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TDOT to request $4M more to complete interchange project
Dec 18, 2006 12:00 am
The original projected cost of the South Mt. Juliet Road interchange project has tripled with Tennessee Department of Transportation officials slated to ask for another $4 million to complete the project.
TDOT officials will go before Municipal Planning Organization officials to request a TIP (Transportation Improvement Program) amendment that asks for an increase from $2 million to $6 million to construct a slip ramp that will go from Interstate 40 to Belinda Parkway.
The increase in funds is necessary because the scope of the project has magnified from strictly improving the existing four-ramp interchange to constructing an additional slip ramp. This slip ramp will include a lengthy collection road.
Mt. Juliet manager Rob Shearer and city planner Bobby Franklin will attend the meeting scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 20. Shearer said all road construction projects in middle Tennessee have to be approved by the MPO.
"This project has been approved; there's always been money for it," Shearer said. "But this move will be to increase the budget amount."
The South Mt. Juliet Road road construction project encompassed aligning Adam's Lane and Belinda Parkway and widening the road near Providence MarketPlace to five lanes. The final phase is constructing the slip ramp. Upon completion, the slip ramp will divert about a third of the traffic off South Mt. Juliet Road, greatly relieving traffic congestion in the area.
Shearer noted the request for the additional funds will most likely be granted. According to city and TDOT officials, the contract for construction of the ramp will let in February 2007. It is expected to be a nine-month project with completion predicted by Thanksgiving next year.
There's also a push by City of Mt. Juliet officials to request TDOT construct a temporary second north bound lane from Providence MarketPlace to help move along traffic. While there was much excitement over the Thanksgiving opening of five lanes going south to the center, motorists traveling north from the south end of town still battle long traffic lines that extend to Central Pike during peak travel times. A second lane is planned for in the engineering design; however, it is not expected to be complete until the entire road project is finalized sometime this spring.
To help facilitate traffic near Providence, Mt. Juliet city officials are taking matters into their own hands and are putting together a "case" to present to TDOT to persuade them to work on some type of temporary lane for north bound traffic. They've already contacted a traffic engineer to put together a professional accounting of the traffic flow in the area to show the necessity for this temporary measure. Already the city is conducting traffic counts to illustrate the high number of vehicles that move through the area north.
"We know there is a big problem and we are going to do what it takes to convince TDOT we need some relief until the road project is complete," Shearer said.
Managing Editor Laurie Everett can be reached at 754-6397 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.