RUTHERFORD COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – The Tennessee Department of Transportation is proposing a 4.3-mile, $38 million widening project for Thompson lane in Murfreesboro.
It would affect the roadway between Northwest Broad Street and Memorial Boulevard, creating a turn lane, bike lane, and sidewalks.
Some of the residents who live on Thompson Lane are not happy about the proposal, with one telling News 2 the road is already dangerous and will only get worse.
“It’s a dangerous road to live on, and we have to be very careful about pulling out traffic,” resident Bob DePriest said.
DePriest bought a house on Thompson Lane 19 years ago. He would rather a turn lane be added instead of it being widened.
“They come around sometimes at 40 mph around the other cars in the bike lane,” he told News 2.
The city of Murfreesboro is on board, saying the population was 45,000 in 1990 but has increased to 120,000. They’re expecting it to more than double by 2035 and 2040, climbing to 260,000.
“Right now there are about 14,000 vehicles that travel that road every day,” said TDOT spokeswoman Heather Jensen. “By 2020, that number will increase to 17,000. By 2040, 24,000 people will drive that roadway every day.”
The project is viewed as needed to ease traffic on the northern side of town.
“The only time generally better to do a project, to get ahead of the growth, is yesterday,” city transportation director Dana Richardson said. “Since yesterday is gone it’s today that we are looking to move forward.”
It’s still in the design phase and could be 5 to 10 years out, depending on state and federal funding.
“Money is an issue for the state; we don’t know when this project will be funded,” Jensen said. “The next step will be right-a-way. Again, we are still finalizing the design plan and environmental portion of this project. So, we’re not ready to go to construction.”
TDOT held a meeting with residents where about 100 people attended, many were against the project, and wondered if the city’s proposed expansion of Cherry Lane to 840 would relieve traffic on Thompson Lane.
Richardson said both projects are needed to handle future traffic.
Jim Galaz moved to Tennessee from California eight years ago. He’s in favor of the road being widened.
“People need to drive, and the streets are not widening on their own,” Galaz said.
TDOT officials said the best way for people to provide feedback on the proposed project is via email.
Send questions or concerns to TDOT.Comments@tn.gov. Be sure to specify SR 268 Thompson Lane widening project.