The Macon County Mayor’s Office received a letter on Friday stating that the Highway 10 construction project has received full funding and is formally scheduled for bid opening in spring of 2014.
The letter, sent from TN Commissioner of Transportation John Schroer to all local representatives at the state and county level, states that funding for the project has been officially allocated from a state safety program.
The letter cites a public meeting held on May 23 at the Macon County Chamber of Commerce, during which TDOT’s Paul Degges gave an update on where the project stood.
“I understand that Mr. Degges… discussed that the right-of-way acquisition is underway,” writes Schroer, “and that from a schedule perspective, the project will be ready for a bid opening in the spring of 2014, should the funding be available.
“The department has been monitoring crash reports occurring on SR-10 in this vicinity and working with the local Division Office of the Federal Highway Administration, and I am pleased to report that we have been able to identify funding under one of our safety programs to deliver the project.
“I can certainly appreciate your position and share your goals in wanting to provide the safest roads possible for all Tennesseans. I have directed my staff to accelerate the schedule from the fall of 2014 and ready this project for construction in a spring 2014 bid opening.”
County Mayor Shelvy Linville had written TDOT urgently in May complaining that the Hwy 10 project had been put on a backburner, because it did not appear on a three-year budget plan released by TDOT in April.
More recently, Linville said he cut out a front page article from the Macon County Times (June 13 edition) about an accident involving a mother and three minors on Hwy 10, and sent it to TDOT.
“I highlighted ‘mom’, ‘3 children’, and ‘Hwy 10’, and I wrote underneath, ‘This time we were lucky’ and I sent it to them,” said Linville.
Ironically enough, Degges reports that this recent accident contributed to the final numbers necessary to qualify a project for the safety funds that Hwy 10 just received.
“I hate to say it that way… but it’s true,” said Degges. “That this project just barely qualified for safety funds, by the numbers. I know it can seem like this road is the most dangerous stretch in TN, but it simply is not.”
Linville, who admitted after the public meeting that he may have misunderstood the meaning of the three-year plan, stated that he was “cautiously optimistic” about the project moving forward on the schedule that Degges had outlined. Now, he says, “this is good news. That 4th paragraph [in Schroer’s letter] is a sure commitment… I feel good about it now.”
Linville said that he believes the saying ‘the squeaky wheel gets the grease’ and added, “I regret not being squeakier earlier.”
Linville also prepared a written statement, thanking the Commissioner and Governor for their commitment to the project: “I believe the commissioner realizes the danger that the highway 10 hill poses, and has found a way to help us sooner rather than later… I certainly look forward to seeing orange barrels and bulldozers on that hill.”