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Residents and commuters who drive across Hillwood Boulevard bridge in Belle Meade will see detours beginning Oct. 1 as the Tennessee Department of Transportation replaces the 102-year-old structure. According to transportation officials, the $2.3 million project will be finished by July 31.
The bridge, which is 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.
How will the project affect traffic?
During the 10-month project, TDOT will route drivers to Davidson Road and White Bridge Road, both of which connect to Post Road and Harding Pike and provide access to Hillwood Boulevard.
Katrina Jones, a bridge program coordinator with Public Works, says the department will conduct traffic studies next week to determine if any changes to signal timing or other routing measures are necessary. They have already identified timing will be adjusted on Harding Road and Davison Road to accommodate traffic.
"We are doing a traffic study on several intersections in relation to the project," Jones said. "Depending on the results, we will make needed adjustments and communicate those with TDOT."
The following traffic studies will begin next week at 6:30-8:30 a.m., 11 a.m.-1 p.m. and 4-6 p.m:
- Hillwood Boulvard at Post Road
- Hillwood Boulevard at Harding Road
- Post Road at White Bridge Road
- Post Road at Davidson Road
- Davidson Road at Harding Road
Additionally, officials said blasting will not be required during demolition.
Community asks for signage, paving on Hillwood Boulevard
During a public informational meeting Thursday night, community members asked Metro Councilwoman Mina Johnson what could be done to address pavement needs between the bridge and Harding Road intersection. Some residents added they would like to see improved signage before approaching the four lanes at the intersection.
"Repaving, resynchronizing the traffic light and installing better signage in the appropriate place ... small things like that we can make those happen," Johnson said.
Johnson said it's likely another community meeting will be held before the project's completion.
Why is the project happening now?
During a routine inspection last July, TDOT officials rated the bridge “structurally deficient,” which means one or more of the bridge’s major structural components is in "poor" condition. The classification does not imply the bridge unsafe to travel, officials said.
Built in 1916, the bridge is part of TDOT’s highway bridge system that includes 19,822 bridges.
"Will we incorporate some of the historical features of the old bridge into the new bridge," TDOT Operations District Manager Kimberly Welch said.
TDOT funds the majority of the project, with Metro Nashville and the City of Belle Meade contributing a combined 20 percent.