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Plans presented for new connector road near Saundersville Road

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A new road that will run beneath the CSX railroad tracks and connect Saundersville Road with Main Street just west of Hendersonville Animal Hospital is expected to be completed by the end of 2020, according to preliminary plans presented Monday at Hendersonville City Hall.

The joint project between the city and the Tennessee Department of Transportation is estimated to cost around $5 million with the city contributing around $3 million and TDOT matching $2 million.

Jeff Koontz and Brian Hall of AECOM, a consulting firm hired by the city, presented the plans during a public meeting attended by few residents and three aldermen.

Construction is estimated to begin on the project in the spring of 2019.

The project will eventually close the current railroad crossing at Saundersville Road/Winston Hills Parkway just north of Main Street.

The project has been discussed for several years with TDOT notifying the city that the current configuration at Vietnam Veterans Boulevard and Saundersville Road is a safety hazard with cars often backing up on the bypass when a train is coming. In addition, traffic vehicles are often stopped when a train passes, delaying response times, Koontz noted. He also said that crash rates in the area of Saundersville Road/ Winston Hills Parkway and East Main Street are above statewide averages.

The new road would connect at the portion of Saundersville Road in a still undeveloped area of Indian Lake Village, pass beneath the railroad tracks on undeveloped land and connect with East Main Street across from several small office buildings. The plan would widen that portion of East Main and add a stop light to that area.

The new road will feature 11 to 12 feet of travel lanes as well as bike lanes, sidewalks and a grass median, according to Koontz. New traffic signals will be installed at either end of the new road. Koontz said the current stop light at East Main Street and Winston Hills Parkway will remain. However, the traffic light north of the railroad tracks on Saundersville Road will be removed.

Koontz said the project is currently in the environmental and preliminary design phase. A public comment phase is open for the project through July 17. A comment form may be obtained from the city's public works department at City Hall or by emailing City Engineer Marshall Boyd at mboyd@hvilletn.org.

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