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Murfreesboro and Smyrna were awarded a total of $1.65 million from the state-funded 2020-2021 Multimodal Access Grant for sidewalk and crosswalk improvements.

Murfreesboro received $703,605 to put toward upgrading the stretch that runs from Middle Tennessee Boulevard to Apollo Drive. Smyrna received $950,000 to revamp Enon Springs Road to Sam Davis Road.

The Multimodal Access Grant was created to benefit pedestrians, bicyclists and transit users through infrastructure projects along state routes, according to the state’s website. The state covers 95% of the improvement projects, not exceeding $950,000.

Applicants who participate in the program are required to pay the remaining 5%. Murfreesboro’s cost will be $37,031.

The city plans to use the grant to offset the shortfall of money needed to complete the second phase of the Mercury Boulevard sidewalk improvement project being funded by the Transportation Alternative Program grant. The TAP grant, awarded in 2018, provided $1 million for construction-use only, according to an email from Murfreesboro Public Information Officer Mike Browning.

The new grant money will cover engineering, right-of-way and construction costs for the second phase of the project.

The section of town that may benefit the most from these improvements are the neighboring areas of Hobgood Elementary School and the Public Library System’s Technology Engagement Center located side-by-side just off Mercury Boulevard.

Pedestrians traveling to and from Middle Tennessee State University would also benefit from this addition as the campus is located just a half-mile north of the project, according to the application.

The overall project is set to cover the part of Mercury Boulevard from Southeast Broad Street to Apollo Drive that lacks sidewalks. The second phase is focused on extending sidewalk installation from Middle Tennessee Boulevard, where phase one ends, to east Apollo Drive.

The city plans to install approximately 7,300 feet of five-foot wide sidewalks, or 3,650 feet on each side. The width of the sidewalks is compliant with the requirements set by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The installation of 2½-foot wide curbs and gutters, to be placed alongside pre-existing two-foot shoulders, will also be included where needed.

The intersection at Mercury Boulevard and Minerva Drive will also be improved with marked crosswalk areas.

The costs to Smyrna for its project is about $47,500. The city plans to use its grant funds to install sidewalks from Enon Springs Road to the sidewalks Alta Depot is putting down near Sam Davis Road, according to an email from Smyrna Public Information Officer Kathy Ferrell.

Storm water piping and curbing along Lowry Street are also included in the improvement plans.

The city is waiting for a “Notice to Proceed for the Environmental and Design Phase” to start the project, according to Ferrell.