Smith may pave county road

Friday, November 28, 2008
Former Marshall County Commission Chairman Sam Smith, center, explains his plan to sell land in Giles County that's accessed on a Marshall County Road. Listening are, from left, Commission Chairwoman Mary Ann Neill, County Zoning Director Don Nelson, former Commissioner Doug Martin and, at right, Jim Bingham,a Lewisburg-based engineer hired by Smith.

A Cornersville farmer wants to improve and sell 187 acres he owns in Giles County that are accessible by a Marshall County road he's willing to pave if the state grants a request from the County Highway Commission.

The farmer, former Marshall County Commission Chairman Sam Smith, asked the Highway Commission this week to file his request with the Tennessee Department of Transportation because TDOT controls intersections with state roads.

Smith wants to pave an unnamed road that was built in the mid-1960s by what was then the state Department of Highways when it was building Interstate 65 near its interchange with Pulaski Highway (State Route 12 and U.S. Highway 31A).

"It's kind of an unusual situation," Smith told the highway commissioners. "The property is in Giles County and the access is in Marshall.

"I'm going to two-lane it," he said of the gravel road built to maintain access to Smith farm land that was split when the interstate highway was built.

The property would first be offered as land for residential use, but it could be subdivided for commercial purposes, Smith said.

He appeared with his engineer, Jim Bingham of Lewisburg, on Monday evening when the Highway Commission met just before the monthly meeting of the County Commission.

TDOT's control over intersections with state routes requires a request from a property owner when it's to decide issues regarding access to state roads, Bingham explained.

The narrow, gravel "farm to market" road built by the state is about 450 feet long and, because Smith wants to widen the lane, there would be a wider intersection with Pulaski Highway between an Econo Lodge motel and a McDonald's restaurant, Bingham said.

TDOT is now being asked by county highway commissioners if it would allow Smith to pave a 50-foot-long section of the county road, Bingham said. Jurisdiction over the rest of the 450-foot gravel road rests with the county and highway commissioners showed no objection to improvements to the road.

"So, you need this commission t recommend the next step," Commissioner Dean Delk concluded from Smith's presentation.

Smith agreed and County Highway Superintendent Jerry Williams said a motion was needed for the panel to file a request with TDOT so Smith could be permitted to pave the gravel road's access to Pulaski Highway.

Delk made the motion and the highway commission unanimously agreed. The request is being filed wit TDOT.

The creation of the unnamed access road arises with a resolution by the County Commission in January of 1960 when R.L. McBride Jr. called for adoption of the plan with the state Department of Highways.

In the resolution presented by Commissioner D.W. Moulton, it's noted that the state agreed to "construct such frontage roads so as to permit the development of land adjacent to said projects," meaning projects such as I-65.

The county agreed to maintain such frontage roads, but Bingham said there's been no maintenance needed on the gravel road to Smith's property until he decided to improve the land with a better access road.

"The state had to build a lot of little roads that parallel the interstate," Bingham said.

The access road to Smith's land is about 18 feet wide, the engineer said. Smith would widen it to 24 feet.

"Late spring or early summer is the earliest" time for road paving work to start, Bingham said.