McMinnville officials are requesting a meeting with Tennessee Department of Transportation to discuss its plans on redesigning the intersection on the bypass.
TDOT economic development coordinator Danielle Hagewood, who presented the redesign plans to the city in August, will be invited for a round two discussion.
“I spoke at length with TDOT on this issue since we’ve had people come to us with complaints about the way the road was redesigned where it dead ends on Sparta Street,” said McMinnville Mayor Ben Newman. “In speaking with Ms. Hagewood from TDOT, she said this is something they had wanted to address for some time – that particular merge that comes into State Route 1, Highway 70S. They said that when people merge and then try to turn left fairly quickly onto Vo Tech Drive that causes wrecks.”
Prompting the state to action was a request from the city to allow Magness Drive to be extended and connect to the bypass. The request was approved contingent upon the intersection being completely redesigned.
“Once we started looking at this,” said Newman, “they are taking it a step further to also address that traffic issue and that safety issue that they’ve been wanting to address for some time. That’s why they are dead-ending that road right there.”
Alderman Everett Brock, who says more motorists go straight, offered an alternative that would allow the merge to stay but prevent motorists from using that area to turn.
“There’s another way to do it,” he said. “They put a barrier beyond where it merges. It would force people who are coming from the bypass and going into the doctor’s office to turn at the red light, turn at the next red light in front of the mall and go up the proper way. People coming inbound would have to go to the light and take a left and take another left at the next light. Then, they would also be in the proper lane. There’s a lot more people who are going straight and not turning.”
Alderman Kate Alsbrook says TDOT probably knows what’s best.
“This is just a positive thing for our community. It is $5.7 million worth of work that TDOT is willing to do,” she said. “Even though we don’t like the construction of this, the Tennessee Department of Transportation said that this is best for this intersection.”
No date has been set for Hagewood, or another TDOT representative, to address the city’s concerns.