(WBIR-Knoxville) After studying traffic patterns on two main roads notorious for stop-and-go traffic, the City of Knoxville said programming to improve light synchronization on Broadway Avenue and Kingston Pike is on track to be installed by July.
"Neither of these corridors have been studied for several years so this will give everything a fresh look and take into account any changes that have happened," said Jim Hagerman, director of engineering. "Both of those projects should be complete by the end of the summer at the latest."
Before the city approved the project, 10News conducted our own study. On Broadway Avenue, nine of the 19 stoplights between Jackson Avenue and I-640 were red; it took nearly 11 minutes to travel 3.8 miles. On Kingston Pike, 11 out of 25 lights were red in a 6.7 mile stretch.
"If you don't get early enough time to leave your house, you're going to be tied up light after light after light," said Marie Call, who travels on Broadway Avenue several times a day. "No sooner than you get through one red light, by the time the person pulls away, you're at another red light."
"It's just gridlock between 5 and 6. I mean I feel like you're constantly sitting at a red light," said Jason Russel, who owns a business located on Broadway Avenue. "If you leave at 5 o'clock, you can get out of town pretty quick. But if you wait until 5:15, that same trip takes an extra 20 to 30 minutes."
Hagerman said consultants studied traffic patterns for months on weekdays, weekends, UT home games, and holidays, to get a comprehensive log.
"The signal at each intersection is controlled by a little computer. It has to coordinate with the other signals in the series to try to make traffic flow as well as possible," explained Hagerman.
The director of engineering said the city had to postpone the study on Kingston Pike because Lyons View Pike construction disrupted regular traffic flow, but the project is caught up.
"All of the data gathering has been accomplished, and now the modeling is in process," said Hagerman.
Hagerman said the new programming will help alleviate stop-and-go traffic on the two corridors, but also said there's no cure-all, especially where traffic typically gets congested, like Kingston Pike at Northshore Drive.
"It may be really noticeable. It may be subtle," said Hagerman. "But even a subtle difference for 20,000 cars a day kind of counts up."