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City gets $570K for crosswalk
Locust Street intersection grant.jpg
The intersection of North Chancery and Locust streets will receive a crosswalk. A Multimodal Access Grant has been awarded to the city of McMinnville. - photo by Lisa Hobbs

McMinnville has been awarded a sizeable grant to fund construction of a crosswalk on North Chancery Street. 

“The city was awarded the grant for the Locust Street crosswalk in the amount of $570,616,” said McMinnville Mayor Ben Newman. “This is great news. Not sure when we will get it out for bid or actual construction, probably a couple of years out, but we can start the search for engineers and get the ball rolling.” 

The Tennessee Department of Transportation announcement Friday the city is approved for Multimodal Access Grant funding to reconfigure the existing crosswalks at the intersection and install signalization. 

Economic and Community Development assistant director Virginia Alexander applied for the grant after receiving approval to do so from city officials in October 2019. At that time, she estimated a “high end” project would be $690,000 with the city’s portion being $34,506. Multimodal Access Grants pay 95 percent of a project’s total cost, requiring a 5 percent local match.

“The high-end cost is the best of the best, all the bells and whistles,” she said. “It does seem a little high for one intersection but it’s also a larger intersection. You have existing crosswalks. Instead of where they are all now, right at the ends of the sidewalks, you’re moving them back. You’ll be renovating the sidewalks and adding ADA ramps. It may not come in that high by the time they are designing it, but with it being a grant application, you want to ask for as much as you can.”

Along with pedestrian signs on each corner to stop traffic when activated, the grant requests the installation of radar traffic sensors in place of traditional triggers in the roadway to activate the lights for waiting motorists. 

Radar traffic sensors detect movement aboveground. They can also use position and velocity data along with the state of the intersection lights to predict when an approaching vehicle would run a red light. When an imminent red-light running condition is detected, the radar traffic sensor system notifies the intersection signal controller to hold the traffic signals red in all directions until the vehicle has cleared the intersection, thereby avoiding an accident. 

At this time, it is unknown exactly which bells and which whistles will be excluded from the project due to the high end estimated at $690,000, but the actual grant award being $570,616.