Cookeville Mayor Ricky Shelton said the city beginning phase one of the East 10th Street widening project is a foot in the right direction.
Shelton said progress has been a long time coming, saying that widening has been needed for literally 20 years.
“If we could get it at least to the Fisk Road area sooner than later,” Shelton said. “That could help alleviate some of the traffic coming in, in the morning and especially the school traffic.”
Shelton said that patience on all fronts will be important during widening. He said anytime traffic lanes have to get reduced, it seems to get worse before it gets better. However, Shelton said to remember this is what progress looks like with road construction.
“We broke ground on South Jefferson Avenue, that T-DOT project, $39.6 million,” Shelton said. “Going from I-40 to 111, that project, making that from two lanes to five lanes but they said that would be finished in September of 2024. So you’re looking at a three year project, so again you can imagine the delays that, that’s going to cause in traffic.”
Shelton said having a partner on widening East 10th Street is a bonus.
“Partnering with the shopping center developer as they’re now building that, they’re going to do part of the project,” Shelton said. “The city committed to the other part of that project of widening from Chocolate Drive up through and past Old Kentucky Road. So it will at least get the first part of that started.”
Cookeville City Council accepted an almost $1.2 million bid to begin the East 10th Street widening project at a special called meeting Tuesday morning. The $1,174,000 bid from Rogers Group is for the first phase of work from Wilson Avenue to Chocolate Drive.