It's not an existing rock quarry nor a soon-to-open asphalt plant that scares the Tennessee Department of Transportation the most about Cannon County's busiest intersection.
What frightens TDOT the most is speed demons.
The agency recently studied the intersection of John Bragg Highway (SR 1) and Bradyville Road for possible upgrades to improve safety. The main problem found by TDOT was speeding.
Concerns about safety at the intersection have been heightened by the construction of the asphalt plant at the intersection. The plant, located across Bradyville Road from a rock quarry, is scheduled to open late this year or next spring.
More truck traffic will be passing through the intersection once the plant does open.
In 2016, the intersection had average traffic of over 11,000 vehicles a day, according to data compiled by TDOT.
The data also shows an average of nearly 2,500 vehicles per day on Bradyville Road (State Route 64) traveling north to the John Bragg Highway intersection, and close to 900 traveling south.
"In June, our Traffic Engineering division completed a traffic study on SR 1 (US 70S) at the intersection with SR 64 in Cannon County as requested by state and local officials," Jennifer Flynn, TDOT community relations officer, said. "This study was to see if the area qualified and would benefit from installation of a traffic signal. Eight-hour turning movement counts were conducted at this intersection. Based on the results of those counts, minimum warrants as established in the Federal Highway Administration's Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) were not met."
Flynn said.an analysis of the crash data showed seven crashes in the three year study period. However, only one of those crashes appeared to be of the type susceptible to correction by a traffic signal.
"The posted speed limit at this location is 55 mph. A radar speed survey recently conducted in the vicinity of the intersection showed the 85th percentile speeds (the speed at which 85% of the traffic is traveling) to be 67 mph west of the intersection and 64 mph east of the intersection. During the two hour study period, the technicians noted 42 vehicles traveling at or in excess of 69 mph. One of the crash reports noted the vehicle traveling in excess of 80 mph. Based on this information we would suggest consideration be given to increased speed enforcement in this area."
Flynn said TDOT would continue to monitor the intersection.
"Based on the results of this study a traffic signal is not recommended for the intersection. We will continue to explore other possible safety improvements at this location, such as additional signing or improved pavement markings. We have done improvements in the past but none in recent months. Our traffic engineers are still working on what changes we want to make in that area. Still, the biggest issue we found in our latest study was speeding."