Plans for a road connector that would unite parts of West End with north Nashville are coming together, but the project still needs authorization and funding for its final implementation.
That’s the message likely to come from Mayor Karl Dean and representatives of Metro Public Works tonight at 6 p.m. at the Hadley Park gymnasium when city officials update residents on a possible 28th Avenue Connector. District 21 Councilwoman Edith Langster will facilitate the gathering.
A proposal tossed around for decades, linking what are currently two detached areas near Centennial Park received a jolt in May when Dean budgeted $500,000 to kick off the planning phase of the project. Leaders envision connecting 28th Avenue North, which currently ends at Charlotte Avenue, with 31st Avenue North at Park Plaza near the headquarters for HCA Inc.
The idea is to bridge neighborhoods, while creating a better line of traffic from Metro General Hospital, Meharry Medical College and Tennessee State University to Centennial Medical Center, HCA and Vanderbilt University.
“Right now, we only have funds for the planning stage,” said Mark Macy of Public Works, who’s overseeing the project. “We’re hopeful that Council will approve funds for the construction hopefully in the next budget cycle. I can’t speak for the Council.”
The street would consist of four vehicle lanes, complete with turning lanes, bike lanes and sidewalks. Though final design plans have yet to materialize, Macy estimates the connector would cost between $15 million and $20 million.
Planners had suspected a potential obstacle could be constructing a bridge that would cross over the CSX rail line, but Macy said that piece of the project has turned out to be easier than originally thought. The project would also require purchasing private property and the likely demolition of a vacant building that once housed a liquor store.
“We’ve had very good meetings with the property owners,” Macy said. “They’re all in support of it. Some of the people are ready to go.”
A final design plan for the 28th Avenue Connector should be ready by February and shown to Dean and the Council soon after, Macy said.