If you travel Thompson Lane regularly, especially near the Stones River Bridge, the backed-up traffic is often frustrating.

Work at the entrance to the Thompson Lane Trailhead is not the cure, but Murfreesboro Parks and Recreation Department’s Assistant Director Nate Williams noted “It will give relief”.

For motorists traveling this packed two-lane roadway, any relief is good!

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Murfreesboro Parks and Recreation Department’s Thompson Lane Trailhead is popular with early morning runners, but the eastbound lane of traffic is totally stopped motorists until the person heading into the Greenway makes the turn.

The problem is that this section of the old two-lane Thompson Lane is physically a built-up roadway, and to have turn lanes, the entire elevated roadway section has to be physically widened.

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Hot Spot

Assistant City Engineer Sam Huddleston explained, “The Thompson Lane Trailhead project is a city project authorized by the Mayor and Council under our congestion hot spot program. The project includes a left turning lane into the Thompson Lane Trailhead and a relocated trailhead entrance. The entrance needed to be relocated to allow adequate distance for transition from 2 lanes to 3 lanes. The current entrance was too close to the bridge over the West Fork Stones River to transition to 3 lanes at roadway speed.”

The project is city funded and was approved by TDOT (Tennessee Department of Transportation).

Now, here’s the big picture of that story. Several years ago, the TDOT approved $38-million to widen 4.3 miles of Thompson Lane. That much talked about widening would begin at Northwest Broad Street and continue to Memorial Boulevard.

Traffic Should Be No Surprise

Over the decades, this two-lane roadway has seen the development of huge subdivisions, the Tennessee Miller Coliseum, some of this city’s largest churches, massive apartment complexes, along with new super-sized elementary, middle and high school campuses. That would put a strain on any two-lane road.

TDOT studies estimate that 15,000 vehicles travel this roadway daily, and projections are that within 2-years (2020) we’ll see 17,000 motorists creating an even larger problem.

It’s only going to get more crowded. The Murfreesboro special census that was just completed, shows the population now at 128,225. That’s a major difference from the 45,000 persons who called Murfreesboro home back in 1990 when growth along Thompson Lane began.

Hold On To The Bed Sheets Granny

And for those who can remember back 70 years ago when Ray Duffey was announcing ballgames on WGNS, when something big happened, he would shout, “Hold on to the bedsheets granny.” That seems appropriate when you consider the current population could double by 2035, and Murfreesboro’s population is forecast to hit 260,000 by 2040.

That’s why the Tennessee Department of Transportation needs to “hold on to the bed sheets granny”, because “you ain’t seen nothing yet”–unless widening of Thompson Lane does not happen more quickly. The population is certainly not taking a holiday.

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