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Interstate Dr Sidewalks Or Willow/Jackson Improvements; Council Getting Costs

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Interstate Dr Sidewalks Or Willow/Jackson Improvements; Council Getting Costs

Cookeville City Council will consider two engineering agreements Thursday designed to move forward on the Interstate Drive sidewalks and the Willow Avenue/West Jackson Street upgrades.

The city has money from the State Transportation Block Grant to move forward with both projects. However, the funds likely will not be enough to complete both projects. The Interstate Drive project would build sidewalks from South Jefferson Avenue to Willow Avenue. The Willow/Jackson project would increase turning lanes at that congested intersection.

Cookeville City Manager James Mills said that the city’s strategy will be to allocate funds to one project and move forward with finishing it.

“We’ve made the decision that the West Jackson/Willow will be the priority for improvements on that if it comes down to that,” Mills said. “We’re allocated STBG money every year and we’re hoping that that next allocation will be enough to cover these.”

Community Development Director Jon Ward said all of the right-of-ways have been obtained on the sidewalk project. That acquisition is the next step for the intersection project. Ward said the city spent part of the construction budget obtaining the Interstate Drive right-of-ways and expected to do the same at Willow and Jackson.

“Inflation just busted us,” Ward said.

The original budget for intersection right-of-ways stood at $60,000. It’s now at $140,000. But Ward said that may still be too low.

Ward said the city initiated another STBG project to repair a bridge on Buffalo Valley Road. However, Public Works made repairs to the bridge that T-DOT found acceptable. The council is considering closing that project and allocating the funds to one of the projects.

With both projects taking the next step, if council approves Thursday, Mills said the city could look at estimates and see how best to proceed.

“We’re trying to weave our way through this the best we can and use the monies in the best way we can to accomplish the greatest good for the community,” Mills said.

The sidewalk project started in 2015. Council will vote to approve an updated environmental review Thursday night.


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