Residents concerned over Cornersville bridge projects

Friday, August 11, 2017

The Cornersville Board of Aldermen received answers on Thursday to several questions they had asked at their July meeting.

Several representatives from the Tennessee Department of Transportation attended the meeting to answer questions and address concerns about the bridge project on Hatchett Hollow Road.

Residents on April Lane, in particular, were concerned about stakes placed by surveyors marking the right-of-way for the project.

In some cases, the stakes pushed far into yards.

TDOT representative Ryan Sweeney assured residents that they could disregard the current boundaries. He explained that, when the project was first laid out in 2012, plans called for raising the road grade by three feet.

Raising the grade, however, would have created issues with water runoff and the plan was scrapped, although the right of way boundaries were not adjusted on the plans.

“We are looking at limiting the scope of the project as far as reducing the right-of-way and the amount of guardrail,” Sweeney said.

He said that plans reflecting the changes would be drawn up and residents will see much less encroachment from the right-of-way.

Copies of the new plans will be placed in the town hall for examination and property owners will be shown how the changes will impact their properties.

The intersection of April Lane with Hatchett Hollow Road will remain essentially unchanged from the current configuration.

Originally, plans called for reworking April Lane in order to reduce the sharp angle where it met Hatchett Hollow Road.

Sweeney said that the project was still scheduled for March allowing for summer construction to avoid conflicts with school traffic.

He added that the right-of-way would be resurveyed and that residents could disregard the existing stakes.

Aldermen also received an update on the East Hill Avenue bridge over the CSX rail line.

Town Administrator Scotty Brock said that he had requested bids for fencing from three area contractors, but none had returned a proposal by the time of the meeting.

The town closed the bridge to foot traffic last month, concerned for safety due to the bridge’s condition.

The town seeks permanent fencing at both ends to close access to the bridge.

“This may be a project that’s just too small for them,” said Brock.

Aldermen decided to go ahead and advertise for bids for the project, citing a need to keep people ff of the bridge for safety reasons.

“We want to minimize the city’s liability,” said Alderman Sherry McClintock.

The TDOT representatives noted after the discussion of the East Hill Avenue bridge that replacement of that bridge was one of the 526 projects included in Governor Bill Haslam’s Improve Act for funding.

The state estimated $859,000 in repairs to the bridge on their list of state-wide bridge projects. The bridge in question was closed in 1996 after CSX and the town agreed to redo the bridge on Beechwood Avenue.

The East Hill project is not on the state’s schedule within the next three years, however, and the TDOT representatives suggested that the town check with their state aid coordinator to determine how to proceed.

Brock also reported progress on the town’s effort to address several abandoned homes.

The town had initially identified six homes that were no longer inhabited and were falling into disrepair.

The town met with four of the property owners prior to the July board meeting to request that they submit a plan of action to address the problem to the town.

Of the other two properties, one was already being fixed up by that time and the other was in the process of being turned down.

The town gave the four until August 1 to submit plans for the homes.

One of the properties has been sold since the July meeting and is being demolished. Another is under contract to be sold, and according to Brock, the potential buyers might take on another of the properties as well.

Only one of the property owners has not been in contact with Brock regarding any plans for the property, leaving the town to consider other options.

Aldermen also passed the town’s proposed budget for the year on its final reading. Revenues for the coming year are predicted to come in just under $460,000 against estimated expenses of $401,000.

The town’s tax rate will fall from $1.03 per $100 on assessed value to 94 cents per $100.