Wednesday, December 6, 2023
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Pickett Commissioners Asking For T-DOT Assistance For 111 Turn Lanes

The Pickett County Commissioners expressed concern Monday night about the state of traffic safety along Highway 111, with the need for additional turning lanes discussed.

Multiple officials shared the need for more turning lanes during the meeting, citing intersections that have had dangerous or even fatal accidents in the area. County Executive Stephen Bilbrey said he met with T-DOT about the issue.

“There’s places that there are turning lanes, but there’s a lot of places that they’re not,” Bilbrey said. “And I mean as much traffic’s coming up through here, I mean, you know, you turn into dollar store and there’s not one, you’re going down to the EMS building, there’s not a turning lane.”

Bilbrey said he was assured by a T-DOT traffic engineer that the issue is being taken seriously by the department.

“I do feel better,” Bilbrey said. “I’m not going to say it’s going to happen, because I don’t know, but I do feel better about it today than I did when we first met.”

County Commissioner Deborah Garrett said there were discussions of adding arrows to certain intersections to help the flow of traffic, but it was decided that would lead to more issues.

“You go to any other county around our state you’ve got two yellow lines and you’ve got a turn lane, and if somebody’s in that turn lane you either wait ’til they go through or you’re getting behind them,” Alderman Tony Beaty said. “I mean, I don’t understand why it’s a problem in Pickett County but it ain’t no place else.”

The subject arose while the board was discussing potential plans for future grants the county should work to acquire.

“How many thousands of dollars have we spent there over the last five or six years to try to stop water coming up through the road and we’ve still got plenty of water, but we can’t justify putting in a turning lane to save somebody’s life or well-being?” Beaty said.

In other business, Bilbrey said the county received a letter from TDEC confirming the county’s landfill surpassed the 25 percent waste reduction rate they work to meet each year. The county’s current rate stands at 83 percent.

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