Note: This story was updated at 12:10 a.m. Sept. 22.
The proposed Weigel’s on South Illinois Avenue would have a minimal impact on traffic, according to a study completed this month by a Knoxville engineering firm.
A few Oak Ridge officials had expressed concern about cars turning left to enter and leave the store on the busy, seven-lane roadway, which is used by about 27,000 vehicles per day.
The City Council approved a rezoning for the project in a 6-1 vote on Sept. 10, but members said they expected a traffic study before considering the rezoning on second and final reading on Oct. 8.
The traffic study, prepared for Weigel’s by Cannon and Cannon Inc. of Knoxville, said the north entrance to the 4,000-square-foot store would be restricted to a right-turn-in and right-turn-out traffic flow.
Left and right turns would be allowed at the south entrance to the 16-pump gas station. Left turns there would have some impact on traffic, said the study, scheduled to be discussed during a Tuesday meeting of the Oak Ridge Traffic Safety Advisory Board.
“However, because regular and sizeable gaps in Illinois Avenue traffic flow are present due to adjacent traffic signals, it is felt that these impacts will not create significant concerns,” the study said.
The Weigel’s would be on a 1.5-acre lot across from the Outback Steakhouse near Rutgers Avenue, and it could generate 266 to 306 vehicle trips per hour during peak periods in the morning and afternoon, the study said.
The study made three recommendations to help reduce traffic impacts and improve safety and operations:
- Discourage left turns by making them very difficult at the northern right-turn-in, right-turn-out driveway.
- Trim brush and trees south of the southern entrance to ensure a minimum 500-foot sight distance looking south from that driveway.
- Coordinate the traffic signal timing that is now under development to ensure that adequate gaps continue to be provided in the Illinois Avenue traffic flow to help left-turn vehicles turning at the southern entrance.
Tuesday’s TSAB meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the Municipal Building Training Room.