By ALEXANDER WILLIS
The U.S. 31 project, which will see Main Street in Spring Hill widened to five lanes, is officially under way after the Spring Hill Board of Mayor and Alderman unanimously voted Tuesday night to sign an agreement with the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) on the project.
Earlier discussions with the state revealed that the project would be required to begin no later than eight months after the city entered an agreement with TDOT, meaning the first phases of the project are set to begin later this year.
The U.S. 31 widening project calls for five lanes from Miles Johnson Parkway all the way to Buckner Road, right at the southern border of Thompson’s Station.
Mayor Rick Graham was visibly pleased with the unanimous vote to enter the agreement with the state, calling the vote “our easiest decision tonight,” with the rest of the board visibly pleased as well.
The project will see five separate phases of development; environmental clearance, preliminary engineering, right-of-way, utility coordination, and finally, construction. The first two phases – the environmental clearance and preliminary engineering – could be completed in as little as 18 months, according to city administrator Victor Lay. The state had previously estimated these two phases to take up to three years, but after negotiations had led TDOT to hire an outside consultant for the work rather than doing it in-house, that estimation was cut in half.
The project will see the city of Spring Hill liable for $2 million of its total cost, estimated to be $19 million.
While the U.S. 31 widening project is certainly a large undertaking, it is by no means the only road project going on in the city. During a speaking panel on Tuesday, Graham said that the city of Spring Hill has “over $220 million in roads and infrastructure [projects] in different phases of planning right now,” and that residents and city staff are just starting to “see that light at the end of the tunnel now.”
Granted the agreement is signed before the end of January, the first phase of widening U.S. 31 will commence in August of this year.