published Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

Neighbors fear lane will become throughway to industrial park

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    People living nearby fear Harriman Road, which parallels Interstate 75 in southern Bradley County, will become a truck route through their neighborhoods if the road, which currently dead-ends at a proposed industrial park site, is extended.
    Photo by Randall Higgins.
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    Proposed industrial park in Bradley County

CLEVELAND, Tenn. — People living near a proposed south Bradley County industrial park fear that a rural lane that dead-ends into the site will become a busy truck route.

If the industrial park is developed, they want Harriman Road closed, they told the Bradley County Commission on Monday.

"They are not opposed to progress. They are not opposed to an industrial site," said attorney Stephen Crump, representing people who live in the Bancroft Road area. "However, they live and work and travel in that community, and they are opposed to making Harriman Road a dangerous place."

Bancroft Road begins at U.S. 11. Harriman Road turns off Bancroft as it goes under Interstate 75, and Harriman runs parallel to the interstate.

The current plan calls for an interchange off APD 40 with a connector road to the north side of the 343-acre site.

But to acquire state funding, Chamber of Commerce President Gary Farlow told the commission, there cannot be a road to nowhere. The connector road would link to Harriman Road on the south side of the industrial park. That's why industrial park plans so far call for a truck turn-around on the site to send big rigs back to APD 40 and I-75, he said.

"Our intent was to get a road to the industrial park, not build a highway to Bancroft Road," Farlow said.

But people living there fear that trucks and park employees will use Harriman and Bancroft to get to U.S. 11 instead.

Crump said local government may not be able to keep the road closed, but it does have the option of imposing weight limits.

Commissioner Jeff Morelock said the immediate issue before the commission is financial, however. The commission has not yet approved joining with Cleveland and the state with its one-third share of the cost for the connector.

Commissioner Jeff Yarber said he is concerned about unknown development costs in coming years.

That cost can be known only based on how the park is developed, how large the industries are, or if one industry buys the whole site, as Wacker Chemical did in northern Bradley, Farlow said.

"This is not a casino. This is not something where we just roll the dice," said Dan Rawls, a local tea party member. "This is a debacle fixing to fall on Bradley County."

about Randall Higgins...

Randall Higgins covers news in Cleveland, Tenn., for the Times Free Press. He started work with the Chattanooga Times in 1977 and joined the staff of the Chattanooga Times Free Press when the Free Press and Times merged in 1999. Randall has covered Southeast Tennessee, Northwest Georgia and Alabama. He now covers Cleveland and Bradley County and the neighboring region. Randall is a Cleveland native. He has bachelor’s degree from Tennessee Technological University. His awards ...

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