published Sunday, August 12th, 2012

Urbane Road residents lodge truck complaints in Bradley County

Jim Ruth, Bradley County Sheriff
Jim Ruth, Bradley County Sheriff
Photo by Randall Higgins /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

CLEVELAND, Tenn. — Bradley County Sheriff Jim Ruth said Friday that his department plans to address concerns about commercial trucking traffic along Urbane Road.

Earlier last week, county commissioners, planners and law enforcement officials heard complaints from residents who said speeding trucks are loud and life-threatening nuisances on the short, two-lane road.

At a County Commission rezoning meeting Monday, residents complained that large trucks drive over the 45 mph speed limit, drive in the middle of Urbane and apply loud brakes at all hours as they travel back and forth to Tri-State Warehouses, located on the road's northern end.

"I feel that Urbane Road [traffic] is almost to the breaking point," resident Danny Lee said at the meeting. "For the truckers, the new 45 mph is 55 mph, quite frankly."

On Friday, Ruth said traffic unit officers would discuss the problem with Tri-State Warehouse management. After that, it simply will be a matter of enforcing the law, he said.

"We're definitely concerned about the matter," said Ruth.

Residents said the problem with speeding trucks is compounded because of limited sight lines in some places along the road and driveways that connect directly to it. Some residents expressed concern that the area's development had reached capacity, further affecting congestion.

Bradley County Commissioner Connie Wilson, who uses the road frequently, said an upscale townhome development recently proposed along the road caused quite a stir among residents because it would add more traffic.

Urbane Road's speed limit also has been questioned. Lee pointed out that the two-lane road has the same speed limit as nearby Stuart Road, which has four lanes and a turn lane.

As far as road capacity, no traffic studies have been performed for Urbane, Bradley County Engineer Sandra Knight said.

"It's one of our better roads," said County Commissioner Mel Griffith, chairman of the county's road committee. "There are no plans to make any changes to it."

Ruth said officers would observe conditions on Urbane Road as part of their normal enforcement duties. If those officers conclude that a lower speed limit would be appropriate, his office will make that recommendation to the County Commission, he said.

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