Four new road projects in Wilson County recently got the green light after being added to the Tennessee Department of Transportation’s three-year transportation plan.
The projects, valued at about $133 million, include a new interchange at Central Pike and I-40 and three road widenings – South Mt. Juliet Road (from Providence Parkway down past Central Pike), Lebanon Road (from Park Glen Drive to just past Golden Bear Gateway), and Central Pike (from Old Hickory Blvd to Mt. Juliet Road).
“We anticipate 20 to 25 year growth in that traffic,” said Andy Barlow, Deputy Director of Public Works and Engineering for Mt. Juliet.
Barlow said some projects, like the new interchange, are part of the city’s longtime vision and have been in the works for the past 20 years.
Barlow said funding that once came from a property tax in the late 1990’s was short-lived after that funding went away and other projects became a priority.
TDOT spokesperson Kathryn Schulte told News 2 the interchange will be one of two types of interchanges.
“It’s going to be your traditional diamond interchange like most people are familiar with or a diversion diamond,” said Schulte.
“We hope to see smoother access to the interstate,” said Barlow. “Congestion is what it is, but at least we can provide improved access to the interstate itself.”
But David Minton, whose family’s 175-acre farm sits along the future interchange, said not so fast.
“So they’re going to develop one area and take another man’s farm that’s been here for 40 years that doesn’t want to go anywhere,” said Minton.
Minton said because of the interchange, the state will likely have to buy right of way which could be up to 20 acres right off the front of his farm.
“For us, we don’t want to see the farm go away,” said Minton. “They’ve taken farm after farm in Mt. Juliet in the name of progress for the people of Mt. Juliet, but I think we’ve seen enough progress.”
But Minton isn’t opposed to all the projects.
He said the road widenings, alone, may just do the trick to ease traffic.
“I think that will help our current situation,” said Minton. “But the Central Pike interchange itself – I really don’t, I just think it’s moving a problem to a different area.”
Barlow said the environmental and engineering studies for the road widenings have begun.
He added Mt. Juliet and Lebanon roads will see construction in about five to six years.
Construction for the Central Pike interchange will begin in about seven to eight years.
Barlow said the widening of that corrdor will be after that.