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Business, Free Enterprise and Constitutional Issues; Pro-Life and Pro Second Amendment. Susan Lynn is a member of the Tennessee General Assembly. She serves as Chairman of the Consumer and Human Resources subcommittee, a member of the Finance Ways and Means Committee and the Ethics Committee. She holds a BS in economics and a minor in history.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Status of SR 109

Many people believe that the state legislature selects which roads will be constructed - we do not - we fund TDOT's budget. TDOT plans the roads based on the priorities submitted to TDOT by the Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPO).

Our MPO is the Nashville area MPO; an organization made up of several counties in the Nashville region - Davidson, Maury, Robertson, Rutherford, Sumner, Williamson, and Wilson counties. It consists of a 19 member board made up of the county and city mayors from this region. 

The mayors' job on the MPO is to create the plan of prioritized road projects, and to submit these needs to TDOT.  TDOT then chooses which projects to fund in a given budget year. The General Assembly's role is to fund TDOT with state tax dollars. TDOT also receives federal tax dollars.

Status of the SR 109 Widening Project

This extremely important and very large public safety project is in the final phase.  Except for this final leg, the entirety of the road from I 65 to the north to SR 840 in the south is complete, including the new and very beautiful bridge.

Road construction projects move through 4 phases; design, environmental permits, land acquisition and then construction.  The SR 109 project is currently in the land acquisition phase; parcels are at this time being purchased for the widening of the road. 

Several community meetings have taken place with the affected landowners and more will occur. Each parcel is a separate real estate transaction, therefore, each landowner has met with TDOT in order to understand how much land is being taken, what will happen to their driveways, and in some cases, the entire home is being purchased because the new road will leave so little frontage that the state must purchase the home as well.  Land owners are provided a plan, a purchase contract and a price.  Any disagreements over price or the taking must be worked out - sometimes in court so this process tends to take the most amount of time. 

As you might imagine, it can be difficult to totally compensate someone for putting a highway in their front yard.

The engineering and the environmental studies are complete so as soon as all of the parcels are acquired, TDOT will commence construction.

The MPO and TDOT are very aware of the dangers on this road, and TDOT is working as fast as they can to come to agreeable terms with the property owners. 

Unfortunately, increased traffic volume between SR 840 and I 65, coupled with increased residential growth in the area, speed and perhaps distractions have caused the accidents to escalate.  But we can all commit to slow down, to be extra courteous to other motorists and to keep our attention only on the road while the land owners are finalizing their transactions.  And most of all, please remember to pray for travel mercies for your family and for others.    


Lyndon said...

Thank you, Susan. I've wondered what was taking this project so long with as many accidents that happen along that route each week.

Zil said...

A friend's wife was killed in a car wreck on this road nearly a year ago and I believe it's the most dangerous road around right now. It is flooded with traffic, primarily semi trucks, trying to bypass Nashville altogether when traveling to / from Knoxville & Louisville areas. If it wasn't such a nice shortcut, apart from the dangerous stretch that still needs to be widened, I don't think there would be that much traffic on it.
Regardless of how difficult a process it may be for landowners and homeowners to come to terms with what must be done I hope everyone can make this a priority before more lives are lost.

Decrease the speed limits on the two lane portion and increase police presence until it is widened so traffic is FORCED to slow down because you cannot put a value on human life.

Russell said...

In the mean time our elected officials could insist on stepped up State Trooper patrols to help keep us safe.

Anonymous said...

It is obvious that there will not be improvements to 109 anytime soon. I am not sure that the widening will be a vast improvement to safety as it will then require those turning left onto 109 to cross 2 lanes and a turning lane. What would provide some immediate help and could be done quickly is a red light at 109 and academy. This would serve to slow traffic and provide some breaks in flow for those trying to turn onto 109 from all of the feeder streets. Perhaps you could exert some influence to make this happen this Spring before many more lives are changed or lost waiting years on the road project to be completed!

... said...

Thank you very much for your comments. This road has become a so very dangerous that I wanted to provide what I know and have learned. I am so sorry to hear about your friend's wife. I have met property owners who are dealing with TDOT to purchase their property. Some have issues and some just sign the contract. Speed reduction has just been requested and increased patrolling. I have personally asked for a light many times...they test but federal standards govern and thus far the road doesn't meet the federal standards.