A traffic study is underway in Wilson County to ease congestion along Mt Juliet Road near the interchange of Interstate 40.
This study is a partnership between the Tennessee Department of Transportation and the city.
It will focus on eight traffic lights, three to the north of I-40 and five to the south of I-40, including a traffic signal yet to be installed at Providence Commons near Publix.
In the last 10 years, the mile-long stretch of roadway near the interstate has seen a boom in construction and congestion, with several commercial and residential properties drawing more people to the area, especially the retail shops at Providence Marketplace.
Public Works Director Marlin Keel admitted to Nashville's News 2, the city is overdue to address the traffic.
“Everyone was happy to see the development come. It meant some economic growth for this area, and [we] didn't anticipate the traffic that was brought with it,” Keel said.
With multiple travel lanes and turning lanes to accommodate the large number of motorists, signal timing appears to be the biggest problem for the roadway. The traffic signals were installed by developers, but were never synchronized.
“They're not connected and really function from calls from the side, and so right now, they don't talk to each other.” Keel said. “They're not managing the traffic flow north to south or south to north like they should.”
The traffic study will include not only a count of the number of vehicles passing through the specified intersections, but it will also note the direction of travel. The data from the study will be used to determine how to adjust traffic signals.
The city has budgeted $15,000 for the study. Light synchronization could cost upwards of $30,000. Keel is ready to go to city leaders for that money, knowing light synchronization isn't a fix-all.
“You can't handle all cases, but hopefully it will make it better for a significant portion of traffic,” Keel said. “And in time, people will notice a difference.”
The study begins in late August. Depending on the outcome of the study, light synchronization could be finished by the holiday shopping season.