The city will be busy for the next several years with projects in the Bonny Oaks, Highway 58 area, beginning with the already ongoing work to establish roundabouts at the offramp at Highway 153 and Bonny Oaks.
"District 5 is a hot district right now," said city assistant engineer Dennis Malone. "There's a whole lot going on with all the planning and construction that's going on."
He said there shouldn't be too much effect on traffic during the double-roundabout project. Workers have already begun work to take out the shoulder and add another lane. Malone said the ramp shouldn't have to be closed during the three-month construction time since the existing ramp has enough width to accommodate the work.
Phases of an overall project to create a more direct route from Interstate 75 to Highway 58 are moving forward as well. Malone said he recently received approval for the first phase to realign Hickory Valley Road, after which it will be widened to four lanes.
"We're seeking funding to be able to widen the intersection of Hickory Valley and Highway 58," he said. "It's 95 percent designed. Then we'll be going from there and widening out Hickory Valley Road ... then widening Discovery Drive to complete that four-lane section all the way around to Highway 58."
He said he expects the project to take three to four years just based on the typical timeline of environmental studies, designing the project, purchasing necessary right of way - of which there may not be much in this case - and finally construction. But the city's budget concerns could slow down the project.
"Public Works had $33 million in capital projects that we show for this year," he said. "They aren't fluff jobs; they are projects to rehab roadways, make connections, widen roadways, [intelligent transportation] systems and other things that will enhance our infrastructure. The problem with that is we're probably not going to get $33 million for our department. That's where it comes into prioritizing."
Plans to install a roundabout at Bonny Oaks and Jersey Pike is already on hold until officials see if train traffic, which will increase as productions at Volkswagen and Amazon ramp up, "changes people's people driving habits to go down Bonny Oaks."
Malone said he hopes to get started on installing a roundabout at Oakwood and Jersey Pike by this fall.
Once completing a roundabout at Oakwood and Jersey Pike, construction crews will march off to install sidewalks in the immediate area.
"We will make that full connection with sidewalks in that area," Malone said.
Plans are to lay sidewalks along Oakwood from Highway 58 to Jersey Pike, from there to Swann Road, from Swann to Lakeside Elementary School and finally to Washington Hills Recreation Center, he said.
Malone said depending on funding, sidewalks could stretch from Oakwood to Lakeside beginning in fiscal year 2012.
"We might run it through Safe Routes to School on the next round to see if can get [grant money], or we may have to just do it with city funds," he said. "We always look for ways we can make our dollar go farther; one way to make dollars go farther is through grants."
Phase 1 of a project to take sidewalks along Highway 58 from Jersey Pike to Webb Road to Lakeside Elementary is already in design. Malone said he hopes to be in construction by this time next year. Completion of the roundabout at Jersey Pike and Oakwood, which will use right of way to create a multi-modal path, would take the sidewalks over to the Post Office.
News whether Phase 2 of the sidewalk project, from Webb Road to Murray Hills, will be funded through a Tennessee Department of Transportation enhancement grant should be received in August. Malone said he will likely reapply if it's not received.