Saturn Parkway project to begin May 30 with Beechcroft Road improvements

Saturn Parkway project to begin May 30 with Beechcroft Road improvements


Construction of the Saturn Parkway (State Route 396) extension and widening of Beechcroft Road (S.R. 247) is scheduled to begin May 30, in a $47 million project by the Tennessee Department of Transportation.

Saturn Parkway was built to connect I-65 and GM-Spring Hill Manufacturing, and facilitate industrial truck traffic to the auto plant. This extension is also focused on improving connectivity, safety and commercial operations along the corridor, where a number of auto industry suppliers have established operations.

saturn parkway
Several parts suppliers and support businesses for the GM plant are established on Beechcroft Road. // CITY OF SPRING HILL

“The project is designed to promote economic development by providing direct connectivity
from Saturn Parkway to Beechcroft (Road), reducing travel times for trucks moving between the auto
part suppliers on Beechcroft, the GM Plant, and I-65, and to improve safety along Beechcroft,
Main Street and Stephen P. Yokich Parkway by maintaining traffic flow and reducing truck
traffic,” according to the project announcement.

Saturn Parkway is a four-lane divided highway that currently ends at the GM plant, limiting
access to truck traffic and employees only. Local traffic must use interchange ramps to exit
Saturn Parkway, while industrial traffic must use local routes to access the commercially
developed area to the north of the GM plant, along Beechcroft Road.

The direct route will reduce travel times for tractor-trailer trucks moving through the area, shift
truck traffic off local roadways, and allow other motorists to stay on a public road without
diverging from the main traffic movement.

saturn parkway
The project will improve sight lines on Beechcroft Road and add turn lanes. // CITY OF SPRING HILL

Installation of silt fences and other pre-construction activities will begin May 30, with the groundbreaking expected in the first week of June, said Jennica Greffe, a project manager for Superior Construction, the contractor overseeing the Saturn/Beechcroft design-build project. The Beechcroft improvements will be built first, followed by the Saturn Parkway extension starting this fall and running into next year. The entire project is projected to be complete by Christmas 2019, Greffe said.

During construction, the speed limit on Beechcroft will be reduced to 30 mph just west
of Cleburne Road to the Meadows of Spring Hill subdivision near the railroad tracks. It
will be increased to a permanent 35 mph speed limit when construction is complete.

The $47 million project will:

  • Extend the existing four-lane Saturn Parkway north as a two-lane from where it currently terminates at the GM-Spring Hill Manufacturing facility intersecting with the realigned Beechcroft Road (S.R. 247);
  • Widen Beechcroft to three lanes, two travel lanes and a center turn lane, with curb and gutter;
  • Construct an eastbound Beechcroft right turn lane onto Cleburne Road, and construct a westbound Beechcroft left turn lane onto Cleburne to help manage school traffic
  • Construct an eastbound Beechcroft right turn lane onto Town Center Parkway;
  • Modify the turning radius at the intersection of U.S. 31 (Main Street) and Stephen P. Yokich Parkway to improve right turns for tractor-trailer trucks;
  • Reduce the slope of a large hill on Beechcroft to greatly improve driver visibility;
  • Add a turn lane into the Meadows of Spring Hill subdivision;
  • Construct a grade-separated overpass bridge over the CSX railroad, which will resolve long existing public safety issues with trains blocking the roadway while loading and unloading freight at the GM facility. The bridge will be built just south of the existing rail crossing so as to not impact traffic;
  • Construct a bridge crossing McCormack Creek Branch on the new road alignment, and replace a culvert;
  • Construct a bridge over the GM Plant employee parking entrance.

Drivers should use extra caution and never speed through the work zone. The speed limit on the new Saturn extension will be 40 mph.

The construction will periodically include partial lane closures, with a flagger directing one lane of traffic between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. The project could potentially involve some full road closures with detours, which would be publicly advertised in advance. There also have been discussions of a possible full closure of the Beechcroft/Cleburne intersection to allow for completing the intersection improvements over a weekend.

Funding for the project includes $37.6 million in federal funds and $9.4 million in state funds. In
addition, the developer of the auto parts manufacturing facilities along Beechcroft will fund
roadway improvements fronting the two facilities.

The developer of the new Harvest Point residential subdivision off Cleburne Road also will be constructing road improvements in front of its 1,000-plus home development.

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