⊕ BizBuzz: TDOT awards nearly $2M for UC sidewalks

MCMINNVILLE – Two Upper Cumberland communities received Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) grants totaling nearly $2 million – monies that will support the needs of transit users, pedestrians and bicyclists by addressing existing infrastructure gaps along state routes.

McMinnville was awarded a $948,080 multimodal access grant for a sidewalk project on Sparta Street, while Cookeville received $950,000 for sidewalks along Spring. In all, 14 communities received similar grants this year. The local designations were among the largest awarded.

The McMinnville project will include the installation of approximately 7,200 linear feet of new sidewalk along Sparta Street on the northeast side of town, running from where existing sidewalks currently end to River Park Hospital. State officials said the project will provide a safe, accessible route for pedestrians and will connect downtown McMinnville to retail, residential, senior housing and medical facilities. Also included is a pair of pedestrian crossings.

“Extending the sidewalks from the Sparta Street downtown area to the Three Star Mall and River Park Hospital will greatly enhance the quality of life and safety of our citizens,” State Rep. Kevin Dunlap said.

In Cookeville, the grant will help fund the construction of 7,605 feet of sidewalk along north side of East Spring Street, as well as crosswalks, grass buffer strips, and the relocation and replacement of guard rails where necessary. The new sidewalks will run from where existing sidewalks end at East Broad to Old Kentucky Road, including Carlen and Raider drives.

“This project will provide a safe, accessible pedestrian route connecting downtown Cookeville to commercial and residential areas, Avery Trace Middle School, the Putnam County YMCA and Cookeville Community Center,” Mayor Ricky Shelton said in a statement. “This grant had very specific requirements and the Spring Street route best fit the parameters.”

The multimodal access fund is fairly new TDOT program. Examples of eligible projects include sidewalks and pedestrian crossing improvements, bus shelters, park and ride facilities and bicycle lanes. Sparta received funding last year to build sidewalks from Mayberry Street to Churchill Drive.