An attempt to detour the state’s plan to redesign traffic flow in front of Pacesetters and Three Star Mall has led to confusion about who is in control.
Local resident Max Bell sent an email to the Tennessee Department of Transportation stating his disproval for the redesign plans and the reply was not what he expected.
“I was told these are the city’s plans and I needed to contact the city of McMinnville,” said Bell. “I’m a little confused. If these are the city’s plans, then they can change them. Right?”
During a meeting of McMinnville officials in September, Alderman Everett Brock voiced disproval for the redesign – specifically the removal of all the merges connected to the bypass – and provided the newspaper with an email local residents could use to voice their disproval: TDOT.Comments@tn.gov.
Bell did just that and received a reply from TDOT Region 2 direct/ assistant chief engineer Joe Deering.
“Comments need to be directed toward the city of McMinnville as TDOT will develop plans according to the city’s agreement with the department,” said Deering. “The plans are as requested by the city. You may reach the city of McMinnville at 931-473-1200 for assistance.”
The email was shared with Brock.
“These are not our plans,” said Brock. “The first time we saw them was at a meeting with TDOT and they presented them to us. We didn’t get a say in the redesign. The only thing we requested of TDOT was to allow Magness Drive to connect to the bypass. Everything else was TDOT’s idea. I don’t know where the confusion lies but these are not our redesign plans for the intersection.”
TDOT economic development coordinator Danielle Hagewood provided the city with preliminary drawings in August. Among the proposed changes, the plans include making Sparta Street a dead end in front of U.S. Auto Sales.
TDOT will be contacted by the city to clarify the misunderstanding.