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TDOT provides mall intersection update
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Motorists traveling near Three Star Mall no doubt have noticed an ever-changing maze of construction designed to provide easier access to Magness Drive and to improve pedestrian travel. - photo by Bethany Porter
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An aerial view of the plans for the TDOT project shows the proposed new routes for the area in front of Three Star Mall and the connection to Magness Dr.

The construction in front of Three Star Mall has sparked a lot of questions and confusion. The project consists of two intersection improvements that will also impact pedestrian travel. 

According to Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) Community Relations Officer Rae Anne Bradley, the project will create a new road connecting Magness Drive to SR 1 and it will improve the connection from SR 380 and SR 1. She says these improvements will include signalized intersections receiving new signals and poles, additional travel lanes, new sidewalks, ADA ramps and pedestrian crosswalks. SR 380 and the new extension of Magness Drive will also have new sidewalks and ADA ramps installed. 

The signalized intersection on SR 1 will include access to the new Magness Drive extension. This extension will provide new access for the Motlow Robotics Center as well as to other businesses in the area. 

Bradley says, prior to the construction, SR 380 merged into SR 1 east of Three Star Mall. Part of this project includes removing that merge and having traffic on SR 380 use the two signalized intersections to access SR 1. Then, there will be two through-lanes for eastbound traffic on SR 1 instead of the previous single lane that merged with SR 380. New drainage structures have also been added as well as a new curb-and-gutter. 

The completion date for this project was estimated for Oct. 20, 2023, but supply issues delayed it.

“The contractor has cited some supply chain issues and material shortages. We’re working with the contractor on this and reviewing schedules monthly to determine if any time extensions will be added to the contract,” said Bradley. 

City Administrator Nolan Ming breaks the construction into two projects. There is the TDOT State Industrial Access (SIA) project and the TDOT Multimodal Access grant for a sidewalk along Sparta Street from Mauzy Street to Security Circle that he says the city has been working on for several years. 

In the TDOT SIA project, Ming says there are a few key benefits. He says this project will allow new vehicular access to the industrial park campus, the expanding Robotics Center, Motlow and Ascension Saint Thomas River Park Hospital. Another benefit is there will be signalized crossings at the intersection of Hwy 70S and Magness Drive as well as at Sparta Street and the main Three Star Mall entrance. 

“(This) will allow for much safer travel by pedestrians on foot or bicycle,” said Ming. 

Ming says the TDOT Multimodal Access grant sidewalk project has benefits as well. The new sidewalk from Mauzy Street to Security Circle will connect to the TDOT SIA project sidewalk. “This will fill a gap in our sidewalks in this section of Sparta Street and allow for much safer travel by pedestrians on food or bicycle from downtown all the way out to Motlow, River Park Hospital and Champion Chevrolet,” said Ming.

The city-funded portion on Magness Drive will have a sidewalk connection from the end of the TDOT SIA portion of work, near the entrance to Warren County Animal Control on Magness Drive to Vo-Tech Drive. 

“Overall, when complete, the projects combined will provide much safer and easier access to those traveling on foot or bicycle to the Three Star Mall area, the health department, the industrial park campus, the Robotics Center, Motlow and River Park Hospital,” Ming explained.