CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – Mayor Kim McMillan is recommending $9.6 million in capital spending in her 2019 budget for design and construction of the first phase of the Northeast Connector, a major thoroughfare that will link the Wilma Rudolph Boulevard commercial district with rapidly growing Northeast Clarksville residential neighborhoods.
The Northeast Connector is designed to relieve traffic at Exits 1 and 4 and on the 101st Parkway and Trenton Road. The first phase of the project is also a key factor leading to development of a major conference center and hotel project just north of Wilma Rudolph Boulevard.
In April, the City and the Montgomery County Industrial Development Board announced a public-private partnership with Stoney Creek Hospitality, which will invest more than $30 million in private-sector dollars to build the long-needed conference center and hotel. It will be near where the Northeast Connector meets Wilma Rudolph Boulevard.
Mayor McMillan’s 2019 budget also calls for just over $2 million for design and right-of-way acquisition for the Professional Park Extension, another City-built thoroughfare which will connect Exit 8 to Dunlop Lane, creating another Interstate 24 gateway to the Tennova Hospital district and Wilma Rudolph Boulevard.
Overall, the Mayor’s budget recommends a 6.2 percent increase in the Street Department’s annual operating budget, to nearly $14 million, and $15 million in capital spending on city road construction. This proposed spending on Clarksville’s streets and roads accounts for $29 million of the Mayor’s 2019 General Fund budget, which totals $98,155,394.
“Let me paint the picture of how we are approaching our roads,” Mayor McMillan said in her budget speech May 24. “When the Northeast Connector and the Professional Park Extension are completed, Clarksville will have a pair of major new thoroughfares that will provide another non-Interstate 24 connection from Exit 1 to Exit 8.”
“This connecting route will take congestion off of Trenton Road, the 101st Parkway, Wilma Rudolph Boulevard and off the Interstate 24 interchanges at both Exit 1 and Exit 4. That’s exactly the kind of road network improvements that Clarksville desperately needs.”
New or ongoing City road-project funding requested in the 2019 budget includes:
* Rossview Road improvements, $1.2 million. This is part of a larger $11 million Tennessee Department of Transportation project to widen and realign Rossview Road in front of the Schools Complex from the Interstate to Page Estates.
* Intersection improvements at Meriweather and Trenton roads, $750,000.
* Whitfield Road engineering and design, $500,000.
* New sidewalks, $250,000.
In her budget presentation, Mayor McMillan also noted that the majority of Clarksville’s major thoroughfares are state highways, maintained and controlled by the Tennessee Department of Transportation.
“And, if you haven’t noticed, thanks to the Legislature’s passage of the IMPROVE Act and our strong relationship with the Tennessee Department of Transportation, Clarksville is in the middle of a road building boom,” the Mayor said.
At present, more than $145 million worth of Tennessee Department of Transportation projects are under construction or committed and in development in and around the City of Clarksville.
Several years ago the City created a special road fund from a slice of available sales tax proceeds, and these resources have been used in negotiations with TDOT to advance critical projects on several of Clarksville’s main thoroughfares that are state highways.
This includes the important TDOT project to widen Warfield Boulevard/SR 374 to five lanes from Dunbar Cave Road to Wilma Rudolph Boulevard. This $21.6 million project includes major intersection improvements at Dunbar Cave Road, Rossview Road and Ted Crozier Boulevard. And significant local funding is being added to the state’s $11 million dollar Rossview Road project.
These big TDOT-funded projects also are underway:
* TDOT recently broke ground on a $65 million project to build a new McClure Bridge over the Cumberland River and improve SR 48/13 in the City from the bridge to Zinc Plant Road.
* A $36.7 million project will widen SR 48/Trenton Road in the City from I-24 to the 101st Airborne Division Parkway. This project, recently moved up on the list, is now in the engineering and design phase.
* A $11.4 million project will improve SR 13/US 79 near I-24 from Cracker Barrel Boulevard to International Boulevard.
* Soon, TDOT will begin a project to add traffic signals, a rear access road and improvements to U.S. 41A between SR 76 and Richview Road. This will be a major access upgrade of this heavily congested road that serves many businesses and restaurants.
“Yes, our rapid growth has created road challenges,” Mayor McMillan said. “But, when you add up all the work underway by the City and the State to improve Clarksville area streets and roads, I submit we are doing a good job of attacking our problems and providing for our future with strong planning and aggressive investment.”
The proposed route of the Northeast Connector.
The proposed route of the Professional Park Extension near the Rossview Schools Complex.