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TDOT recants initial denial of responsibility
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Tennessee Department of Transportation is now accepting full responsibility for the redesign plans of the intersection on the bypass in front of Three Star Mail.

It was a failure to communicate, says TDOT spokesperson Jennifer Flynn.

“There was some internal miscommunication at TDOT that resulted in incorrect information getting out on this,” she said. “Please accept my apology on behalf of TDOT and our regional director Joe Deering for any misinformation that came out about this SIA road/intersection modification project.”

Flynn’s apology was for an email from Deering to local resident Max Bell, who voiced his disproval via email to TDOT about the removal of merges in that area. Deering replied the “plans are as requested by the city” and that all comments needed to be made in that direction.

McMinnville officials only requested the extension of Magness Drive under TDOT’s State Industrial Access (SIA) Program to alleviate traffic concerns when Motlow’s state-of-the-art Automation and Robotics Training Center is complete.

The Magness Drive extension requires a break in an existing controlled-access fence on the bypass, a state route. Flynn says TDOT agreed to allow the city to connect its street to the bypass under the stipulation the intersection be redesigned.

“For TDOT to agree to break the controlled-access fence to extend Magness Drive, TDOT required the connection between SR-380 and SR-1 be redesigned in the interest of safety,” said Flynn. “TDOT developed the concept for the entire project, which is being funded through the SIA program.”

Due to the number of motor vehicle accidents, removal of the merges is considered a safety measure.

Members of the Industrial Development Board are among members of the community who have voiced displeasure about the redesign plans, which also include making Sparta Street dead end in front of U.S. Auto Sales. During its last meeting on Thursday, the IDB discussed writing an official letter on behalf of the board opposing the redesign.

TDOT’s redesign plans remain unchanged.