Some construction has already started along the side of Duplex Road. The city plans to move utility lines next week in order to widen the road. // Photo by Matt Blois
By MATT BLOIS
Construction crews are preparing to move some utility lines next to Duplex Road as part of a project that would add a new lane.
The project will also make the size of the lanes wider, and add a sidewalk and a bike path on the sides of the road.
Some of the first steps towards those goals will be moving utility lines, such as sewer and water, out of the way.
Spring Hill Communications Director Jamie Page said it doesn’t make sense to pave a road over the top of those utility lines.
“If there’s ever a problem you want to be able to dig it up and fix it,” he said. “Otherwise you would be burying it under asphalt and you’d have to cut into the roadway to get to them.”
Due to the construction, drivers won’t be able to turn from Duplex onto several connecting streets starting next week. The intersections at School Street and Walnut street will be closed between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. starting Monday. The entrances to those roads from Duplex will be closed for up to three days.
The entrance to Locke Avenue from Duplex will be closed overnight and during the day for up to six days staring on Monday. Drivers will still be able to access all those streets from the opposite side.
The project is just getting started, and the city expects that it will probably be completed in 2020. But Page said that the project is moving faster than the city originally expected.
“They had said they wouldn’t do any work on the widening itself until the utilities were relocated, but they did find a way around that” he said. “They’re actually widening that bridge over Aenon Creek. They’ve already done a lot of work on it.”
While adding one more lane may not sound like much, he said it will definitely make the road safer and more efficient. Right now, there’s no turn lane, so a driver turning across the road can start a traffic jam. A third lane would help prevent that problem.
The total project will cost $28 million, but the city is getting a lot of that money from the Tennessee Department of Transportation. At a meeting about transportation projects in January, Assistant City Administrator Chuck Downham said the city had already spent $11 million on the project. About $2.5 million of that was spent on relocating utility lines.