News & Notes

March, 2019

March 21, 2019

Will new TDOT projects relieve high traffic volumes in Nashville?

Residents and visitors alike can feel the struggle of Nashville traffic. But for people who live and work here every day, it seems insurmountable. Commutes that typically took 20 to 30 minutes are now doubled, even tripled in some cases.  

TDOT knows the I-24 corridor has reached its limits. However, the agency cannot widen the roadway further.

“So we’re looking to extend exit ramps and entrance ramps so when you’re getting off, you’re not having to slow down all the main line traffic,” says Region 3 TDOT spokeswoman Kathryn Schulte.

It’s called the Smart Corridor project. TDOT will be improving signals along parallel corridors like Murfreesboro Road. The idea is to keep things moving so even if there’s a crash and you’re diverted, the signals can keep up with that extra traffic volume.

“It’s a great example of taking existing infrastructure and incorporating technology to improve the reliability of the travel time on that corridor,” says Deputy Director of the Greater Nashville Regional Council, Michelle Lacewell.

The Smart Corridor project will cover 28 miles along I-24 from I-440 in Nashville to US 231 in Murfreesboro. State Route 1 will be an alternate.

March 13, 2019

TMA Group's Debbie Henry named to ACT Certification Board of Trustees 

The Association for Commuter Transportation (ACT), as part of its effort to establish the first certification program for Transportation Demand Management professionals, has announced the appointment of the first members to the Certification Board of Trustees. 

As the certification program’s governing body, trustees will immediately take on the task of finalizing the development of the certification program’s policies, procedures and exam.  

The role and importance of the TDM professional has continued to expand as communities and private employers deal with increased congestion in urban cores, mobility challenges in rural and developing regions, the growth of new business districts, shifting commuter patterns, demand for convenience and the development of technologies that have created more mobility options. This certification program will lay the foundation for ensuring that highly qualified individuals are available to meet the challenge of addressing the diverse needs of commuters, communities and employers.

Certification has long been sought by TDM professionals working to advance commuter programs and mobility services within their communities and work sites,” David Straus, executive director of ACT, said. “I am honored to welcome and introduce our trustees, who together bring decades of experience and leadership within the TDM industry, to lead this important program.”  

One of the group named to the Board is Debbie Henry who is the executive director of The TMA Group, which manages Franklin Transit for the Franklin Transit Authority.

The first TDM Certification Exam is expected to be held in the fall of 2019.


February, 2019

February 21, 2019

 Franklin Planapalooza kicks off with eager participants ready to plan Franklin's future


The city of Franklin’s “Planapalooza” event kicked off with a successful turnout of over 60 people ready to dive into the nuts and bolts of planning Franklin’s future. 

The group of residents, elected officials and anyone interested listened to a planning and zoning presentation delivered by Planapalooza head W. Brian Wright, founding principal of Tennessee Planning & Urban Design Collaborative, a consultant for the city. 

Throughout this week, with various scheduled events and focus meetings, Wright’s team will compile the community’s input to help shape the city’s future zoning plan to align with Envision Franklin, the city’s land use plan approved by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen in 2017.

Information gained from the Planapalooza series will help chart the course of future development in Franklin.


February 13, 2019

Here's how much sitting in Nashville traffic costs you  

Hey Nashville, you lost nearly four days sitting in traffic last year.

That's according to a new study, which found that Nashville is the 20th most-congested city in the United States.

Those 87 hours you spent sitting in your car last year cost you $1,221 in direct and indirect costs, according to the study by Kirkland, Washington-based Inrix, which is best known for its traffic app.

The calculations for annual direct and indirect costs to cities break down this way: Direct costs relate to the value of fuel and time wasted, while indirect costs refer to freight and business fees from company vehicles idling in traffic, which are passed on to consumers through higher prices.

Last year, Nashville came in at No. 27 on Inrix's annual list. Inrix modified its methodology this year, so it's not possible to compare the change in costs year-over-year.


January, 2019

January 14, 2019

How will planned 'Smart Corridor' help ease traffic woes on I-24?  

The drive between Davidson and Rutherford counties using Interstate 24 can be unpredictable. 

But the Tennessee Department of Transportation's new pilot called the I-24 Smart Corridor Project could be the solution. 

"We can't make the road any shorter, but what we can do is make the commute time shorter in having reliability in your transportation," said Paul Degges, TDOT Chief Engineer. 

The new Smart Corridor will be the first of its kind in Tennessee and it will use existing infrastructure to improve travel times for drivers. 

It's part traditional construction, like more acceleration lanes, and part new technology. 

"We're going to put 23 shoulder mounted dynamic message signs," said Degges. "Right now, the big overhead message signs are spaced out at about three miles." 

The more frequent message signs on the interstate will provide more detailed updates to drivers of speed, lane or merge conditions ahead, while traveling information boards will guide drivers to alternate routes. 

"It's going to allow the user in the network to make better decisions and hopefully we can actually reduce congestion and reduce secondary crashes," said Degges. 

It'll also upgrade and adjust traffic signals of connector routes to optimize alternate route in the event of an incident on I-24. 

Degges said the technology will also help TDOT more efficiently manage traffic, like finding the root of a slowdown. 

January 4, 2019

$28M Gallatin project to connect SR-109 to Dobbins Pike will alleviate downtown traffic 

After more than a decade of planning and preparation, the City of Gallatin will soon launch a $28 million project to build a connector roadway between State Route 109 and Dobbins Pike. 

The city accepted a bid for $27,440,488 by Jones Brothers Inc. of Mt. Juliet to connect the northern and eastern areas of Gallatin by extending Hatten Track Road to State Route 109.

The project is expected to divert approximately 12 percent from Downtown Gallatin to the new road, according to a news release.

"What's unique is our city engineers and the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) are working together on this project, allowing us to better control the design," City Engineer Nick Tuttle said in a prepared statement, adding this project is the largest locally-managed road construction project of its kind in Tennessee.


December, 2018

December 19, 2018

'Merry Christmas, Franklin': Long-awaited Mack Hatcher extension breaks ground 

After nearly a decade of waiting, Franklin residents will finally see progress on the newest extension of the Mack Hatcher Memorial Parkway. 

The improvements will stretch from the existing intersection at Mack Hatcher and Hillsboro Road to the Westhaven neighborhood on Highway 96 West. The total cost of the 3.2-mile project will be about $46 million, according to officials from the Tennessee Department of Transportation.

"Merry Christmas, Franklin," Mayor Ken Moore said. "Santa has come. No one can remember how long this has been on Franklin's project list. We appreciate the opportunity to have this road." 

The roadway will cross over the Harpeth River twice.

Phase I will include the construction of the inside half of the entire roadway. With this project, there will be one travel lane in each direction. However, the intersections at Highway 96 West, Del Rio Pike and Hillsboro Road will be built in their entirety. 

Phase II of the project hasn't been funded. That construction phase will add two travel lanes outside of the median.


December 12, 2018

Nashville loses out on transit grant  

Federal officials have rejected Metro's application for a $1.5 million BUILD Transportation grant to help finance a two-year corridor study of Dickerson Pike, Mayor David Briley's office confirmed Tuesday.

The study was meant to help reshape the future of Dickerson Pike, which runs downtown through the northern part of East Nashville. The study would have determined the viability of bus rapid transit along the corridor, as well as identify where Metro could designate a potential redevelopment district along Dickerson. The creation of such a district would allow the Metropolitan Development and Housing Authority to use taxpayer incentives to juice transit-focused development.

December 10, 2018

Traffic, transit at core of debate over proposed West End tower 

Downtown Nashville's expansion is delivering more dense development than ever before to neighborhoods outside the urban core and fueling contention among residents tired of sitting in traffic and staring at glassy towers. 

On the edge of Midtown, four neighborhood groups have banded together against a proposal for what would be one of the largest buildings in West End. 

Brentwood-based GBT Realty wants to erect a 378,700-square-foot tower with a 175-room hotel, shops, and either offices or residences. The building would sit on a 1.5-acre lot bound by Murphy Road, West End Avenue and Interstate 440. 

The proposed 207-foot-tall tower is nearly double the size allowed by existing zoning regulations and would dwarf several nearby high-rises. 

The bid shocked neighbors in West End, Hillsboro, Sylvan Park and Richland, who say that it's one large step closer to traffic gridlock. 

December 7, 2018

Alexander: $25 Million Federal Grant Will Help Fix Middle Tennessee’s Traffic Jams


United States Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today said a $25 million federal grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to the city of Spring Hill will help reduce traffic congestion in Middle Tennessee.

“It’s not a secret, traffic congestion in and around the Nashville area is a headache-- right now, if you take I-65 from Spring Hill to Nashville, you’re probably late to work because you’re sitting in at least an hour of traffic. This $25 million federal grant will create a new avenue for Middle Tennesseans to get to work more quickly,” Alexander said. “This was a highly competitive grant and Spring Hill will receive $25 million, which is the most any applicant can receive. This award is a great compliment to our state and its leadership.”

The city of Spring Hill will receive a $25 million federal grant to construct a new interchange between I-65 and I-840 and an extension of Buckner Road from Bunker Lane to Lewisburg Pike to connect the new interchange. The federal grant is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) program, which awards competitive grants to communities in Tennessee and across the country to fund significant transportation projects, including highways and bridges, public transportation systems, passenger and freight railroads and port infrastructure.

The BUILD grant program is funded by the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations subcommittee, of which Alexander is a member. In Fiscal Year 2018, the BUILD grant was federally funded at $1.5 billion.


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