(WBIR - Knox County) After months of delays construction is expected to begin on a$1 million renovation of two of the county's most dangerous intersections.
The intersections of Bob Gray Road and Bob Kirby Road along with Bob Gray Road and Mabry Hood Road are both ranked in the top five for car crashes in the county.
Some neighbors in this area have witnessed so many crashes that 911 operators know them by name. But the county hopes converting two stop-sign-intersections on Bob Gray Road into roundabouts will keep drivers safer.
The project is about a year behind schedule because of property owners reluctance to sell the needed land right-of-way land, and post-recession changes in the mortgage industry.
"In one case, we've been working with Bank of America for six months to try to get it closed," said Public Works Deputy Director Jim Snowden, however he says he expects utility relocation to start this fall.
According to county officials over the past four years there have been at least thirty crashes at these two intersections, frequently the result of drivers at stop signs misjudging the speed of on-coming traffic.
That increases the likelihood for t-bone collisions, which Snowden says can be particularly harmful. He says they believe the roundabouts will reduce injuries.
"You can't get a right angle collision, therefore even the crashes you do have are going to be less severe," said Snowden.
Knox County Commission is expected to approve the contract for construction this month and Snowden says he projects the project to be finished in a year.
"This time next year people go back to school in 2014, intersection is complete. It's much safer, it's much easier to get in and out of," said Snowden.
While the county believes the renovations will be worth the investment, many neighbors oppose the idea.
10News spoke with several people this weekend-- who didn't want to be interviewed because they're still negotiating with the county. But neighbors they say they're concerned the roundabouts-- and the property they have to give up to build them-- will badly hurt their property values.
Several people expressed those concerns during public hearings before the Knox County Commission. They voted to move forward with right-of-way acquisitions last October.