70S debate divides community
Tuesday, December 11, 2012 11:13 am
Imagine that you had the power to pick the route for an expanded state Route 70 in Woodbury.
Would you build the road straight through town? Or maybe you would prefer a route that ran north of town near the Industrial Park at Stones River Hospital?
But let's not forget Woodbury's south side. Perhaps running a four-lane though there would help the city grow?
The state of Tennessee is open to several options when it comes to expanding Highway 70 in Woodbury, State. Rep. Mark Pody said Monday. But before any option is considered, taxpayers need to decide the right path.
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Tennessee Department of Transportation has taken the stance that the local community should approve the route before any action is taken," Pody said.
So is there a rush for approval?
Funding is not currently available for the project which would connect the new four-lane version of state Route 70 with John Bragg Parkway.
"I'm not saying it is completely dead, but we are not at the head of the list," Pody said.
It's important that Woodbury residents look ahead to the future, the state representative said.
"We must make the decision for our kids and our grand kids on what is best for the future of Cannon County," he said.
The road needs to be completed and that is the state's goal, but it should not be done without input from Cannon County taxpayers. Naturally, there is some division on what path should be pursued, the representative said.
For example, some favor the northern plan as being less expensive and more supportive for industrial growth. Others might like the southern plan as being more supportive of residential growth. Others, downtown businesses in particular, fear that taking traffic north or south would destroy their business, he said.
The town of Dickson had a similar dilemma and they decided to improve the existing roadways and route the traffic through their downtown. This is being done along with a new traffic plan that coordinates signals and flow, he said.
"I'm not saying we can or should consider that, but we do want some local agreement on what would be best for Woodbury," Pody said.
At any rate, no funding is currently available for the project, but it would be best if Cannon County could reach an agreement soon on a path, he said. The state is funding projects based upon local agreement.
"They are not going to force it down anyone's throat," he said.
The need for new and expanded roads in the Volunteer state is great so other counties are going to move ahead if they can reach a consensus.
What Woodbury must do is reach a consensus on the best path. This can be done by having a public referendum or if the consensus is overwhelming by a vote of the county commission, he said.