By mtjulietintern

Tennessee Department of Transportation and State Route 109 construction team members met with residents Monday to discuss details of the highway’s construction project, expected to be complete in 2020.

The State Route 109 project is one of 10 Wilson County road projects funded through the IMPROVE Act, which the legislature passed last year. Upgrades to the road are set from Highway 70 north to Dry Fork Creek area and from north of Dry Fork Creek to the Sumner County line.

The department awarded the $50 million project to Vulcan Materials last month. Upgrades will include additional lanes, shoulders and dedicated turning lanes.

TDOT project supervisor Adam Vance outlined several aspects of the project to residents during the meeting, including expected lane shifts, road closures and safety measures, including a 10 mph speed limit reduction during construction.

Nearly a dozen portable message signs, three cameras and seven portable radar detection devices will be used during construction, which will be able to alert drivers about changing road conditions and delays.

Vance said the traffic control and safety measures would be lifted from 5:30-9:30 a.m. and 3:30-6 p.m., as well as during holidays, special events and holiday weekends.

Construction will start at Academy Road with a new interchange and then go south from the Cumberland River bridge.

“Part of TDOT’s motto is work with us, so we ask that everybody please practice safe driving out here and be aware. We’re out here trying to get this ironed out to benefit everybody. We’re reducing the speed limit and we’ve tried to initiate this Smart Work Zone and everything because we want this to be a safe project and we want everybody to get home safe at night,” Vance said. “I know it gets frustrating being stuck in traffic, but if you could, just please pay attention as you come through here.”

Pressure from State Route 109 travelers and corridors on TDOT to improve the heavily traveled stretch of road has increased in recent years with the Nashville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization conducting a series of public workshops starting in 2014 to gather information and address concerns.

About 23,880 vehicles travel State Route 109 daily, and that number is expected to rise to about 44,890 by 2038. The roadway sees about 2,150 vehicles during peak hours, while truck traffic makes up nine percent of the roadway traffic.

Many local economic leaders said widening State Route 109 could lead to increased industrial and commercial growth along the corridor, while also reducing travel time on the road.

By Xavier Smith

xsmith@lebanondemocrat.com