How a Roundabout Rejuvenated Prime Commercial Property in West Knoxville

How a Roundabout Rejuvenated Prime Commercial Property in West Knoxville
Tennessee Department of Transportation City of Knoxville
CDM Smith worked closely with TDOT and the City of Knoxville to design and construct a new roundabout at the Leonard Rogers Street intersection in Knoxville, Tenn.

Commercial properties surrounding the Leonard Rogers Street inter­sec­tion in the busy section of west Knoxville were failing to thrive, despite consistent and bustling traffic flows from the community. Shops, restaurants, and businesses were struggling to attract and retain patrons because of inefficient access to properties and a less than pleasant driver experience. The surrounding roadway network featured access to the north and south and served the area for years, but the combination of signal control, median restric­tions, and a one-way frontage road only allowed partial right-in/out access to the commercial properties.
CDM Smith and the Tennessee Department of Trans­porta­tion (TDOT) teamed up to solve these trans­porta­tion and access issues for the area, while preserving the integrity of the Interstate 40 frontage road at the West Hills exit, an interchange that was recon­structed in the early 2000s as an interstate-widening initiative. By replacing the existing inter­sec­tion with a roundabout, the City of Knoxville saw improved traffic flow, much-needed access improve­ments, and economic development for the surrounding commercial properties. This roundabout was recently recognized with an ACEC Engineering Excellence Award for its overall revi­tal­iza­tion of the area, in addition to providing safety and aesthetic enhance­ments. 

The CDM Smith team initiated the design phase to serve two proposed devel­op­ments between Kingston Pike and West Town Way. The original roadway grades and site constraints were extreme, and delivery vehicles and patrons alike needed to be accom­mo­dated. To determine the most suitable new design for the area, the team first conducted a detailed traffic study, discovering that safety and access could be signif­i­cantly improved by construct­ing a roundabout. The results of the traffic study helped to ensure that the design would, in fact, solve these challenges and provide the necessary improve­ments. In addition, the actual cost of construc­tion came in $50k less than the initial estimate.

This project showcases our talents in economic development, traffic engineering, roundabout design, sustain­abil­ity, and roadway safety analysis.
Chris Kirby, Project Manager, Transportation and Civil Engineer

Functioning well in conjunction with the access control of the interstate frontage road, the new roundabout provides safe access without sacrificing the economic development potential for the community. Everyday drivers and destination drivers both realize the safety benefits and capacity improve­ments from the new traffic design. Due to the improved traffic flow, the reduction in delays equates to a reduction in traffic emissions, resulting in more sustainable trans­porta­tion infra­struc­ture for the community. It also provides an aesthetic facelift for the area that fits well with the character of the surround­ings. "This project showcases our talents in economic development, traffic engineering, roundabout design, sustain­abil­ity, and roadway safety analysis," says project manager, trans­porta­tion and civil engineer Chris Kirby. "At CDM Smith, we enjoy serving our community and it was rewarding to be part of a project that provides positive impacts in so many ways."
This roundabout has facilitated much-needed access improve­ments, while making lasting impacts to spur economic development for the formerly struggling commercial properties. The area now features better connected businesses for ease of community access, safety enhance­ments, aesthetic improve­ments, and improved flow of traffic.

Chris Kirby Chris Kirby
I love it when a plan comes together- when a challenge presents itself and we come together to solve meaningful issues.
Innovation icon
2022 ACEC Award Winner
The American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) recognized three winning CDM Smith projects at its Engineering Excellence Awards Gala in May of 2022 including West Hills Roundabout.
Read more

Transportation Design Projects and Insights