Round ’n’ round with roundabouts

Sandra ClarkGossip and Lies, Powell

Is a roundabout ahead for Powell?

Both the current and proposed county budgets include $750,000 for a roundabout at the intersection of Brickyard Road and West Beaver Creek Drive.

Jim Snowden, senior director of Engineering and Public Works, confirmed that the intersection improvements and sidewalks are estimated to cost $1.5 million if Knox County Commission approves Mayor Glenn Jacobs’ proposed budget. That vote should come by month’s end or in early June.

Snowden provided the preliminary layout for the project. He said the original proposal included only the roundabout. The additional funding will enable improved storm drainage with curb and gutter, widening of Brickyard Road to Powell Drive and sidewalks, “all of which will improve safety for all users.”

He said the majority of folks who attended the design public meeting were in favor of these modifications.

Wait! What design meeting? When and where?

Snowden checked his calendar and said it was held Tuesday, Feb. 12. He never said where, but I’m guessing The Crown College. That’s because the improvements will satisfy a longstanding goal of Dr. Clarence Sexton, pastor of Temple Baptist and president of The Crown College, to connect the two campuses.

Let’s be clear. I, too, support this goal. Powell businesses will benefit if Crown’s students can walk to Emory Road. Residents on West Beaver Creek will benefit from sidewalks on Brickyard to Powell Drive, where sidewalks already extend from Clinton Highway to Halls.

Snowden added, “The consultant is scheduled to have preliminary right-of-way plans completed by July 1 and, if County Commission approves the budget request, we will begin property acquisitions this summer. Construction will then be slated for spring 2020 and will last approximately eight to 10 months.”

Let’s build this roundabout and then dust off those plans we had drafted a year ago to install a roundabout on Emory Road at Spring Street to alleviate congestion at First Baptist and Powell Elementary School. Both are great projects for a growing community.


The Beaver Creek/Brickyard roundabout was first reported here.

How does a roundabout work? Watch traffic flow here.

Read the study by consultants Cannon & Cannon before two roundabouts were built on Bob Gray Road in West Knox County. Nearby residents opposed the project in the planning stages. But those roundabouts have achieved the desired result: slower traffic and (I’m guessing here) fewer wrecks with personal injury.

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