As I’m writing, TDOT crews are working feverishly to put the finishing touches on the newly-expanded Concord Road. Even though the project isn’t completely finished, having a designated right-turn lane from westbound Northshore to Concord Road is enough to significantly impact my morning commute. Gone are the days of long, scenic views of Fort Loudoun Lake from the two-lane bridge on Northshore. Lovely as they were, I won’t miss them.
As I’ve said before, road projects require a long view. I first wrote about the Concord Road improvement in January 2019. The widening of Concord Road from Turkey Creek Drive to the roundabout at Northshore Drive is actually the third phase of a long-range plan to improve the commutes of those who live in the Choto area and beyond. The first phase, which began in 2006, was the extension of Campbell Station Road from Municipal Center Drive to Concord Road. The second began in 2010 with the widening of Campbell Station Road from Kingston Pike to I-40. Do you remember when that stretch was just three lanes?
If you have trouble visualizing Campbell Station Road ending at Municipal Center Drive or having just three lanes at the interstate, you’re not alone. Road projects cause considerable heartburn while they’re underway, but when they’re done, the misery tends to vanish like a mist. It’s like having a baby. Once you meet that new little human, you no longer dwell on the morning sickness or labor pains they caused.
It’s important to keep this in mind as Farragut evolves. As a social media manager, I’m well-informed about hot-button issues in the town, and I’d say that traffic is near the top of everyone’s list. There’s good reason for that. There are more cars on the road now than there were before the pandemic, not just in Farragut, but across our region. I’m sure there are multiple reasons for this, but one of them is that there are just plain more people.
In May, I wrote a column about Farragut’s real estate frenzy. I quoted a local Realtor who was working with several customers who were relocating from other states – primarily California, Michigan, Illinois and New York – because they liked Tennessee’s relaxed approach to the pandemic, low taxes and scenic beauty. While none of us care for increased traffic, we can’t deny that East Tennessee is a pretty great place to live, so we shouldn’t be surprised at the uptick.
The surge of traffic in our area hasn’t snuck up on Farragut’s elected officials or staff. That’s why you’ll be seeing future road projects that aim to make traffic flow more efficiently. These include improvements to inadequate roads that serve newer subdivisions, like Virtue Road and Union Road. Another aims to improve the flow of traffic at the Kingston Pike and I/40-I/75 interchange. Plans are also in place for an upgrade to the town’s traffic signals. Each of these projects will have a positive impact on traffic in Farragut, but like any road-related project, they will tax our patience while they are underway.
My hope is that the completion of Concord Road will give us perspective as we endure future road improvements in Farragut. They make this wonderful place we live even better.
Town of Farragut marketing and public relations coordinator Wendy Smith is your reliable Farragut insider.