Meetings Ensure Tennessee Road Projects Don’t Overlap

Thu March 17, 2005 - Southeast Edition

Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) officials have come through a meeting with local road construction project planners without having to revise their calendars.

State and local officials met in Nashville to ensure road projects planned for the next two years won’t interfere with one another and the flow of traffic.

The meetings, which are held in Nashville, Chattanooga, Knoxville and Memphis, started last year.

TDOT Spokeswoman Kim Keelor said the first round of meetings last year revealed several instances of overlapping projects, including five bridge replacement projects she said would have “shut down” Knox County.

Since that first round, she said planners have begun to take the initiative on contacting one another to ensure motorists wouldn’t be faced with never-ending construction zones.

This time around, “We didn’t find huge projects that were conflicting because we’re communicating so much more regularly,” Keelor said.

The meeting included Nashville city planners, transportation officials from Rutherford, Sumner, Wilson and Williamson counties, TDOT Commissioner Gerald Nicely, Nashville Metropolitan Planning Executive Director Fred Schwartz and legislators.

Approximately 100 projects were presented at the meeting, including four of the state’s “marquee” projects in the Nashville area: Briley Parkway improvements, the Demonbreun Street viaduct in Davidson County, Interstate 24 improvements in Rutherford County and state Route 386 in Sumner County.

Keelor said the major TDOT projects will remain on schedule, however she couldn’t speak for the local projects.

“There are a lot of meetings that come out of this large meeting,” she said.

Local planners could have discovered, without TDOT’s assistance, that projects were conflicting and will work out the details on their own.

Contractors do not play a part in these meetings and Keelor said the only was they would be affected is if a project’s timeframe changes.

In addition to meetings with planners around metropolitan areas, TDOT this year has started similar meetings in rural areas. There will be a series of nine meetings with officials from areas that do not have state-mandated metro planning organizations. CEG Staff