The stories likely to impact residents of Green Hills and Belle Meade in 2019 are both diverse and highly impactful. I-440 reconstruction. Hillsboro High School’s facelift. Walkability and safety. Historic preservation. These are just a few of the stories that are on our radar.
In the February issue, we analyzed them all, preparing you for what’s to come in 2019. Read through the stories below to see what's happening in your neighborhood this year.
Story by Dylan Skye Aycock and Mary Katherine Rooker
Drivers along Interstate 440 will soon see lane closures day and night as crews overhaul the seven-mile corridor, a project transportation officials say will wrap up by August 2020.
The finished product will be a new asphalt surface replacing concrete paving (a source of potholes in recent years), an extra lane of traffic in each direction, and a widened bridge over I-65.
TDOT says the reconstructed corridor likely won’t require anything other than routine maintenance in the future. The project also includes repaired noise walls, updated lighting and electronic message boards.
Sidewalks and walkability
While Green Hills and Belle Meade have long been desirable shopping destinations and places to live, the neighborhoods are not known for their walkability. However, as Rover reported in September, several sidewalk projects are in the works.
The Alliance for Green Hills is also addressing the need to make the area more pedestrian-friendly. The organization will soon unveil plans to involve the community in expanding the walkability of Green Hills.
Hillsboro High School construction
Hillsboro High School, built in 1939 and reconstructed in 1954 following a fire, is undergoing an $89 million renovation that will completely transform the campus by late 2021. Upon completion, the high school will have an additional building to meet the current school attendance and academic needs, as well as feature a new library, cafeteria, art spaces, outdoor courtyard areas, community room and enrollment center.
The buildings portion of the project is expected to be finished by August 2020. Crews will then begin the final phase of reconstruction, which includes overhauling the athletic fields.
What happened in 2018
Renovation on the current build ing and construction on a new addition began in early 2018. The ‘Phase 1 Addition’ is now visible from Hillsboro Pike.
What's happening in 2019
According to a progress report from Metro Public Schools, Metro Public Works and Metro Transit Authority (WeGo) are coordinating work on a new traffic signal near the new school entry on Hillsboro Pike. Work on Hillsboro Pike is set to begin during the first quarter of 2019. The ‘Phase 1 Addition’ is scheduled to be completed in July.
License plate cameras in Belle Meade
Belle Meade rolled out a city-wide security system last summer that assists with crimes, traffic accidents and Amber alerts. The license plate readers, manufactured by Memphis-based company SkyCop, are located at 19 intersections and notify law enforcement when a license plate from a national crime database is recognized.
The system does not track speed, therefore no speeding tickets can be issued.
Within the last three months, the system helped Belle Meade Police recover two stolen vehicles and a license plate. Investigator Tom Sexton says it also was useful in clearing a robbery in Green Hills.
But don’t expect these cameras to pop up in Green Hills or other parts of Nashville. Metro Council passed an ordinance in 2017 that prevents police from using surveillance cameras, including LPRs.
Hillwood Bridge construction
A 10-month project reconstructing Hillwood Bridge in Belle Meade is nearing the halfway mark. The 102-year-old structure, owned by the city of Belle Meade and maintained by Metro Nashville, crosses over CSX railroad tracks and Richland Creek near the Harding Road and Lynwood Boulevard intersection.
During a routine inspection in 2017, the bridge was rated “structurally deficient,” by the state Department of Transportation, meaning one or more of the bridge’s major structural components is in "poor condition.”
The $2.3 million project is scheduled to be finished by July 31.
Fire hall up for auction
Metro-owned land occupied by the retired fire hall on Richard Jones Road in Green Hills is up for auction this month. The property, which had an opening bid of $4.7 million, will close on Feb. 11. Despite community pushback, Metro planned to sell the 0.87 acres of land as a way to meet budget goals for fiscal year 2019.