New Salem Pike interchange.
Roadwork serves a greater purpose than to cause headaches for local motorists.
In many cases, projects are planned for decades. Each project is designed to serve its own purpose in a series of existing or other new projects.
The city of Murfreesboro has approximately 30 road projects in various stages of development and construction. Some of these road projects, however, have a bigger impact than others.
"They are larger roadway infrastructure projects that have wider spread transportation benefits," said Dana Richardson, traffic director for the city of Murfreesboro. "They have sub-regional benefits to the city and the surrounding counties not just to local traffic."
These new roadways or road widenings will help accommodate additional population growth and will keep more motorists from having to take Murfreesboro's major arterial streets like Old Fort Parkway/Memorial Boulevard, South Church Street and Broad Street to transverse the city.
This list of top projects is in no particular order. More information on these projects are accessible by visiting the city of Murfreesboro's Web site at www.murfreesborotn.gov.
1. Southwest Loop Road — Construction on phase one of the Southwest Loop Road from Salem Highway, just south of Old Salem Road, to Kimbro Road commenced in March. Phase one of the four-lane, median divided roadway is slated to be completed by January 2008.
In its entirety the Southwest Loop Road, an estimated seven-year project, will extend approximately eight miles from Barfield-Crescent Road and along Kimbro to the point where Kimbro Road makes a 90-degree turn to the north. The Southwest Loop Road will then stretch on to New Salem Highway, bisecting Armstrong Valley Road, and cutting through mostly undeveloped property to the southwest of the city to Franklin Road and connecting with Beesley Road.
The Southwest Loop Road is estimated to cost the city of Murfreesboro $29.7 million with real estate developers paying an estimated $6 million.
Richardson said the city of Murfreesboro initiated project is a "huge undertaking." Its primary intent is to provide alternative routes for motorists, allowing them to transverse the southern and eastern portions of Murfreesboro without taking interior roadways.
The additional lanes also will provide capacity for continued population growth.
Construction on phase two of the project — a five-lane roadway from Barfield-Crescent Road at Lone Oak Drive to Kimbro Road — is expected to start this fall, and be completed by fall 2009.
A specific schedule for the state of construction on phase three of the project — a four-lane divided roadway from New Salem Highway to Franklin Road — has not been estimated yet, but Richardson hopes that construction would begin in a year or two.
2. Joe B. Jackson Parkway extension — The extension of Joe B. Jackson Parkway from the Interstate 24 interchange to South Church Street and from the interchange to John Bragg Highway is currently under design. Construction on the first phase to South Church Street could begin as early as August 2008 with completion slated for August 2010. Design work is just beginning on phase two of the project from Manchester Highway to John Bragg Highway.
The Joe B. Jackson extension is designed to give residents living in eastern Murfreesboro another option when traveling to Interstate 24 and to western Murfreesboro.
The 7-mile roadway is estimated to cost the city $22.1 million.
3. Cherry Lane extension — The construction of the five-lane extension of Cherry Lane from Northwest Broad Street to Siegel Park is in varying stages. The 3.5-mile city project will cost an estimated $33.6 million.
Construction on the five-lane Cherry Lane extension from Siegel Park to Sulphur Springs Road is currently under design, and Richardson said hopefully will be ready to be bid out for construction in one to two years. The next phase from Sulphur Springs Road to Broad Street, which includes a proposed new interchanges with state Route 840, is currently in the planning stage. Planning of this roadway includes the completion of an interchange justification study.
The extension of this roadway is designed primarily to relieve some of the traffic congestion on Northwest Broad Street and Thompson Lane by providing another alternative for motorists.
4. New Salem Highway widening and Interstate 24 interchange — Construction on the $16.3 million federal and state funded interstate interchange is well under way. It is slated for completion in June 2008.
Construction on the widening of New Salem Highway from a two-lane roadway to a five-lane thoroughfare with curb, gutters and sidewalk from Old Fort Parkway to the new Southwest Loop Road near Armstrong Valley Road won't be bid out for construction until 2011. The project is estimated to cost $16.4 million, the federal government picking up $1.4 million, the state $14.6 million and the city of Murfreesboro $360,000.
The widening of the roadway will provide for extra capacity on New Salem Highway for the anticipated growth in rooftops and to reallocate traffic from other interchanges.
5. State Route 840 interchange and Beesley Road connector — Construction is well under way on the project that will provide greater access to the fast-growing Blackman area of western Murfreesboro. This interchange, which is expected to be complete by fall 2008, has already caught the attention of residential and commercial developers, the most notable being the developers of the proposed Bible Park USA.
The new connector will keep Blackman residents from having to drive to Medical Center Parkway or Old Fort Parkway to gain access to Interstate 24. Local travelers also can use state Route 840 to transverse the county instead of using interior streets like Old Fort Parkway/Memorial Boulevard to access Walter Hill and the rest of east Murfreesboro.
Beesley Road will be rebuilt from a two-lane road to a five-lane curb and gutter road with sidewalks from Franklin Road to Burnt Knob Road.
The total project is estimated at $23.4 million. The state will pick up $17.4 million of the project, the city $2.9 million and Rutherford County $2.9 million.
6. Interstate 24 widening — The second phase of an ongoing federal and state funded widening project is under construction from Franklin Road to South Church Street. The $28.7 million widening from four lanes to eight lanes is scheduled for an August 2008 completion.
The widening is designed to provide greater capacity on the interstate for the growing number of motorists. I-24 will be 8 to 10 lanes from the South Church Street interchange to Medical Center Parkway.
7. Middle Tennessee Boulevard widening — Construction on the widening of Middle Tennessee Boulevard from Main Street to Broad Street from a two-lane to a five-lane roadway with bike lanes and sidewalk is slated for an August 2007 completion date.
The widening of Middle Tennessee Boulevard from Main Street to Greenland Drive from a four-and-five lane roadway to a four-lane median divided road is being planned. While no concrete bid date has been set, Richardson said he hopes construction would be underway in the next two years.
The new roadway is designed to be more pedestrian friendly and attractive for students and visitors to the MTSU campus. The last phase of the project will include the installation of pedestrian walkways, park benches and other amenities fronting the MTSU campus.
8. Franklin Road widening — Physical construction could begin as early as spring 2010 on the federal and state funded widening to four and five lanes of Franklin Road from Overall Creek to state Route 252. The project will cost an estimated $24.7 million.
The project is designed to improve the safety through design improvements and capacity for additional traffic on the already heavily traveled roadway.
9. Rutherford Boulevard widening and bridge over CSX railroad tracks — Construction is under way on the widening of South Rutherford Boulevard from Ransom Drive to Broad Street, and construction on the roadway from South Church Street to approximate Southern Container facility should begin in a couple of weeks.
The third phase from Southern Container to Broad Street is under design and will be bid for construction in the next month or two.
Completion of these three phases will essentially make Rutherford Boulevard four or five lanes from South Church Street to New Lascassas Highway.
A bridge will be constructed over the CSX railroad tracks located a few hundred feet from the intersection with South Church Street.
City officials said the bridge over the South Rutherford Boulevard railroad tracks is needed for general safety and to help traffic flow.
"We are trying to take the train conflicts as an operational variable out of the transportation system," Richardson said. "We are intentionally trying to improve traffic flow on the arterial system."
The bridge should be complete by summer 2009 while the widening project should be completed by spring 2008. The entire project will cost the city an estimated $16 million.
10. Florence Road reconstruction — Construction is well under way on the reconstruction of Florence Road from Manson Pike to Northwest Broad Street from two to three lanes with curb and gutters and sidewalks. Construction is slated for a July 2008 completion.
The project has an estimated cost of $7.4 million with the city of Murfreesboro and Rutherford County splitting the costs.
The main reason behind this road reconstruction is safety, Richardson said. Currently there are no shoulders on this substandard county road.
The intersection of Old Nashville Highway and Florence Road is being realigned and signalized with the projects. The skewed intersection will be realigned to a 90-degree angle.