City Manager

Street, traffic, drainage projects underway

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

In addition to the various policy initiatives that the City has undertaken as described by Mayor Austin McMullen column here, Oak Hill is also working on a number of projects that deal with the day-to-day delivery of City services.

First among these is the recent adoption of the City budget for the 2011-12 fiscal year. As this document establishes what the City does during any given 12-month period of time, it is of extreme importance. You can see the budget here.

A number of other projects are each in a different stage of development, including a traffic calming program, drainage study, sign inventory, Otter Creek Road drainage improvements, intersection improvements, and street pavement analysis.

Traffic calming draft plan presented

The City recently held a public meeting on the traffic calming program. At this meeting, various ideas regarding the draft plan were presented to citizens in attendance. Information was also provided regarding traffic counts at various locations throughout the City. The meeting was very helpful to staff in getting direction from the citizens as to what should and should not be included in the final plan. The intent of this plan is to have a document in place that outlines how a citizen can request that the City address various traffic issues on City streets throughout the City.

A common concern that would be addressed by this plan is vehicles speeding through neighborhoods. The plan will outline the process that a citizen should take to have the City initiate a review of street conditions in a particular area. It will also outline a number of solutions that might be available to address particular issues.

If the request meets the criteria to warrant action based upon traffic data and neighborhood concern, the plan would have a list of progressively designed steps that could be taken to address the problem. The neighborhood group would assist the City in selecting the steps that they feel are most appropriate for their area. This plan is expected to be finalized within 60 days and will be available on the City’s website for citizen use. However, if a particular situation poses a severe enough threat, the City may have to take action outside the scope of this traffic calming plan to expedite changes needed to address life, health, and safety.

Drainage study completed

The results of the City-wide drainage study have been presented in a public hearing and have been on the City website for several months. The presentation of this information completes the first phase of the study to address drainage issues. The study identified various basins and sub-basins within the City that share issues related to drainage. It also prioritized these as to the areas that most need to be addressed. The City is currently assessing what the next step in this process should be.

Street sign assessment required

Although federal guidelines have changed regarding the date at which non-functioning street signs within the City must be replaced, an assessment and maintenance plan is still required in the next two years. As a result, the City is putting together a plan to meet these requirements. Once that plan is finalized, we will begin changing out non-functioning signs in accordance with federal requirements.

The first set of federal guidelines required that all signs, regardless of condition, be replaced by January 2015. Due to the enormous cost of this undertaking nationwide, the requirements were amended to mandate replacement of a sign once its life-cycle or ability to function as designed has ended. This is a much more common-sense approach to improving our roadways. The sign inventory will allow us to determine which signs need to be replaced based on condition, not an arbitrary date.

Otter Creek roadwork

By the time you receive this newsletter, work will likely already have begun along Otter Creek Road near the intersection with Franklin Pike. The work will improve the ditch line along a section of the roadway. While the road will be open to traffic during construction, the City encourages residents and visitors to reduce trips through the area as much as possible until the work is complete. Building upon our effort to keep residents more informed on City activities, a meeting was held recently to discuss the project. All residents along the eastern portion of Otter Creek Road were invited to meet with City staff, the City Engineer, and the contractor who will be doing the work.

Franklin/Battery/Harding improvement

Over a year ago, the City put forth three road projects for consideration. After receiving public comment, these projects were ranked as to their importance to Oak Hill. They were then submitted to the Nashville area Metropolitan Planning Organization for funding consideration based upon the priority determined by the MPO.

Our first choice (turning lane for vehicles traveling East on Tyne Boulevard and turning South on Franklin Pike) was passed over. However, our second priority was selected for funding, and the City was notified that the MPO would provide 80% of the estimated $1.8 million required to upgrade the intersection at Franklin Pike, Battery Lane, and Harding Place.

The project will include the addition and/or extension of turning lanes and should provide safer ingress and egress for residents on South Curtiswood Lane and Hazelwood Circle. After receiving the funding announcement, Mayor McMullen and I met with Tennessee Department of Transportation officials to seek additional assistance. Following that meeting, we were notified that TDOT would fund the additional 20% of the project. While the City will oversee the project, the total cost of the project will be provided by outside funding sources. It appears that the City will provide local funding only should we choose to add additional features to the project that are outside the scope of work. This has been considered as an option so that we can add some features that would make the intersection more aesthetically pleasing. The project will likely take three years to complete, but design work will begin soon.

Engineer evaluating every mile

In an effort to better manage our roadways, extend their useful life, and be able to better project budgeting needs for roadways in the future, the City Engineer is undertaking a project on behalf of Oak Hill to evaluate every lane mile of roadway within the City.

This evaluation will determine the condition of pavement and treatments needed to extend its useful life. As the cost of paving has soared with increased petroleum costs, alternatives for treating existing pavement are more advantageous.

In previous years when paving was cheap, most cities simply paved a road and left it to be paved again when the asphalt lifespan was reached or when problems with the condition of the driving surface arose. With today’s paving costs, minor treatment options can significantly impact the lifespan of pavement if applied prior to the road’s beginning to deteriorate. However, all pavement will eventually need to be replaced, and this analysis will help us determine when it is the appropriate time to do so.

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