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State Route 840 to open between Columbia Pike and Pinewood, Friday

Carole Robinson

The long-awaited much anticipated stretch of state route 840 from Thompson’s Stations to Fairview opens this weekend to fanfare and good cheer at an 11 a.m. ribbon cutting and lunch ceremony, Friday.

Attendees will be able to “Enjoy the Ride” on the new section of SR 840 once the festivities are complete. The roadway will officially open to motorists later in the afternoon.

State and local officials involved with the project, 25 years in the making, are among those who have been invited to the road’s opening ceremonies – including Gov. Bill Haslam and TDOT Commissioner John Schroer. Sen. Lamar Alexander, also a former governor, and others are among those who join the guests.

According to directions from the TDOT website, if you are attending the celebration, enter at either the Carter's Creek Pike Interchange or the Columbia Pike Interchange headed west. Follow directions from either sign to access the event location.

In the spring of 1986 then-Gov. Lamar Alexander and then-Transportation Commissioner Dale Kelly proposed the 1986 Road Program and the legislature gave its stamp of approval. In the fall of the following year, then-Gov. Ned McWherter and Transportation Commission Jimmy Evans announced their support to continue the project.

Just prior to the end of the year in 1988, the first leg of 840 South, between I-40 in Wilson County and I-24 in Rutherford County was announced. Two years later the alignment of the road continuing from I-24 in Rutherford County to I-40 in Dickson County was announced. Then in 1991, the first project from Stewart’s Ferry Pike to 1-40 in Wilson County went under contract. Four years later that section of the road opened.

In November 1996, the first complete leg of the road from I-40 in Wilson County to I-24 in Rutherford County was officially opened by then-Gov. Don Sundquist and Transportation Commissioner Bruce Saltsman.

Following the opening of this leg, there were bumps along the route’s construction. Not without controversy, after more than half of the route was built or under construction, challenges began over environmental issues on several miles of the route in Williamson County. Court cases followed and ultimately, with significant input from the community, the design was modified and new methods were employed in the design that would change the way TDOT builds highways. 

In October 2003, the University of Tennessee Center for Transportation Research completed a review of 15 projects proposed throughout the state, then-Gov. Phil Bredesen and Transportation Commissioner Gerald Nicely put SR 840-North on hold and proposed considerable changes to the roadway.

TDOT and Tennessee Department of Conservation signed an agreement regarding water quality and erosion control on future state highway projects including the remainder of SR840 in March 2004. Three months later a Citizen Resource Team was created to assist with final design and the completion of SR 840. This group brought about major changes to the remaining sections of the roadway.

In April 20011, Gov. Bill Haslam and TDOT Commissioner John Schroer were instrumental in getting the remaining funding for the Southern Williamson County section of the roadway.

On Saturday, the final two sections of the roadway from Pinewood Road to Columbia Pike will open, completing a 78-mile continuous stretch of SR 840.

Posted on: 11/1/2012


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