KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — If you have ever driven on the Pellissippi Parkway in West Knox County, you know how busy it is and how fast traffic flows. Sometimes you may have to wait for two-to-three minutes before getting a break from the traffic speeding by.
When behind the wheel, “patience is a virtue,” especially if you are the one behind a car or truck that’s waiting to pull out into traffic, and there’s no way around that car in front of you. WATE’s Don Dare went for a ride to see and understand the problem at a Hardin Valley area subdivision.
Whenever Stephanie Hobbs leaves her subdivision in West Knox County, she worries about her safety as she tries to pull out and merge onto the busy Pellissippi Parkway. There is only one entrance and exit to the private development.
“Then when you are trying to get to the stop sign, you’ll have cars backed up if it is really busy on the street,” Hobbs said.
She lives at Parkway Heights, where lots of people leave early in the morning. In front of the condo community is the southbound lane of Highway 162, or the Pellissippi Parkway. It’s usually heavy with traffic.
“Oh, my goodness, it’s like a racecourse,” said Dare upon seeing the cars go by.
“A very big raceway. These people do not go the speed limit,” replied Hobbs.
The exit from Parkway Heights is about 50 feet from the turnoff to Dutchtown Road making it tricky to pull out of the subdivision, which is nestled between Lovell and Dutchtown.
“You have to either bust to get out of here, like really kick it, because some people are getting over onto Dutchtown, but then you are going to have a collision right there,” Hobbs said.
As Dare “busted out” of Parkway Heights, he made it safely, but Hobbs says it can often be hair-raising.
“It’s frightening going in and out. I don’t like for people to come and visit me. It’s like, ‘okay, get over into the turn lane because if you don’t you are going to miss the road, you’ll have to go all the way on Dutchtown and go all the way back.'”
Also, the entrance to her subdivision off Pellissippi Parkway creates another problem — there’s no turn-lane; Stephanie and other drivers have to pull over onto the shoulder or emergency lane to get into the complex entry on Odin Street.
“It’s not legal to do that. I should have put on my blinkers and stopped,” said Hobbs. “But about 25 cars were about to run over me.”
WATE reached out to the Tennessee Department of Transportation. TDOT says the location has been reviewed by both the state and the Knox County Engineering staff. Years ago, during the planning process, the developer elected not to provide alternative access to exit onto other local streets other than Pellissippi Parkway. TDOT says it recently added a warning sign that gives the distance to the upcoming intersection of Odin Street.
Plus, TDOT has a sign warning motorists of the “school bus turn ahead” as it turns into Odin Street.
“I want some action to be done. Like a turn lane, something to help us get safety, that’s what it is all about, safety,” said Hobbs.
There have been a few minor wrecks and near-wrecks at the exit to the subdivision. However, TDOT tells us there have been no recent major accidents reported at either the entrance or exit to Parkway Heights. But exiting the subdivision is “tricky,” and does require patience and good judgment.
TDOT says since Odin Street is a private drive leading into Parkway Heights, the construction of a right-turn “deceleration lane” onto Odin would be the responsibility of the developer or homeowners since the roadway is privately owned and maintained.