Walkability and safety are high on the agenda for Lebanon this year as the city looks to complete multiple large-scale sidewalk and traffic signal projects.

One of the first will see sidewalks built along both sides of West Main Street near Kroger, which Mayor Rick Bell said will allow residents to walk from the square to the area past the South Fork neighborhood.

“Construction should begin in early spring and it should be completed sometime this September,” Bell said during the Lebanon City Council’s meeting Tuesday. “This is a $1.5 million project, it’s totally funded by TDOT other than the utility relocations that we as a city are in the process of doing. This is a project that’s very important for walkability and connectivity.”

The city is also working with the private sector to fund a traffic signal at the intersection of Lebanon Road and Five Oaks Boulevard. That area has been identified as a safety concern because of traffic stemming from its large residential developments.

“We got a lot of feedback from that area about want and need,” Ward 6 Councilor Jeni Lind Brinkman said. “There’s been a few crashes, there is a definitely need at that intersection for a traffic light. And hopefully that will slow some of the traffic, some of that speed coming down Highway 70 into town as well.”

City Transportation/Traffic Engineer Kristen Rice said the goal is to bid out the project in February for completion by the end of the year. The city has asked six developers in the area to contribute shares of the total cost, which is estimated at $350,000.

“Two of the developers have already gone through,” she said. “Those are two of the River Oaks ones, and those have pretty much already been approved by council.”

Councilors approved a third agreement with Five Oaks Estates II on Tuesday, which is slated for a second reading vote during a special called meeting Thursday. It represents a $95,645 contribution.

“The other item on the agenda tonight is an assessment for the remaining three developers that are active, but they’re not quite as far along in the process as the other three,” she said. “That would allow us to be able to move forward with construction with the intent that we’d be reimbursed later.”

Councilors also passed the second and final reading of an agreement with TDOT to restore traffic signals damaged during the March 2020 tornado. The city will contribute $128,660 toward permanent repairs for lights at eight intersections.

The Lebanon City Council has scheduled a special called meeting for 5:30 p.m. on Thursday to hold second reading votes on items approved at Tuesday’s meeting, and the next work session is set for 6 p.m. on Jan. 14.

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