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Intersection continues to puzzle motorists
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A long-standing traffic problem at the intersection where Morrison Street meets West Main Street is back in the spotlight. Being a state route, the solution will be up to the Tennessee Department of Transportation.
McMinnville Safety Committee members Jimmy Bonner, Mike Neal and Rick Barnes met to consider the situation.
“I know there used to be an island sitting in the middle that said who had the right of way and who had to yield,” said Bonner. “It was removed years ago.”
Motorist coming from Morrison Street have the right of way in the right lane, and motorists on West Main Street have the right of way in the left lane. Bonner says attempts to immediately merge into the opposite lane at the intersection is creating a problem.
“I think we need something in the middle of the road that says who should yield,” he said. “When they crisscross, they are cutting people off.”
Prior members of the Safety Committee also considered what to do about the intersection approximately two years ago. Being a state route, the city discovered it has no control over signage and the situation was sent to TDOT.
At the time, TDOT offered to install 3-foot delineators for a short distance to encourage motorists to stay in their lanes until they are past the intersection.
Brock says they are still willing to install delineators, but the installation will be a temporary fix.
“I talked to TDOT today and they said they would put them up,” said Brock. “They will last probably until the first car runs over them and breaks them off, which will happen pretty quick. They are flexible as long as you don’t hit them with your tire. If you hit them with your tire, it will snap them.”
The state also offered to put reflectors on the street and additional signage to require motorists to stay in the appropriate lane, says Brock.
One sign proposal under consideration would require motorists on Morrison Street to keep in the right lane for 300 feet past the intersection, and motorists on West Main Street to keep in the left lane for 300 feet.
Brock says the signage will likely be ignored by motorists, but will be a useful tool in determining who caused an accident when someone merges into the other lane before the 300-foot restriction.
According to McMinnville Police Department records, there have been two wrecks at the intersection in the last two years.
Police Chief Bryan Denton says the department received complaints that motorists were speeding as they come off Morrison Street onto Main Street so his department recently did a speed survey.
“The speed limit is 25 mph,” said Denton. “Average speed was 32. The top speed was 45, but the majority was 32. We did have some that were 36 or 37, which is 11 or 12 over the speed limit.”
Vice Mayor Ben Newman asked about the possibility of placing rumble bumps, a smaller version of speed bumps, on Morrison Street in an effort to slow people down before the intersection.
Such a change would be up to TDOT.
“I don’t know if the state will do that,” said Brock of the rumble bumps. “They are kind of cautious about using them.”
Neal made a motion to leave the situation to TDOT. The motion passed unanimously by Bonner, Neal and Barnes.