Crews have yet to break ground for sidewalks along Harding Place in south Nashville but work is well underway, according to Metro Public Works.
Plans for the Harding Place Pedestrian Network Project were announced in August of 2011.
Tennessee Department of Transportation officials and Nashville Mayor Karl Dean stood side-by-side in support of the project that would put sidewalks along Harding Place from Nolensville Road to Interstate 24.
“With this sidewalk, the residents in this area will now have a safer way to walk from their homes to retail shops, restaurants and bus stops, as well as to church and to school,” Mayor Dean said at the time.
Today, the road and the limited walkways remain the same.
For the last year, Metro Public Works has been working behind the scenes to keep the project moving forward.
The project includes two phases. Phase I covers Harding Place from Nolensville Road to Tampa Drive. It will provide approximately one mile of sidewalks, curbs and gutters, and a pedestrian bridge at Seven Mile Creek, at a cost of $2.5 million.
The bulk of the portion of the project is covered by a TDOT Enhancement Grant.
TDOT is also providing additional funding for crosswalks and crosswalk signals.
Phase II covers Harding Place from Tampa Drive to I-24, with one-half mile of sidewalks. The $2 million portion will be fully funded by Metro.
Although funding is secured for the entire project, it does not come without challenges.
The use of federal and state money, in addition to local dollars, requires Metro to follow specific design plans and processes. Environmental studies, right-of-way acquisitions, and construction bids are the most time-consuming.
Currently, there is only a narrow, pedestrian-made path that navigates around thick brush, ditches and guardrails along Harding Place.
The path comes dangerously close to the roadway where 44,000 vehicles pass every day at a speed limit of 40 miles-per-hour.
The sidewalks are expected to be constructed on the south side of Harding Place, opposite the current makeshift pedestrian path, to avoid overhead power lines.
Construction is expected to start next year, pending final negotiations and settlements with property owners to clear the way for work.
Nashville's News 2 has also learned another gap of sidewalk will be filled in the coming months.
On the other side of Harding Place, between Timberhill and Danby Driver, toward Interstate 65, construction crews are on standby.
Affected property owners have been notified and construction bids are expected in the next two to three months.