published Friday, September 23rd, 2011

Cleveland, Tenn., traffic flow improves after signal changes

By Paul Leach/Correspondent
  • photo
    Robby Downey changes a traffic light in this file photo.
    Photo by Angela Lewis /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

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CLEVELAND, Tenn. — Drivers are spending less of their rush and lunch hours on Paul Huff Parkway and the northern stretch of Keith Street where the two major thoroughfares meet.

On Thursday, Cleveland Utilities Electric division manager Dennis Daniel told members of the utility’s board that changes have been made to the traffic signal system in the city’s northern corridors.

Alan Childers, a consulting engineer with Cannon & Cannon Inc. in Knoxville, gave a presentation regarding the traffic flow improvements using traffic simulation software.

The greatest change was adjusting the traffic signal system to accommodate changes in direction and volume for different periods of the day, said Childers.

He explained this meant giving more flexibility to the heaviest flows of inbound and outbound traffic during the morning and evening rush hours, with tweaks for lunch and weekends.

The project encompassed 14 traffic signals between the two roads, said Childers.

The biggest winner was the evening northbound traffic on Keith Street. Childers said drivers are spending about 50 percent less time in delays. The targeted section of Keith Street contains six signals within half a mile of Paul Huff Parkway.

He noted that afternoon and evening flows on Paul Huff Parkway, both east and westbound, are experiencing between 20 and 29 percent less delay.

“That’s quite good. You don’t see that too often,” said Childers. “Typical values you see on these type of projects runs like 10 to 15 [percent].”

Cleveland Utilities also has made a few changes to traffic signal hardware on Paul Huff Parkway, which will allow for easier for eastbound and westbound turns onto Freedom Parkway and eastbound turns into Bradley Square Mall.

Childers estimated the community would save about $758,740 from traffic flow improvements, using Federal Highway Administration calculation formulas. The reduction in Keith Street bottlenecks was worth $492,243; Paul Huff Parkway contributed $266,497.

Although the project is essentially complete, another change may be in the works for Paul Huff Parkway traffic.

The E.L. Ross Elementary School zone, located between Mouse Creek Road and Peerless Road, may be relocated to Mouse Creek Road in the future, according to Jimmy Isom, engineering manager for Cleveland Utilities.

Cleveland Utilities has been reviewing the matter with the school’s principal, Isom said in a previous utility board meeting.

Paul Leach is based in Cleveland. Email him at

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