By THOMAS P. WEAVER, HORIZON Editor
CELINA-A new 4-way stop was installed here last week by the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) in hopes of making the intersection of the new Highway 52 and Highway 53 safer for drivers.
“Because there had been recent crashes at this intersection resulting from driver error–failure to stop at the previous two-way stop, TDOT decided to install a 4-way stop at this intersection in an effort to alleviate any confusion drivers were having at this location,” TDOT spokesperson Jennifer Flynn said Monday. “It will remain in place for the time being.
“Once the (construction) project is totally complete, the area will be studied to see if traffic has increased enough to warrant a traffic signal (stoplight).”
Flynn explained even if a traffic signal was found to be needed, it would take a significant amount of time before it could be installed.
“If it should be found that a signal is warranted, it would still take some time to have the signal designed, materials (strain poles) fabricated and delivered, and the signal installed and operational,” she said. “After that, the maintenance and upkeep of the signal would be the responsibility of the local government.”
Due to those time restraints and the recent accidents, the current 4-way stop was installed as an immediate measure to ensure public safety.
Before the new installation, drivers traveling Highway 53 did not stop at the intersection. Only those traveling Highway 52 were required to stop and yield to the Highway 53 cross traffic.
Signs reading “New Traffic Pattern Ahead” now greet Highway 53 drivers approaching the intersection alerting them of the change.
All four lanes of the new Highway 52 are also open, but the speed limit remains at 45 miles per hour (mph) at this time.
“The roadway is now open to traffic, but the speed limit will remain at 45 mph until the project is completely finished,” Flynn said. “The contractor is still working on some things and construction equipment will still be in the area.
“Once the project has undergone a final inspection and the contractor finishes up any punchlist items that result from the final inspection, the speed limit will be increased to 55 mph.”
Flynn explained Bizzack Construction, LLC of Lexington, KY has opened the roadway nearly a year early. The completion date on the $24.3 million project was not supposed to be until September 30, 2014.