May 18, 2008

Old rock wall is worth it

Rock wall is worth it, commissioners say
Wilson Pike widening project will add turn lanes, shoulder to problem road
The Tennessean • May 7, 2008

BRENTWOOD — An old, crumbling rock wall is tacking an additional $85,000 onto a much-needed intersection improvement project at Old Smyrna Road and Wilson Pike.
But Brentwood leaders say it's worth it to make sure the historic wall doesn't disappear.

"I think people need to know that we probably could do this a lot cheaper if we just barreled the walls down," City Commissioner Anne Dunn said. "But it's important to the citizens and the government to maintain those walls."
The wall will be torn down and rebuilt about 75 feet away from the intersection so the city can widen the east side of Wilson Pike.
"We'll be adding turn lanes on Wilson Pike and a little bit of a shoulder and a left-turn lane on Old Smyrna Road," Assistant City Manager Kirk Bednar said. "It'll be an improved intersection, allowing for safer turning movements."
The road-widening project, including the wall relocation, will cost about $685,000. Bednar said the city is saving about $100,000 by tacking the work onto an existing contract with Civil Constructors for road paving in the area.
"Because of the escalating cost of road building and asphalt, we felt, for this project, the quickest and cheapest way to get it going was with a change order with Civil Constructors," he said. "That contract was originally bid in 2006, so we can take advantage of 2006 prices for a lot of that work."
The intersection is notorious for causing traffic backups during peak hours, and City Commissioner Betsy Crossley said the improvements should help keep traffic moving.
"Wilson Pike has its challenges with its narrow shoulders," she said. "And this has become a much busier intersection with Annandale," a new subdivision going up off Old Smyrna Road.
Crossley said it's important the improvements don't alter the street's character, which is why they opted to move the old rock wall.
"Wilson Pike is just a part of the history of the city. So much has gone on there," she said. "We just want to do the best we can to maintain the look of the areas like Wilson Pike."

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