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Bypass traffic flow

Posted Tuesday, August 16, 2011, at 11:15 AM

The graphic we published on Sunday showing the traffic patterns for the interchange of U.S. 231 with the Shelbyville bypass drew a sharp response from some readers, pointing out that some people will have to make left turns onto or off of 231, and predicting that the intersection will be dangerous as a result.

Some good points have been raised, and I think there are some legitimate concerns, but I did want to point out one small factor in the line of being devil's advocate.

The vehicles using the bypass as a bypass -- going, in the vaguest possible terms, from Murfreesboro to Tullahoma or from Tullahoma to Murfreesboro -- will only have to make right turns at the 231 intersection. (You can also substitute "industries in the eastern part of Shelbyville" for "Tullahoma" in that sentence.) The Tullahoma-to-Murfreesboro traffic will turn right from the exit ramp onto 231. The Murfreesboro-to-Tullahoma traffic will turn right from 231 onto the entrance ramp.

Most of the left turns across 231 will be made by those using the bypass for local traffic rather than as a bypass. That will still be a substantial number of drivers, but perhaps TDOT was assuming it would be less than the number who are using the bypass as a bypass. I haven't spoken to anyone from TDOT about this; it's just speculation on my part.

As I said, I understand the criticism of the interchange design, and I think the critics may have a point. I just thought people were missing that nuance of the conversation.

Showing comments in chronological order
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I thought your map was an excellent map showing the flow of traffic.

However, as a bypass, I would think more local people would be using it than just the number going to and from Murf-Tulla.

If it is mainly a Bypass just to keep Murfreesboro and Tullahoma traffic and Shopperss out of Shelbyville, then it was a wise investment as far as reroutng the traffic, but I sure wouldn't want to admit that is what I intended the bypass for when talking to the Shelbyville Merchants.

Most people living on US64 going to Wartrace and Beechgrove will no doubt use thid Bypass to get across town to Walmart, Kroger, Burger king, Subway, Lowes and the list goes on, all making left turns. The left turners may just very well be more than the out of towners who can turn right only.

I am interested in what I will find on the Bypass. Will it be to my advantage somehow or just a short cut? I was really hoping it would be commercial businesses along the roadway, but don't see that happening.

I haven't heard anything about it, but I hope it is a road that can handle Trucks for some time to come without destroying the pavement.

For what it's worth, I want to say Congratulation Bedford County. It has been a long time coming and now it's here.

It is one of the few things we can say was MADE in America.

-- Posted by Unique-Lies on Tue, Aug 16, 2011, at 1:51 PM

I live on 231N and I am hoping to use the bypass when going to Tullahoma, however when I exit 231,I will be turning right. Those going to Shelbyville when using the bypass from Tulla should turn left on the bypass as there will be no on coming traffic except on the bypass, which in my opinion will be safer than turning left onto 231S.

-- Posted by Poksalad on Wed, Aug 17, 2011, at 9:07 AM

If you are on the Bypass coming from Tullahoma, you will have to exit left if you are going to Shelbyville at the 231 exit, which means you have to cross 231 to get into the south lane.

Only the people getting on the Bypass from 231 will be going over 231 on the overpass.

Those getting off the bypass onto 231 will not cross over 231 on the overpass, but get off before coming to the bridge. They will have to cross the highway to get into the south bound lane if they want to go south to Walmart or other Main Street businesses.

I have a weird feeling that a lot of people aren't going to know what to do when they go to get on or off the bypass.

This is not the average everyday Cloverleaf interchange that we are use to.

We will know more about how it works TODAY.

I drove by yesterday to see if they had marked the Turning Lanes for the Bypass or not. There was no sign of any change to the turning lane markings when I went through.

The Center lane or turning lane will have to be used by both ramps or the North bound won't have a turning lane. If the center lane is used as a turning/merging lane for the south bound traffic, then the North bound traffic will have to turn from the left lane on the North bound instead of the center turning lane. Or... They could add a ramp on the north bound traffic side just south of the Bypass to allow north bound traffic to exit 231 and enter the Bypass without and danger of collisions. Or... well, your see my point.

With cars moving at 50 MPH and no Center Lane Markings for merging or turning lanes, what are we suppose to do in a split second decision?

I wished someone would film this event after the ribbon cutting and it is open. That could be the funniest home video ever.

I look forward to more comments as the weekend approaches.

-- Posted by Unique-Lies on Wed, Aug 17, 2011, at 12:32 PM

After traveling the bypass, today I see that my suggestion will not work as one lane on each ramp is not complete. I am afraid that TDOT has created a dangerous situation. It appears to me that a curve is too sharp in exiting the bypass coming from Tulahoma. As much traffic as there is on 231, it is very dangerous for tractor trailors to make a left turn even though there is a turn lane. I wonder how many people will be hurt there especially during horse show week, hopefully none, but will wait and see.

-- Posted by Poksalad on Wed, Aug 17, 2011, at 8:18 PM

It didn't take me long to read why the Bypass was put in.

It was mainly for Commercial use for 100s of semi trucks per day going to and from the Industrial Park to 231.

However, just looking at the photo of the off/on ramps shows pretty sharp curves for semi trucks. Being designed mainly for semi-truck use, I would have thought they would have angled the off ramp exit more to the north instead of a sharp right turn onto 231.

Oh well, maybe they will contact Unique Lies before they start the west Bypass, Lol.

I decided to stay away from the Bypass for a couple days and let the newness wear off before I get on it.

The last time I L@@ked, the new Shelbyville bypass, State Route 437, ended not on U.S. 41-A east of Shelbyville, but State Route 64.

Now I will have to go see for myself. Darn, can't trust anyone to tell the truth anymore.

I was hoping more people would comment on this Bypass and what they thought about it. I guess three comments is about all anyone can ask for.

It would be nice to hear what a trucker (who has used it) has to say about the Bypass.

Then to think a speeder got caught two hours later who wasn't happy just going 55 MPH. Sounds like it may become a newly paved great Drag Strip late in the nights when the moon is full!

Are there any street lights along this newly designed State Route 437 to light the way? Does it go through residential areas or just Industrial Parks in the east and maybe a railroad crossing or two?

What? No street signs at intersections? What was the city planners thinking? State must have run out of Stimulus money. That's usually the first thing they do is put up signs. No wait, that's speed limit signs and do not enter signs and maybe a dangerous curve ahead sign and of course a sign pointing in the direction of the Hospital. Hopefully they included a couple 15 MPH ramp speed signs.

But no street signs to let you know where the roads go? Mmmm, I might better not get on the Bypass just yet. If I turn at an intersection God only knows where I will wind up. I once took a back road that I thought was a short cut and drove for miles thinking I drove into the Twilight Zone. It didn't seem to want to end and ... guess what? No street signs... only numbers. I was never so glad to finally run into civilization again.

-- Posted by Unique-Lies on Thu, Aug 18, 2011, at 11:30 AM

the intersection seems failry staright forward to me and should not cause anyone any problems,( other than normal trafiic congestion)if they are being observant and paying attention to the vehicle they are in command of. However this is not the norm anymore and I guess everyone just wants the govt to supply more signs and instructions instead of themselves having to be responsible drivers.

-- Posted by Bill H on Thu, Aug 18, 2011, at 2:15 PM

I think it's funny how people are referring to the bypass like it's a theme park ride or something that they have to make a major decision whether or not to get on and experience. It's a highway, just like any other, plain and simple. I'm sure the street signs are on their way. In the meantime, if you're adventurous, turn off on one of the mystery roads and see where it takes you. If not, just stick with what you know.

Unique-Lies, this new highway does indeed connect Highway 231 and 41A-North just east of Shelbyville. I give you my word. :)

Bill H, I'm in agreement with you on your comment about responsible drivers. If you're in control of your vehicle, you won't have any problems that are any fault of your own. Always watch out for the other guy though! You never know what he's gonna do!

-- Posted by onenamil on Thu, Aug 18, 2011, at 3:42 PM

I was just trying to make my boring comment interesting.

I really thought the Bypass would be a terrific road once finished, until I read the story on the ribbon cutting. The truth came out in that article.

Here it is;

This Bypass was funded with Obama's Stimulus Package for Roads and Bridges. When Obama speaks of Roads and Bridges he is speaking of Roads and Bridges for Commercial and Industrial Roads and Bridges and Interchanges not repairs on state and country highways. That comes out of Taxes.

Here are some key sentences printed in the copyrighted article:

Tennessee Commissioner of Transportation "Schroer said he'd been told just a few minutes earlier by Newell Rubbermaid officials that, during peak season, the company's distribution facility in the eastern part of Shelbyville sends up to 100 tractor-trailer trucks per day through Shelbyville's central retail districts."

John Schroer continued, "The bypass should help alleviate that traffic, by giving industries on the eastern side of town easy access to U.S. 231 headed north."

NOTICE nothing is said about heading south? He only comments on the bypass alleviating the trucking Traffic and giving Eastern Shelbyville industries easy access to U.S. 231 North.

Virgil Johnson, a former Jostens plant manager and community leader said, "although the eastern end of the bypass is farther out than the committee had originally planned." It sounds like the original plan was to just stop at the industrial site in the east, because it wasn't initialy intended for public use.

State Sen. Jim Tracy stated, "This is going to be great for economic development in this community." Industrial Community I assume and not a community of home owners.

Then we had State Rep. Pat Marsh, who is a founder and an owner of Big G Express Trucking Empire, said "the bypass would benefit the trucking industry in Shelbyville. "Projects like this really make a difference in our business."

Did anyone read anything about this project helping the people in Shebyville? No, it makes a difference in "OUR" Business.

Now here is a sentence that could have been left out of the article. "The master plan includes a northwestern bypass as well;"

What possible reason could they have for running the truck route to the west? They got want they wanted and that is the end of it.

Now for some more insight into what they did.

The Bypass is the major highway now. Fairfield Pike is a secondary road now and MUST stop for the Bypass. No, not even a red light. The trucking Industry now has the right of way over all other roads.

PLEASE Help me on this detail.

If Rte 437 crosses highway 64, which road has the right of way?

I am betting that highway 64 has the right of way over the Bypass. All bypass traffic must stop and yield, because the truckers won't be using that part of the bypass. That was intended for public use to make the people think the bypass was built for them since it is their taxpayer money that will have to repair the bypass over the coming years.

The left turns off of US 437 onto US 231 south

and the left turns off of US 231 onto US 437 east is the dangerous turns and left up to the public to deal with. The Trucker Ramps are all safe right turns with the traffic.

So... who was this Bypass built for? A 2 lane road that goes from North US 231 to the Industrial Section in the east with an extension to US 41-A.

Bill H, Fairfield Pike has always been a right of way road to shelbyville from Fairfield and further. Now it doesn't have the right of way. The Bypass does and both roads have a speed limit of 55 mph. Someone not thinking about the bypass at night just may close down the bypass and the pike for a few hours if they collide with each other. These intersections may just be more dangerous than US 231.

onenamil, Thank you for the post on the 41-A connection. That saved me a trip to the far east.

Now if you will answer me one more question... Which road has the right of way? US 64 or US 437? Does the bypass traffic have the right of way all the way to 41-A or does the bypass traffic have to stop for Highway 64 traffic?

This article is in the T-G and copyrighted and I am only commenting on what was said. The sentences I quoted are from the article so no one will think I made them up.

I am also thinking about commenting on David Melson's story about his Vannatta article. I found it very funny (comical), but not sure which blog to post it.

-- Posted by Unique-Lies on Thu, Aug 18, 2011, at 7:27 PM

The reference to the northwestern leg of the bypass is just that community leaders have been asking for the whole bypass, east and west, since the late 1980s (and, more seriously since the early 1990s). And it was mentioned by at least one of the speakers at Wednesday's ceremony, and I've heard questions about it, so it was definitely relevant and definitely needed to be mentioned in my story.

You have misrepresented a statement I made as a reporter by attributing it to Commissioner Schroer. He didn't mention "north" or "south," he merely said the bypass would divert truck traffic from the center of town, making traffic a little better for individuals and retail shoppers. Since there are more industries at the eastern end of the bypass than at the northern end, I was the one making the generalization that the bypass would connect those industries to 231 headed north towards Murfreesboro. Of course, it can also be used by industries north of town to head for 41-A.

Actually, I wasn't thinking about Airport Industrial Park, so it's actually more balanced than I was thinking as I wrote the story (on deadline). In any case, Commissioner Schroer didn't say "north" or "south" or "east" or what have you. He did specifically mention Newell Rubbermaid, which is on the eastern end of town.

We reported all along that the bypass was built with stimulus funds. Actually, engineering and land acquisition had already been completed before that time, so the bypass would have been built eventually, with or without stimulus funds. But it happened to be a "shovel-ready" project at a time when the state was looking for such projects on which it could spend stimulus funds.

-- Posted by Jicarney on Thu, Aug 18, 2011, at 10:36 PM

In response to your question, Unique-Lies, "Now if you will answer me one more question... Which road has the right of way? US 64 or US 437? Does the bypass traffic have the right of way all the way to 41-A or does the bypass traffic have to stop for Highway 64 traffic?"...

Both the traffic on US 64 and US 437 have to stop at the intersection because there is now a 4-way stop intersection there.

-- Posted by onenamil on Fri, Aug 19, 2011, at 8:12 AM

Unique-Lies . . . get a life! :)

-- Posted by bbbluebird on Fri, Aug 19, 2011, at 8:13 AM

Several things I have noticed...first off Unique-Lies...please tell me WHERE the 55mph speed limit sign is on Fairfield pike. Because believe me, I've looked! There are 3 speed limit signs on Fairfield Pike...1, leaving Cascade toward Shelbyville and tne 2nd right near McDale lane, before the new bypass. The 3rd sign is coming out of Shelbyville heading toward Cascade...only sign I've seen in that direction.

Second, I took Fairfield Pike into Shelbyville yesterday and saw quite a few cars FLYING on the bypass. It may by 55mph, but good golly, they were way over that. So much so that when I came up the stop signs, I sat there for a few extra seconds double checking and triple checking on coming traffic. THAT concerns me. More so than people turning left onto 231. I think Shelbyville got its way by lowering the speed limit to 50mph there, that that "should" help. That being said, accidents are going to happen. And typically, they are operator error. Only time will tell what's going to happen.

-- Posted by neighborhood mom on Fri, Aug 19, 2011, at 12:40 PM

My apologies to Tennessee Commissioner of Transportation John Schroer for the misquote.

Sorry Mr Carney for my misrepresentation of what Mr. Schroer said. The way you reported it, I thought the connecting sentence was also Mr Schroer's words.

Since there were no Quotation Marks I should not have assumed Schroer said any of that.

Like you, I too knew that this traffic leaving the Industries on the east would be using this bypass to head North. Maybe a truck or two will head south, but I think we both know most will be heading North or east to Tullahoma. Trucks needing to go south won't necessarily use the Bypass, but main street and Colorado Blvd..

Instead of rewriting my comment let me just change a few lines:

The bypass should help alleviate that traffic, by giving industries on the eastern side of town easy access to U.S. 231, then City editor, John Carney added, "headed north."

NOTICE nothing was said about heading North or South? Schroer only comments on the bypass alleviating the trucking Traffic and giving Eastern Shelbyville industries easy access to U.S. 231 then city editor, John Carney added, " North". Mmm, How dare you try to confuse the confuser.

Personally, I have always wanted a west bypass but all the way to Lewisburg Highway. That would accommodate personal travel, but not sure how it would help Industry. Most plants in the west part of town I think have been shut down except Tyson.

As for the Airport Industrial Park it was all figured in. Trucks come to the Bypass and turn "Right" to get on. No problem crossing traffic to go to Tullahome.

That is what I meant... the Bypass was designed ONLY for Industrial use in mind, but caters to the people with a tail section added on to 41-A, making it a bypass that bypasses the Industries in the east, but does the same thing.

By installing a 4-way stop at SR 64 and SR 437 it appears to be a public bypass.

Anyway it is done and in use by everyone who dares to travel it.

-- Posted by Unique-Lies on Fri, Aug 19, 2011, at 3:46 PM


Thank you! You are very kind.

-- Posted by Unique-Lies on Fri, Aug 19, 2011, at 3:47 PM


I'm awful sorry but I am retired now and didn't live all these years just to get a new Life after I retired.

-- Posted by Unique-Lies on Fri, Aug 19, 2011, at 3:50 PM


I stand corrected. Thanks for enlightening me.

-- Posted by Unique-Lies on Fri, Aug 19, 2011, at 3:52 PM


Sorry, had to go to town.

However, I have to warn you, since the bypass was paid with Obama's stimulus money, Obama may want to claim it as a U.S. Federal Highway sometime in the future.

While I was in town I couldn't believe the traffic on 231. Looked like everyone was headed for the bypass. Doesn't look like it took any traffic off 231 today. As came home the bypass didn't look busy at all.

-- Posted by Unique-Lies on Fri, Aug 19, 2011, at 6:39 PM

neighborhood mom,

55mph Speed limit sign on Fairfield pike? Who said anything about a speed limit SIGN? I said the speed limit was 55 mph on Fairfield Pike. I think that is the slowest speed limit, lol. It has the name Pike added to it so the speed is assumed to be at least 55mph by all drivers.

There is a law that states the speed limit for rural Non-Interstate highways, is 55mph unless posted otherwise.

Since I have last traveled Fairfield Pike, Cascade School has built right on the corner facing Fairfield. I heard the Hobble House Restaurant moved over on Fairfield Pike somewhere and what else has been added to Fairfield Pike would control the speed limit now.

Of course the United States Four Lane divided highways can have any speed limit posted on them, as we found out with 231.

Your second remark is what I waned about in earlier comments else where. The Bypass is looked at as the new super highway to avoid traffic. It isn't. It is a truckers route to the east from 231 and back. The bypass has the right of way, so all traffic must now stop at all the intersections coming up to the bypass.

I Pity anyone who doesn't. It could be fatal.

I actually thought the city planners would at least have the sense to put up traffic lights at the intersections BEFORE people got killed.

99% of all accidents are operator errors, but then that is why they are called accidents. They not caused on purpose, but by accident. However that doesn't prevent them.

Everyone will have to pay attention when driving on Fairfield Pike and a couple of the other roads in the east.

Thank you for your comment, neighborhood mom

-- Posted by Unique-Lies on Fri, Aug 19, 2011, at 7:33 PM

Why in the world do we need a bypass?Great idea,lets divert traffic,and thus potential revenue around our already dying down.Have you seen the east end of Madison Street?It looks like a ghost town,I expect to see tumbleweeds and two outlaws dueling it out at high noon in the middle of the road any day now.I can see where it might be benficial to commercial vehicles,but really?I dont see that it will improve traffic on the North Main end,as long as the masses keep flocking to Wal Mart to purchase their cheap Chinese products.But whatever,man.

-- Posted by white_power88 on Sun, Aug 21, 2011, at 3:57 AM

UL, I agree that it is unreal the amount of traffic on 231N, especially at peak times, but I also agree that the overpass was not necessary. There is a stop light about a block down the road at Calsonic and they could just made a cross road with a stop light without all the expense of the overpass.

I also question the reason for the railroad overpass. I didn't think we even had a train coming into Shelbyville now. I know some track has been removed, and there are some type cars sitting on the track that has been in the same place for years.

Its easy to spend money as long as it is someone elses. . No one can borrow themselves out of debt, but it doesn't seem that Obama realizes that.

-- Posted by Poksalad on Sun, Aug 21, 2011, at 8:50 AM


-- Posted by faulk7 on Sun, Aug 21, 2011, at 9:00 AM

needs a trafic light at the 41 intersection sat there for five minutes trying to turn towards Tullahoma. guess I will turn off at 64 and use the light at 41.

-- Posted by docudrama on Mon, Aug 22, 2011, at 2:49 PM

No, it goes... You can please ALL the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you can never please all the people all the time.

However, in Obama's case, I would say he can not please anyone any of the time.

-- Posted by Unique-Lies on Mon, Aug 22, 2011, at 2:56 PM

The next thing Shelbyville needs is a Pilot Travel Center... or a mom and pop friendly, sanitary truck stop.

Wal-Mart parking lot was NOT intended to be used for 12 to 15 big rigs camping out over night. I realize they have NO other legitimate choice, and it isn't their fault. Do we even realize how much revenue could be acquired just by providing truckers a place to buy food, fuel, rest (in designated areas), and buying a few traveling necessities? I simply can't understand the lack of logic when our city DEPENDS on industry to survive.

-- Posted by darrick_04 on Tue, Aug 23, 2011, at 2:19 PM

I second that! Great Idea darrick_04.

Shelbyville planners aren't keeping up with the times. Just because there is no interstate in Shelbyville doesn't mean truckers don't need a good truck stop locally. Could very well provide not only a great service to truckers but revenue for the City. If nothing else it could pay for the damage they do to the roads.

-- Posted by Unique-Lies on Tue, Aug 23, 2011, at 10:06 PM

Thanks Unique-Lies...I did read that wrong...you are right, no 55mph speed limit sign, very few 45mph signs and everyone does 55 (or higher) anyway! ;) There should be a blinking light at Fairfield pike though. I understand you can see for a mile in each direction, but it is going to be someone that is not anticipating the cars (1) don't have to stop and (2) not paying attention to the speed the bypass cars are traveling. I double/triple checked again today and there was nothing coming either way...if I don't do it now, I'll get lax about it and that's when accidents do happen.

p.s. I think a bypass toward Lewisburg would have been more useful...are there that many big rigs that are going to use the bypass to avoid the city and unclog the streets? Time will tell.

-- Posted by neighborhood mom on Thu, Aug 25, 2011, at 6:00 PM

The rubbermaid plant has 100 truckers a day during peak season, so yes, the truckers going to and from the east industries, using the bypass, will eliminate a lot of truck traffic on main street.

A bypass toward Lewisburg would have been more useful for residents but that wouldn't help the commercial industries in the east.

We will have to wait until Uncle Obama gets his Infrastructure Bank Account for roads and bridges to get the continuation of the bypass to the west.

It might be possible to see for a mile in each direction, but if people don't stop first and look, they may not see what hit them.

-- Posted by Unique-Lies on Fri, Aug 26, 2011, at 2:48 PM

I still don't see that many getting on or off the bypass ramps.

-- Posted by Unique-Lies on Thu, Sep 1, 2011, at 4:44 PM

Does anyone know how many jobs were created by building the Bypass? I think the first contractor created lost jobs. I just wonder how many of those people who were hired (if any) still have a permanent job.

I personally believe it only gave overtime to some full time employees and very few new employees were hired to do the job.

If anyone was hired, I would think they were laid of as soon as the Bypass was done... Creating "0" permanent jobs with that Stimulus Money.

Anyone prove me wrong?

And now Uncle Obama is getting another Stimulus Package for the Destroyed Highways and Bridges. That would create jobs, but only for the union and only in the areas that the work is being done.

Of course, if you lost your job at Mom and Pops, well, you just don't fit the job description. You may be over qualified.

-- Posted by Unique-Lies on Mon, Sep 12, 2011, at 11:11 AM

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