Drivers have waited more than a quarter century to drive along State Route 840, but emergency crews are worried that protecting the highway could mean a rough road ahead.
The four lanes that flow through southern Williamson County are making travel more convenient, but there may not be enough resources to protect all those new drivers.
"We've increased the amount of road we're responsible for," said Williamson County Sheriff Jeff Long. "We're evaluating how much it's going to increase our workload."
Long is the man responsible for the new 38-mile corridor. His deputies will catch speeders, respond to crashes and work drug enforcement duties.
But for now, those officers have been told to limit days off and pull more hours.
"We've also held some over on overtime, trying to keep those peak periods covered to make sure what the traffic flow is going to be," Long said.
Another department waiting to see the highway's impact is the Williamson County Emergency Management Agency.
Since the organization leans heavily on volunteers, EMA Director Mac Purdy worries an increase in calls could outpace the number of men and women available to respond.
"Really what we need to make sure we're doing is continue to recruit volunteers and are training to be prepared if an event happens," Purdy said.
A tight budget has kept Long from hiring additional officers, but county commissioners have told him a budget increase could happen.
Regardless, Long and Purdy are both clear on one thing - they believe the extension of State Route 840 is a huge benefit for them and the community.
It is both convenient for drivers and decreases the response times for emergencies across the county.
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