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Residents call for change at dangerous Rutherford County intersection

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Posted at 9:53 PM, May 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-20 23:12:16-04

SMYRNA, Tenn. (WTVF) — People and city leaders in Rutherford County are calling for changes at an intersection they say is dangerous.

The intersection at North Lowry Street and Jefferson Pike has been the site of 34 crashes since October 2020. Two crashes reported in just the last couple of weeks were deadly.

Smyrna Town Manager Brian Hercules says speeding on the busy road is a concern, and Smyrna Police Department officers have stepped up patrols in the area to crack down on speeders. Since May 13, officers have given out 57 citations and arrested 12 people. However, Hercules said more needs to be done to make the intersection safer.

"It's better to fix the entire problem at once rather than piecemeal it," said Hercules. "We continue to communicate with La Vergne and communicate on a regular basis with TDOT."

Because North Lowry Street is also US 41, and the road goes through both Smyrna and La Vergne. City leaders in both places are working with the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) on solutions.

A spokesperson for TDOT said the department has completed a Road Safety Audit for the interchange, and currently has a project in development for this location. The proposal includes adding traffic signals, and the realignment of both the east and west interchange ramps of Sam Ridley Parkway and North Lowry Street. The project is currently in the design phase, and pending funding, construction would start in 2024.

According to an audit by TDOT, a total of 38 crashes occurred at the location during a three-year study period from April 1, 2014 to March 31, 2017, including four suspected serious injury crashes.

Hercules said until work is complete, drivers need to slow down, and be alert when approaching the intersection. He said Smyrna police would continue to patrol the area.

"We have a lot of confidence in TDOT’s engineers to give us the right solutions," said Hercules.