PHOTO: Design Documents from Barge Design Solutions show the proposed widening of Columbia Pike. / Photo courtesy of Barge Design Solutions
BY ALEXANDER WILLIS
Columbia Pike, which is the portion of U.S. 31 that stretches through Thompson’s Station and beyond, was proposed to be widened to four lanes Tuesday night as part of the town’s new Major Thoroughfare Plan.
Thompson’s Station’s Major Thoroughfare Plan is essentially a growth guideline for the town that aims to set the framework for transportation over the next 20 years. The plan is in large part developed by the community, with Thompson’s Station and the engineering firm Barge Design Solutions holding its second of three community meetings Tuesday to gather feedback from residents on things like problem areas, rural preservation and amenities.
“Thoroughfare planning is one of the most important things we can do as a community for a variety of reasons; safety, directing the growth, quality of life, [and to] set the stage for economic development,” said Thompson’s Station Mayor Corey Napier. “And so, this thoroughfare planning encapsulates a number of things.”
The first of the public meetings, held on April 16, saw residents provide their first feedback on what they’d like to see in regards to the future of transportation in Thompson’s Station. On Tuesday, residents saw their first glimpse of the plan, where Barge Project Engineer Jonathan Smith presented the plan’s first draft to residents gathered at the Burwood Community Center.
“This plan really gives town staff the guidance, the leverage, and also kind of sets the table for the development community to know what’s expected,” Smith said. “It’s harder for developers and their engineers when the rules are vague, or there are no rules, but having a plan such as this will help everyone kind of understand what the goals are. This is a 20 year plan – this isn’t just the next five years.”
Among many details shared during the presentation was Barge’s proposal to widen Columbia Pike all the way from Buckner Road to I-840.
“We are proposing widening Columbia [Pike],” Smith said. “What we are proposing to do with this is a median dividing four-lane section, so you’ll have two lanes in each direction and a grass or planted median going down the pike. The benefit of that is it gives you really the functionality of what people would think of as a five-lane, [while] keeping some sort of rural type character with that landscaping… we’re trying to have that balance.”
Details on the widening of Columbia Pike include the installation of a 12 foot median between the two lanes, as well as installing an 11 foot sidewalk on both sides of the road. Shrubs and other greenery would be planted throughout the median as to maintain a semblance of rural character, with the median also giving the road a smaller feel as to deter speeding.
The expansion also lines up well with Spring Hill’s own plans to widen Main Street – the portion of U.S. 31 just south of Columbia Pike – to five lanes from Miles Johnson Parkway up to Buckner Road, creating an almost five miles of five to four mile roadway.
Barge will continue to work on the Major Thoroughfare Plan until July, when the plan’s final draft will be presented to the town Planning Commission to be voted on and adopted. That Planning Commission meeting will be held Tuesday, July 23 at 7 p.m. at the Burwood Community Center, 1555 Thompson’s Station Road West Thompson’s Station, TN 37179.