A project is underway designed to help ease traffic throughout Nashville, and it will have a direct impact on Antioch.
This is a critical issue to Antioch. During the mayor’s race, informal polls conducted online by AntiochTenn.com indicated that traffic was one of the top concerns of Southeast Nashville Citizens, usually rating higher than crime.
A key part of the project is the synchronization of traffic lights for 19 groups of traffic lights along major arteries.
In Antioch, this includes 19 traffic signals on Bell Road. Just outside of Antioch, 47 traffic signals along Nolensville Road will synchronized.
Metro Public Works also has additional signal timing projects along Murfreesboro Pike and Old Hickory Boulevard.
According to the Metro Public Works website, “Time of Day plans for each intersection will be developed based on traffic counts at each intersection. Weekday time of day plans for the AM peak, mid-day peak, and PM peak times will be developed. Timing plans will also be developed for off peak periods, including week nights, weekends, holidays, and special events as necessary.”
Speaking at the Crossings Nashville Action Partnership meeting on July 12, Jacobia Dowell, Council Member for District 32, addressed traffic.
“They are going to be synchronizing the lights, but I don’t think that will help much,” she told a group of about 60 people.
She stated one of the significant problems plaguing Antioch traffic is infrastructure.
“We have outgrown our infrastructure,” Dowell said. “We have old zoning from the 80s and we are becoming a high density area but don’t have the infrastructure for it.”
In an interview with AntiochTenn.com, Mayor Megan Barry said that the traffic issue does not have a singular solution.
“Clearly there’s not just one thing,” Barry said. “It will take a multi-faceted approach.”
Barry pointed to short-term fixes, such as the synchronization of lights project, which she said will impact about 900 traffic signals by the end of the year. She also pointed to other projects.
For example, improvements at the intersection of Bell Road and Mt. View will make the intersection easier for pedestrians, add additional left turn lanes, and extend sidewalks.
Here’s what the Metro website says about the project:
Peak traffic hours are often congested by a limited amount of space for left turning vehicles at this intersection. In addition, the pedestrian facilities at the intersection do not provide adequate comfort and safety for the many pedestrians traversing it. Metro Public Works plans to extend the sidewalk on Bell Road and provide new pedestrian signals improve safety for foot-travelers. Plans also include improvements to signal timing to maximize the efficiency of the intersection and reduce commute time for the areas residents. Improvements:
- Remove concrete median on Mt. View Road and add a second left turn lane.
- New concrete refuge island in south west corner of intersection
- New pedestrian signals with protected pedestrian crossings
- Sidewalk extension and improvements with curb ramps
There are also improvements planned for Hobson Pike and Pinhook Road, which,
according to Metro, serves 10,000 vehicles per day, including significant school traffic. These include turn lanes, repaving and restriping the intersection, revising signal timing and making bike-friendly improvements.
Barry also said there are larger pieces. One such piece are the expansion plans for the Hickory Hollow Drive exit on Interstate 24.
The project has been approved by the federal government and is now in the hands of the state for funding. She feels confident that project will move forward soon and it should help handle some of the growth that is expected from the Century Farms Development, located behind Conn’s and Floor & Décor, underway.
Barry also said that the overall mix may need to include things like light rail, which will take regional approaches.
It’s not enough to ease Antioch traffic, but it is a start and an indication of a plan coming together.