TDOT began making changes to the intersection of Sparta Highway and Rock Island Road on Wednesday.
Three people have died in two crashes at that intersection this year.
“In the short term, our Highway Marking crew is planning on installing additional signage and pavement marking at this location this week, weather permitting,” said TDOT spokesperson Jennifer Flynn on Wednesday.
In the long term, the intersection is expected to receive a flashing light.
“There is a safety project in the works to install a flashing beacon at this location,” said Flynn. “It will be funded with federal safety funds. Currently, it is in the environmental phase. To receive federal safety funding on projects of this nature, we have to get environmental clearance. Once that is received and funding is approved, then it moves to the design phase. Then, when the design phase is completed, it will be let to contract. In other words, it goes through the typical project processes so it won’t happen immediately.”
Among the immediate changes to the intersection:
• Rock Island Road will get a new Stop Ahead sign.
• Oversized Crossroad warning signs will be added on Sparta Highway (US 70S).
• Wrong Way sign will be replaced on Sparta Highway.
• Stop bars will be replaced on Rock Island Road.
• Dotted lines will be added to median openings.
• All Stop signs and Advanced Warning signs will get reflective tape.
• Reflective tape will be added to all Do Not Enter and Wrong Way signs.
The state has also placed a sign prohibiting solicitation or sales at the intersection on the state right of way. Vendors often sell at the intersection, an added distraction for motorists and a potentially hazardous situation for vendors if they unintentionally station themselves in the path of a wreck.
The changes came one week after the death of Leoma Hoover, who died when the minivan she was a passenger in pulled into the path of an oncoming vehicle at that intersection.
In January of this year, a similar wreck resulted in the deaths of two individuals who pulled into the path of a tractor trailer. There have been eight fatalities on Warren County roadways this year.