the Justice Center.
With increased traffic in and around the Justice Center, North Cherokee Street is being used by many motorists who are leaving the facility heading to Johnson City. Those drivers are exiting the Justice Center parking lot onto North Cherokee, then attempting to make left turns onto 11E.
Many times, drivers have to drive across the westbound lanes of traffic, then wait in the median until they can pull into eastbound traffic to head toward Johnson City.
Several traffic crashes have occurred at the intersection, some of which caused serious injuries, according to authorities.
After a year of discussion and planning, town leaders, last October, received a permit from the Tennessee Department of Transportation to go ahead with their proposed road improvements.
Town crews went to work last week to make those improvements. The plan involves the elimination of left turns off of North Cherokee onto 11E, instead requiring drivers to exit the Justice Center via the Second Avenue exit where a traffic light was installed to accommodate traffic from the facility. The median will also be narrowed some to allow drivers on 11E more visibility when making turns from the median.
Leaders hope to have the project, which is expected to cost less than $15,000, completed in a couple of weeks.