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Old 09-25-2019, 01:39 AM
Location: Putnam County, TN
1,056 posts, read 554,611 times
Reputation: 715


So, this thread is intended to be a discussion thread for anything about county roads in Putnam County.

I'll start us off.

It just recently occurred to me that to get to BP in Gordonsville (right off I-40 Exit 258) from Cedar Hill Church (less than a mile west of Baxter), the fastest and most direct route is 26 minutes, 20 miles via Rock Spring Road. Taking just S.R. 96 is 27 minutes, 21.2 miles. Taking Stanton Road is 30 min, 21 mi. Taking Indian Creek Road is 32 min, 18.4 mi.

However, each of these routes has major problems that I'll explain in this spoiler:
Rock Spring cons:
--Lines and pavement are poorly maintained. Lines were repainted recently but allowed to fade almost completely, and the asphalt is literally cracking.
--The speed limit was set to 25 last year despite the road being rural and able to support 35/40 mph easily. People rarely obey this, however.
--If they were to use radar enforcement/police patrols to enforce the low speed limit, it's likely that tickets would be handed out often enough to scare people into using one of the other three (even worse) routes.
--Encounters with trucks on this road are reasonably common with the Middle Tennessee Dragway.

96 cons:
--No shoulders. TDOT doesn't always maintain gravel shoulders on state highways, which PCHD does as long as the road is asphalt and has lines.
--Potentially unsafe for large trucks due to sharp turn at intersection with U.S. 70N.
--Has an additional busy road (St. Mary's Road) off of it that the others lack.
--There's a church that Rock Spring and Stanton avoid, so you have church traffic to worry about.

Stanton cons:
--25 mph speed limit. Again, the lower part (not upper) could easily support a higher speed and is rarely obeyed.
--Despite this and the lower speed limit sign being gone since 2016, PCHD has turned a blind eye, neither raising the speed limit nor replacing the old sign.
--No lines.
--Very rough in places. Despite being repaved in 2013, the entire lower part got rough by 2016 and very rough by 2019, while paved roads in Putnam County are supposed to last 10-15 years according to this article. Every time potholes are patched, more show up quickly, and the imperfections where they're patched are no less rough due to weight of traffic.
--Despite poor visibility and higher traffic from Stanton, they haven't switched the stop sign at Indian Creek.

Indian Creek cons:
--20 mph speed limit on Maddux (even worse than the rest!).
--No lines nor shoulders on the part of Indian Creek recently converted to asphalt, and that's despite sufficient width, lack of dead ends and lack of subdivisions (which I don't understand). Some argue that it's "not an important road", but even roads like Tucker Ridge and Turkey Hollow have lines, and Tightfit (which is off of Indian Creek) does.
--Maddux and the chipseal portions of Indian Creek are so narrow that it's warranted "NARROW ROAD WATCH FOR SCHOOL BUSES" signs. In fact, I once was inches from a mirror bumping with another car around a blind curve near Leftwich Hollow, which is probably the worst part of the road.
--The speed limit is 35 despite the whole road being unable to support it. In fact, one person in April wrecked (he and his vehicle were miraculously unharmed and able to escape) with me there to witness it, and it was one of the scariest experiences of my life despite not wrecking myself.
--Despite the dangerously low visibility and traffic patterns at these intersections, they've neither switched the stop sign at Maddux, added an all-way stop at Tightfit nor added an all-way stop at Hopewell.
--Despite the traffic patterns, they've still not widened the one-mile section from Stanton to Hopewell to two lanes.
--Indian Creek would NOT be more direct than the other three routes for most people living west of Baxter. In fact, it would even be very slow!

Stanton could easily be the best of these four routes, but PCHD just doesn't want to put in the effort to carve out two tiny bluffs (they did a bigger one on Indian Creek), scrape the edges of the road elsewhere, add 19ft of gravel, add 15ft of asphalt on top (most places are already 14ft of the less durable chipseal) and add lines. They've still not widened the one-mile section of Indian Creek from Stanton to Hopewell to two lanes, either, which would be much easier than carving bluffs on almost all of Indian Creek (six miles!). It's a small yet effective solution to a growing problem.

This poses serious problems. What will happen if Buffalo Valley gets the sort of development Gordonsville, Baxter or even just Silver Point has, or even just a Dollar General? What will happen if Baxter grows further west than it already has (there's flat land on the highway to about Robinson Ridge)? Like, for real, this is talking about connectors from a large fraction of a growing county to the gateway to two major (one even colossal) cities. Yet they're doing absolutely nothing to rectify this?

Plus, Baxter is already a suburb of the medium, fast-growing, predominantly-westward-growing Cookeville, so there's no reason to think traffic volumes on these four routes won't continue to rise (Middle Tennessee's economy is heavily dependent upon Nashville, and Murfreesboro and Clarksville to a lesser extent).

Last edited by Sun Belt-lover L.A.M.; 09-25-2019 at 01:59 AM..
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