The city is set to take bids this fall on the Middle Tennessee Boulevard improvement project, an estimated $11.2 million construction job that’s expected to change the flow of traffic and create a fresh look on the university’s west side.
The federal government is providing $8.5 million and MTSU is kicking in another $3 million for the work, which is slated to begin between September and November and take two and a half years, according to Murfreesboro Transportation Director Dana Richardson.
The overall project, including engineering, right-of-way acquisition, and construction is estimated to cost approximately $12.2 million and Murfreesboro will participate in funding and provide in-kind funding, in part through local utility work on the project, which currently has an estimated $1 million deficit, Richardson said.
The project was delayed because the federal government audited Murfreesboro’s right-of-way acquisition procedure and required that the city obtain a temporary construction easement from the university, Richardson said.
Stretching from East Main Street to Greenland Drive, work will include widening the road to four lanes with bike lanes, new sidewalks, adding a landscaped median and installing traffic signals at Division Street and East Lytle Street. Two university tennis courts closest to Middle Tennessee Boulevard will be removed in the widening.
“A lot of the work is not just for vehicular traffic but is also being undertaken to better accommodate bikes and pedestrian traffic,” Richardson said.
In addition, brick corner markers will be built at Bell Street and Middle Tennessee Boulevard at the Bell Street entrance and at East Main and Middle Tennessee Boulevard, according to the university.
The marker at East Main with the university logo will be similar to one at the Rutherford Boulevard entrance, MTSU spokesman Jimmy Hart said. The Bell Street entrance will have brick walls similar to walls at the Blue Raider and
Greenland drives entrance and to those under construction at Champion Way and Greenland.
Lighting, trees and walkways are part of the project on the campus side of Middle Tennessee Boulevard, and new entrances are planned at Faulkinberry Drive and at Murphy Center.
The campus has multiple entrances and exits across campus that can be used as alternative routes when construction is under way, Hart said.
Cherry Lane extension
Cherry Lane in north Murfreesboro between Memorial Boulevard and NW Broad Street is a three-phase project. The first phase from Memorial Boulevard to the western boundary of Siegel Park was completed in late 2005 for approximately $1.8 million. The first part of the Cherry Lane improvement project comprised construction of four lanes, with a median, stretching beside the soccer complex from Memorial Boulevard, where a signal light was installed.
The second phase, which is in the preliminary engineering stage, stretches from the western boundary of the Siegel Park to the Alford Road and Sulphur Springs Road intersection and is estimated to cost approximately $10 million dollars.
The third phase, an estimated $29.7 million project, will run from the Alford Road and Sulphur Springs Road intersection to a new interchange to be constructed at state Route 840 and then to Northwest Broad Street. Federal funding will total $9.4 million for the project, and the city’s portion is slated at $20.2 million. Murfreesboro officials plan to hold a public meeting this summer on phase three of the Cherry Lane extension project. It is estimated that the entire project could be completed within seven to 10 years.
Cherry Lane’s extension is designed to shift traffic off Thompson Lane and enable motorists to reach Northwest Broad Street and 840 without having to travel south on Thompson Lane, Richardson said.
Thompson Lane, nevertheless, is to go through a widening project that would change the existing two-lane road to a five-lane road with sidewalks. This project is to be managed by the Tennessee Department of Transportation at an estimated cost of approximately $30 million. It could take five to seven years before the project is set for bidding.
Bradyville Pike widening
The city plans to hold another public meeting for the Bradyville Pike widening project from Southeast Broad Street to Rutherford Boulevard in late 2014, according to Richardson.
Work is in the final design phase, following Federal Highway Administration approval of the preliminary engineering and environmental impact documents. Right-of-way acquisition should be done by mid-2016.
The preliminary estimated cost for the construction phase is $5 million, but the project, which will include widening to three lanes with sidewalks and bicycle lanes, is expected to wind up costing more, Richardson said. Since Bradyville Pike is a state highway, TDOT will provide funding for the lion’s share of the work, and the federal government share is $1.4 million while Murfreesboro is set to pay $366,880, according to Richardson.
“It’s something the city needs, but it’s also a state highway, so we’re sharing funding,” Richardson said. It is hoped that construction could be completed by late 2019.
The final phase of Veterans Parkway – from Barfield Road to St. Andrews Drive – is in the midst of construction sub-grade and fill work and is expected to be completed in December 2015.
The 2.1-mile, $7.6 million job is the final part of the Veterans Parkway project that loops around the city’s west side and dead-ends at Burnt Knob Road.
This last section was put on hold because of the economic downturn in the late 2000s, but the city awarded a construction contract in November 2013 after the economy rebounded, according to Richardson.