Henry County and state officials met with representatives of the Tennessee Department of Transportation Wednesday morning to discuss options to alleviate accidents and other problems at the intersection of East Antioch Road and Highway 79 notheast of Paris.
“I believe a major study is needed but I’m not saying what ought to be done,” Sheriff Monte Belew said at the meeting, which was conducted close to the intersection.
Others attending were State Rep. Bruce Griffey, R-Paris, County Mayor Brent Greer, Chief Deputy Damon Lowe, Road Supervisor Richie Chilcutt and Reserve Deputy Bob Kenworthy.
Representing TDOT were Jason Baker, Region 4 director/chief engineer, and Scott Pate, Region 4 traffic engineer.
One of the options suggested was extending the 55 miles per hour speed zone further southwest.
All agreed that phone use, texting and other distractions are a major accident cause.
Griffey suggested a stop sign with flashing red lights on East Antioch as well as a caution sign with flashing light on Highway 79, perhaps solar-powered.
Greer pointed out that while the state might install such signs, it doesn’t pay maintenance costs and it would be up to the county to do so just as it pays for traffic and other signals at various intersections such as on the Highway 218 Bypass.
“Stacking up in the median is another problem, especially when many turning into East Antioch are pulling boats or other trailers,” Belew said.
Baker said TDOT would check the median to see if a double yellow line in the middle of the crossing along with stop bars would be possible.
Pate said an alternative to completely lowering the speed limit would be advisory speed signs placed under the “approaching intersection” signs in both directions.
“Anything will help,” said Belew, recalling an accident on the Memorial Day weekend which killed an elderly driver turning left onto East Antioch and being struck by a truck headed northeast on 79.
“We will do anything in our power to alleviate some of the problem with this intersection,” Baker said as the meeting concluded.
“We will follow up and come up with something, I’m sure.”