State installing J turn on Hwy 111

Tennessee Department of Transportation has begun work on an intersection improvement project on SR-111 at SR-293 in Overton County.

The project is for safety improvements on SR-111 at the intersections of SR-293 at log miles 3.09 and 3.18, including installation of a J-turn.

The J-turn is an alternative to traditional roadway intersections on a 4-lane highway. Instead of motorists crossing fast-moving lanes of traffic to get to the opposing lanes, drivers at a J-turn intersection turn right in the same direction of traffic, merge into the left lane, and then make a J-turn in the direction they intend to travel.

Although drivers will have to travel slightly farther to get where they want to go, using J-turns can take the same or less time than trying to wait for a safe and appropriate gap to cross traffic, according to TDOT. The point of these turns is to greatly reduce, or even eliminate, a significant number of severe crashes common when drivers must cross-over busy highways to reach another road.

According to TDOT, J-turns have proven to be a safer alternative to a traditional roadway intersection on a 4-lane highway because they eliminate or greatly reduce right-angle crashes, the crash type most responsible for fatalities and serious injuries at intersections. Basically, they eliminate the need for motorists to cross the high-speed lanes of traffic to get to the opposing lanes.

The work on the project will consist of setting up traffic control items to close SR-111 down to one lane in each direction with a subsequent reduction in speed limit through the work zone from 65 mph to 55 mph. Once traffic control is in place, the contractor will place new drainage structures, including catch basins and storm drain pipe, in the median and will also construct full depth asphalt shoulders along the right side of SR-111.

In addition, the J-turn lanes will be constructed that will tie into SR-111.

During the duration of this construction, which began Friday, July 26 and lasting until contract completion on October 31, 2019, the contractor closed the median turn lanes to traffic that lead from SR-111 to SR-293. Traffic will remain restricted to one lane during the duration of construction also.

The contractor for the project is Rogers Group, Inc. and the cost of the project is $2,183,284.71. Completion date is October 31, 2019.