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TDOT talks square plans

By Kimberly Jordan kjordan@lebanondemocrat.com • Jul 15, 2014 at 7:00 PM

Representatives from the Tennessee Department of Transportation visited Lebanon on Tuesday as part of the department’s statewide bus tour.

Several employees, as well as Commissioner John Schroer, stopped in at the Lebanon-Wilson County Chamber of Commerce to discuss the planned renovation of the square.

TDOT and Lebanon officials worked on a plan for some time trying to increase the safety of motorists and pedestrians on the square. According to TDOT research, there are currently 24 spots when there is potential for a vehicle on vehicle crash and 22 spots where there is a possibility of a vehicle hitting a pedestrian, according to TDOT’s John Allen, who presented the proposal for the construction to local officials Tuesday.

The plans do require a reduction in parking spaces.

“Currently, there are 108 parking spaces on the square,” said Allen. “This plan reduces that number to 85.”

Chamber president Sue Vanatta told Allen, “I’m excited about it. We’ve been working on this for a long time.”

Mayor Philip Craighead, a proponent of the project, said, “I think over the next 18 months, downtown Lebanon is going to be a different place.”

TDOT estimates the project will cost around $1 million, with the city paying $524,000 and state and federal funds covering the rest.

Allen said businesses on the square would be able to remain open during the process, as it will be completed in four phases.

“We hope to have it open by summer 2015,” Allen said.

Following the presentation at the chamber, the bus traveled to LoJac Materials for a tour of the company’s block plant off Toshiba Drive.

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