Editorial: Sevierville commended for trying to make traffic flow better

Aug. 12, 2013 @ 10:32 PM

The city of Sevierville deserves praise for seeking ways to improve traffic flow through. It would be easy not to pursue actions to make cars get through quicker, since the slower they travel, the more likely they might stop and spend money in the city. But Sevierville officials realize that happy tourists are more likely to come back again. Those who spend hours in traffic remember that and may choose another destination next time.

The city is investing in the purchase of controllers at key intersections. These controllers will talk to each other and provide quick changes to traffic patterns when traffic gets heavy.

Now, most intersections along 66 through to Pigeon Forge are set up on time-of-day changes, so when history shows traffic is heaviest the timing sequence on the lights is changed. While you can look at records to see traffic patterns, it is not an exact science. The main thing is to find a way to move vehicles through to their destinations faster and safer.

The city also stations police officers and other personnel at key intersections along Highway 66 during the weekend to manually change the light sequences when the roads are really congested. This is yet another way Sevierville is trying to ease a situation what Public Works Director Bryon Fortner said was like getting 20 pounds of potatoes into a five-pound potato sack.

The new changes will take time, but in a few months we should see traffic run more smoothly than ever from Interstate 40 to the Pigeon Forge city limits. The city of Pigeon Forge was said to be discussing with Sevierville officials a way to make the traffic patterns in both cities more compatible. That would be a great boost to traffic as well.

Highway 66 will never to a controlled-access thoroughfare. But all we can do to make ease congestion will be money well spent.