Mouse Creek Road project yanked
by DAVID DAVIS, Managing Editor
Apr 11, 2013 | 1458 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Cleveland Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization planning boundaries have been expanded and major work on Mouse Creek Road has been removed from transportation plans in favor of more immediate projects.

The planning boundaries include the urbanized area of Cleveland and areas likely to be urbanized in the future as defined in the most recent Census. Prior to the 2010 Census, the MPO covered an area roughly between Interstate 75 Exit 20 and Exit 33. Based on recent Census data, the northern boundary was moved to include Charleston and a portion of McMinn County around Calhoun.

The Cleveland Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization heard a report on Wednesday that the estimated cost of $50 million for adding an additional lane and eliminating the more severe curves in the 7-mile stretch of Mouse Creek Road is cost-prohibitive. MPO Coordinator Greg Thomas said spot improvements along the road between the city limit and Lauderdale Memorial Highway would cost up to $5 million. The Mouse Creek project had only $1.5 million in federal and local funds available.

“Simply put, either of the approaches to solving problems along Mouse Creek Road would require more resources than are available,” Thomas told MPO Executive Board members.

The MPO proposes shifting the money to make improvements on the road within the city limits. The intent is to work within the existing right of way to widen lanes and add shoulders. The organization may approach TDOT in the future regarding safety-related projects along the Mouse Creek Corridor.

The money will be shifted to fund new projects added to the 2011-14 Transportation Improvement Plan. Those projects include improvements to the intersection of Georgetown Road and 25th Street, improvements from 20th Street from Shady Lane to Michigan Avenue and Michigan Avenue Road from Benton Pike to Stuart Road/Peach Orchard Hill Road, various sidewalk projects, and 25th Street and Peerless Road intersection improvements.

Widening Adkisson Drive will be included in the 2014-17 Transportation Improvement Plan with construction beginning possibly in 2015. The move became necessary after the Cleveland City Council voted March 25 to widen the road to three lanes between Paul Huff Parkway and Normal Chapel Road.

The MPO is the mechanism for transportation planning and as the Cleveland area continues to grow, new transportation issues will continue to develop. The MPO is the forum where representatives from federal, state and local governments resolve transportations issues.

Some of the significant issues facing the area are balancing the needs of highway, air and rail transportation modes as well at managing area congestion.

The organization is comprised of the Technical Coordinating Committee and Executive Board. The Executive Board consists of representatives of the governor, city mayor, vice mayor, county executive and Southeast Tennessee Human Resources Agency.

The Technical Coordinating Committee reports to the Executive Board. Members include the director of Cleveland Public Works Department, traffic engineer, finance director and senior planner, city and county engineer, city manager, county planner, county road superintendent; representatives from Southeast Tennessee Development District, Tennessee Department of Transportation, Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce, Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration.

The MPO meets at 11 a.m. on the first Wednesday in May, July, September and November in 2013 and January in 2014.