It's been several years now since the Tennessee Department of Transportation completed the widening and improvement of Highway 70 from Smithville to Highway 96 at Liberty. But TDOT's plans for extension of the project from Highway 96 to just west of the Wilson County line has apparently been put on hold due to funding.
Although TDOT completed right-of-way (property) acquisition in November 2009, the project is not in the previous or current 3 year work program for construction funding, according to a TDOT spokesman.
In an effort to try and jump start the project, the county commission Monday night adopted a resolution asking members of the Tennessee Congressional delegation and Tennessee State Legislature to appropriate funds for the highway and for TDOT to let bids in its next round of contracts.
According to TDOT, the proposed project entailed reconstruction of State Route 26 (U.S. 70) from west of the Wilson County line to near State Route 96 in DeKalb County
TDOT's description of the project is as follows:
•The project is 6.2 miles in length.
•Right-of-way (property) acquisition was completed in November 2009.
•The project is not in the previous or current 3 year work program for construction funding.
•The design of the project calls for two 12-foot travel lanes in each direction, a 12-foot continuous center turn lane, and 12-foot shoulders.
•Within the city limits of Alexandria, the design calls for two 12-foot travel lanes in each direction, a 12-foot continuous center turn lane, 10-foot shoulders, curb and gutter, and 5-foot sidewalks on each side.
•The original preliminary construction estimate as of July 2014 is approximately $26.3 million.
The resolution, as adopted by the county commission Monday night, is as follows:
"Whereas, the State of Tennessee, Department of Transportation has identified Highway 70 near State Route 96 to a point 2,967 feet west of the Wilson County line as being in need of widening, and
Whereas, the State of Tennessee, Department of Transportation has designed plans and acquired the necessary right-of-way to make the improvements described in the aforementioned roadway project, and
Whereas, many land owners and businesses have been displaced and affected by the acquisition of right-of-way through the power of eminent domain, and
Whereas, the State of Tennessee Department of Transportation has yet to let the construction for the roadway project and has delayed the project for more than 10 years, and
Whereas, the improvements are sorely needed for the safety of the traveling public, and to promote economic development of the region, and
Whereas, funds for highway projects such as this are derived from both state and federal sources.
Now, therefore be it resolved that the Board of County Commissioners, in regular session assembled, hereby requests and implore the Tennessee Congressional Delegation and the Tennessee State Legislature to appropriate funds for the completion of the project and further requests and implore the State of Tennessee Department of Transportation to let the construction for the roadway project in its next round of bid letting," the resolution concluded.