Safety upgrades in Heiskell

Sandra ClarkFeature, Powell

The state transportation department will improve signage on Raccoon Valley Road at the Norfolk Southern railroad underpass in Heiskell following inquiries by nearby resident Dan Arp. TDOT engineer Nathan Vatter met Tuesday with state Rep. Bill Dunn, Arp and Knox County Commissioner Charles Busler at the underpass.

Arp said it’s a question of safety. “Those of us who live around here have sort of figured it out,” but he’s concerned about infrequent users, especially at night. He suggested stop signs on both sides of the underpass.

SR-170 Underpass Report Final

Vatter showed results of a study which included a two-day video camera at the site. Pictures were harrowing as a tractor trailer filled the entire space and most motorists disregarded the posted 10-miles-per-hour speed limit.

TDOT will move forward, he said, with three improvements: extending the double yellow line closer to underpass; posting “Yield” signs; and contacting the railroad about painting and/or adding reflectors to the steel supports.

“I know it’s hard to work with the railroad,” said Dunn, “but is there a long-term plan?”

No, Vatter said, unless we bridge over the railroad. Each man looked straight up and shook his head. Heiskell’s just not ready for a sky bridge.

Reviewing the TDOT plan are Dan Arp, Bill Dunn, Nathan Vatter and Charles Busler.

This support beam may soon glow in the dark. The ground around the underpass is littered with auto parts that have scraped off by motorists hitting the supports.

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