The Highway 60 Corridor Management committee has approved expanding the corridor agreement’s area to cover the highway from the state line to the Bradley-Hamilton County line on Georgetown Road.
Previously, the agreement only covered the roadway to Eureka Road.
“I think as a group it makes sense for us to look at Highway 60 from county line to county line,” chairman John Sparkman said. “I don’t see a compelling reason to not have it be a part of what we already have.”
The motion was passed unanimously.
Sparkman said the more rural areas of Highway 60 will have different issues that need to be addressed, but it would be good to include it for future planning purposes.
The committee is also considering having representatives from Bradley County Schools and Cleveland City Schools serve on the committee since there are so many schools on the route. A decision was delayed until the next meeting.
The committee heard a presentation from the Tennessee Department of Transportation, Bradley County engineer Sandra Knight and city engineer Brian Beck about driveway access permits.
TDOT has stricter guidelines for granting driveway access to state highways than the local access guidelines.
TDOT Community Transportation planner Kevin Herrit said the permits serve as a way to control access to the state highway and keep traffic issues from forming. Having too many access points on one road can create confusion, congestion and decrease safety.
“We have driveway permits to connect to the state highway. We can’t just let anyone connect to the state highway wherever he wants,” said Landon Castleberry of TDOT.
He said permitting maintains uniformity in connections to the highway, and also ensures quality work on driveway projects.
Castleberry said the current guidelines were developed in 1968. TDOT is working on updating them this year.
Driveway permits are required for residential or commercial access to the highway.
The process starts with contacting Castleberry and his team at TDOT. A representative then visits the project site. TDOT considers drainage and soil issues, as well as driver’s ability to see while turning onto the highway, before approving a permit. A plan is then developed for how and where the driveway will access the highway. Then a permit will be issued.
Once the permit is issued, TDOT requires a surety bond or cashier’s check to be taken out for the project.
“The purpose of that is to cover us in case you come out there and you decide to not carry out your side of the bargain, and leave our right of way a mess. We will cash in your bond and fix it ourselves and get you to pay for it,” Castleberry said.
Liability insurance is also required for those doing the job. If the project is completed according to the agreed upon plan, the owner will get the money from the bond back.
The project is inspected by TDOT to ensure compliance.
If TDOT finds out someone has started work without having an approved permit, they will stop the project.
Beck said driveway permitting in the city is handled through the site review process.
“We look at the traffic generated by that site and we also look at the traffic patterns,” Beck said.
The access is currently tied to the land disturbance permit.
Someone from the city also looks at the site to ensure compliance.
Those needing a state permit are asked to give a copy to the city. The county also has the same requirement, according to Knight. Beck is developing a form for developments wanting driveway access to fill out.
Sometimes a traffic study is required to determine if the existing road could handle additional traffic.
Knight said the county has an access permit that is handled through the building inspector’s office. The road department looks at drainage issues for each driveway before it its approved. The county has a bond requirement similar to the state.