HENDERSONVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Sticker shock in Hendersonville. The price tag on a new road project is about five times what it was six years ago. But drivers dealing with the current traffic mess think it’s worth the investment.
“Makes my day a lot longer. And makes me very irritated that I have to sit and watch for the train,” said Brooklyn Downey, who lives in Hendersonville and says that she’s gotten stuck at that train crossing many times.
The rail line is at an intersection where several streets come together, including East Main Street, Saundersville Road, Winston Hills Parkway, and the CSX train line, causing traffic many days to easily back up onto Vietnam Veterans Boulevard for a train that comes through some days more than a dozen times.
“They need to do something; they need to figure out something, because you have so many more people here, so much more traffic. They need to figure something out,” said Shane Horacek, who used to live in Hendersonville.
The solution: build a tunnel under the train tracks. The problem: since the city first talked about the project in the early 2000s, the price tag has ballooned from $5 million to $28 million.
Mayor Jamie Clary said with changes to federal grant criteria, that money falls mostly on Hendersonville to pay.
“We are not going to ask for another federal grant because we know that’s a waste of time and money. We’re hoping the county and state will contribute to it. But right now it’s the city of Hendersonville,” said Mayor Clary.
Still, Alderman Eddie Roberson, who represents Ward 6, said that the project is worth it.
“We’re going to put the best heads that we got, the technical heads, and try to come up with a solution that not only works for the citizens but also affordable,” said Roberson.
The mayor also said that the train line wants enough space for two rail lines to run over the tunnel and no delay to train traffic. Both changes, he said, add to the cost.
When we initially reached out to CSX on this project, they said that the project is in the preliminary engineering phase, and to reach out to the City of Hendersonville for comment.
We reached out again to CSX for specific reaction comment on the cost increases but have yet to hear back.