By CLIFF HIGHTOWER
Cheryl Christner knows the Interstate 65 drive from Spring Hill to Nashville very well.
“I commute it every day from here to Nashville – Music Row,” she said.
So, the Spring Hill resident had plenty to talk about during a public hearing Thursday at Spring Hill City Hall concerning ideas on improving Interstate 65.
“I would love to see rapid transit, like a train,” she said. “I would do that. I could work while I rode it.”
The Tennessee Department of Transportation held the third and final public hearing Thursday about Interstate 65. They held a similar meeting just two days ago in Brentwood.
More than 50 people came to the meeting to hear what TDOT had to say, which is double the attendance of a regular meeting.
John Houghton, a consultant with engineering firm Gresham, Smith and Partners, conducted a power point presentation highlighting expected growth along Interstate 65. The slides illustrated the change in interstate traffic from the Alabama border to the Kentucky border over the next 20 years.
TDOT set up a board for people to place stickers on their favorite approach to helping solve congestion. The results showed most people had the biggest appetite for some type of regional transit service with TDOT enforcing HOV lanes next.
Maury County Commissioner Gary Stovall, of Columbia, said he was very much in favor of regional transit.
“I think it’s a good idea, if we can get it implemented,” he said.
Spring Hill Alderman Vincent Fuqua said his biggest question was locally oriented, but he didn’t think he’d get an answer on it.
“My biggest question is the I-65 interchange,” he said.
The city is looking at trying to get an interchange built in the future off Interstate 65 to connect with Buckner Road. However, it is still in the very early stages and has no design plans as of yet.
The TDOT study offered up several different plans to help alleviate traffic on Interstate 65 by 2040. Those included regional transit, lane widening, specifically from Interstate 840 to Saturn Parkway, and side road improvements.
But even under the TDOT improvements, by 2040, the drive from Spring Hill to Nashville would only save two minutes per commute. The study said that by 2040, average commute time to Nashville would be 62 to 64 minutes.
“It’s already 60 minutes,” Christner said. “During the school year, there were times it took me an hour and a half.”
Cliff Hightower can be reached at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @CliffHightower.