MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — On Monday evening, Montgomery County leaders met to vote on legislative priorities they plan to share with the state in their 2024 Legislative Agenda. Two of those items included expanding I-24 and legalizing medical marijuana.
Legislative Agendas identity specific issues Montgomery County would like state lawmakers to address. As one of the first areas to welcome drivers crossing state lines, infrastructure is a common contender.
“It’s just a bottleneck right now and we really need the infrastructure to be put in place for the rate that we’re growing,” Montgomery County Mayor Wes Golden said.
As county leaders finalize agenda items, they once again plan to ask to widen I-24.
“We do need additional lanes to handle the volume, the sheer volume of people going down 24 to and from Nashville, or just through Clarksville,” Clarksville Mayor Joe Pitts said. “On our list again this year are road projects, infrastructure projects, and at the top is to make sure that the Tennessee Department of Transportation follows through on the commitment to widen Interstate 24. It is in the improve act, which is the act that was passed under the Haslam administration in 2019.”
The plan calls for adding a westbound and eastbound lane to I-24 from the state line to Exit 11. On top of a smoother commute for the growing area, it’s also about safety.
“When you have more vehicles, you’re going to have more vehicle accidents, and it seems like every week, if not almost everyday, it feels like there’s an accident that causes a delay, not just on that stretch, but anytime anywhere between Exit 1 and Exit 41, which is near Nashville,” Pitts said.
Golden identified yet another safety factor.
“We have three or 400 people transitioning out of Fort Campbell every month, and we want to make sure that Fort Campbell is also deployable as possible,” he said.
Golden said Montgomery County is growing by roughly 6,000 to 7,000 each year. That, paired with the need to get manufacturing goods transported from the area, has both mayors stressing the need for this project now.
“I-24 right now is the only two-lane interstate coming in and out of Nashville,” Golden explained.
“It’s a regional issue; it’s not just a Clarksville-Montgomery County or Nashville-Montgomery County issue,” Pitts added.
District 16 County Commissioner Lisa Prichard said she was passionate about the issue, adding that she would like to see more treatment options for soldiers, with Fort Campbell being one of the largest Army bases in the country.
“They work; even our disabled veterans are out there volunteering and trying to help. So, I would rather see that they were treated well with the things that make them feel better as productive citizens, rather than drugs that just drug them up,” Prichard said.