published Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

$32 million TDOT Chattanooga regional headquarters OK'd

Tennessee Department of Transportation Commission John Schroer
Tennessee Department of Transportation Commission John Schroer
Photo by Ben Benton.

HEADQUARTERS GETS GREEN LIGHT

• The new building in Enterprise South will replace the existing building on Cromwell Road, built in 1955.

• The headquarters will include an administrative building, materials lab, wireless communications building, district maintenance, equipment maintenance, fueling, highway marking, salt brine building and sheds.

• General Services Department officials will handle design and construction. If all goes according to plan the new HQ could be completed in 2 1/2 to 3 years.

Source: TDOT

NASHVILLE -- Plans are back on track for the Tennessee Department of Transportation's proposed new $32 million regional transportation headquarters in Chattanooga.

Members of the State Building Commission's executive subcommittee on Monday unanimously approved the project after TDOT officials successfully addressed concerns over funding.

Those questions, which cropped up this month at a full State Building Commission, resulted in the panel sending the project to the four-member executive committee.

Members' main issue was whether funds were coming out of previously approved road construction or road maintenance projects.

TDOT Commissioner John Schroer at the time had said the money was coming from savings on capital projects involving buildings. He promised to get members documents providing full details on funding.

"We received some explanatory information," said state Treasurer David Lillard, a Building Commission member, during Monday's meeting. "In light of that I move we approve the item."

Schroer told subcommittee members he spoke last Friday with House Speaker Beth Harwell, R-Nashville, who had first raised questions about funding sources.

"We answered all her questions and she was OK," he said. "Her concern was that we might have canceled some road projects and that is not true."

The commissioner acknowledged in response to a question from Secretary of State Tre Hargett that some maintenance projects had been put on hold.

Following the meeting, Schroer said "a lot" of those had to do with capital improvements for the existing Region II facility on Cromwell Road.

"We don't want to do any capital improvements on that facility if we're going to build a new one," Schroer said. "We have capital improvement projects going all the time, so we just kind of looked at what we were doing in that area and decided this is kind of where we needed to spend our money."

Contact staff writer Andy Sher at asher@timesfreepress.com or 615-255-0550.

about Andy Sher...

Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...

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