The Public Works Department, City of Morristown recognized the need for an Emergency Response Trailer (ERT) to deal with traffic control under emergency conditions. During the 2017 budget year funds were appropriated for the assemble of the ERT. The ERT is outfitted with 100 traffic cones, 4 Type II Barricades, 2 Type III Barricades, 4 Street Closed Signs, 4 Street Closed Ahead Signs, 4 Road Work Ahead Signs and 4 Workers Ahead Signs. On the afternoon of August 23, 2017 this decision proved to be beneficial.
On Wednesday, August 23, 2017 at 3:19 pm a vehicle accident destroyed the traffic signal control box at a major intersection in Morristown, TN rendering the traffic signals useless. This intersection, West Andrew Johnson Highway (US-11E, State Route 34) @ Merchants Greene Boulevard (State Route 474), is the merger of two state routes along with a federal highway. This intersection is a major intersection due to newly constructed accommodations which include banking, retail and restaurants making it one of the highest traffic flow intersection in town. Police, Fire and EMS responded quickly and took care of the people that were injured. Public Works was called to get the traffic signals repaired and assist with traffic control. Thus, the Emergency Response Trailer was deployed.
Upon arrival on the scene the traffic signal technicians assessed the damage to the signals and other Public Works personnel consulted with the Morristown Police Department (MPD) to determine the best traffic control measures to be implemented. MPD had already formulated an action plan for traffic control and it took Public Works personnel approximately 15 minutes to deploy the 100 traffic cones and proper signage. The traffic control was established in such a way that traffic from both streets were not allowed to cross each other. This plan worked well for the conditions.
Inspection of the damaged traffic control cabinet, revealed that an entirely new cabinet was needed. A backhoe was brought in to remove the large concrete base from the damaged control cabinet. This was necessary to remove the wiring harnesses from the damaged cabinet. With the wiring harness removed, the pain staking job of reconnecting wires and remapping of circuit boards was at hand. Public Works crews were able to bring the traffic signals on line at 8:20 pm. By 9:00 pm all traffic control devices were removed and the intersection was fully functional.
The success of maintaining the functionality of this major intersection is due to the joint effort of the Morristown Police Department and the Morristown Public Works Department. Many thanks to personnel from both departments for the hard work and the timely manner in which operations were restored.