TDOT rolls out plan to improve roads

The Tennessee Department of Transportation has come up with a plan to reduce potholes and road deterioration that often occur during the winter months.
Published: May. 2, 2022 at 9:31 AM CDT|Updated: May. 2, 2022 at 5:00 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - “The roads have been awful.”

Every time La Vergne resident Nadine Rigsby gets on the road, she’s trying to avoid large thuds and an accident.

‘It’s like this way to dodge a pothole and this way to dodge traffic,” Rigsby said.

And if she does hit a pothole, she knows it.

“I’ve been through probably about four or five tires because of it,” Rigsby said. “I mean, you’re doing 70 or 80 miles an hour and you hit a pothole, that’s big. It’s gonna do some damage.”

In recent months, Rigsby said she’s noticed a dramatic change in how bumpy Tennessee highways have become, especially on Briley Parkway.

“You see people out there trying to fix it, and then two weeks later, it’s the same thing,” Rigsby said.

It’s a problem TDOT acknowledged on Monday.

“Clearly we waited too long to resurface certain projects. We all agree that this winter has been especially bad, and we all agree that our pavement performance was unacceptable in certain places,” TDOT Interim Commissioner Joe Galbato said.

To correct it, TDOT announced a new enhanced resurfacing program. TDOT said after a statewide analysis, they have determined these locations across Middle Tennessee won’t make it through another winter like we had this past winter:

· Briley Parkway, Davidson County, from McGavock Pike to Interstate 65

· Interstate 40, Davidson County, from U.S. 70 to Charlotte Pike

· Interstate 40, Wilson County, from east of Interstate 840 to east of U.S. 70/east of U.S. 70 to Smith County line

· Interstate 40, Smith County, from Wilson County line to east of State Highway 53

· Interstate 24, Rutherford County, from Medical Center Parkway to Stones River

· Interstate 24, Rutherford and Bedford counties, from east of Epps Mill Road to Coffee County line

· Interstate 65, Robertson County, from Sumner County line to Honey Run Creek bridge

· Interstate 65, Maury County, from Marshall County line to near State Highway 99

· Interstate 40, Cheatham County, from Williamson County line to Davidson County line

It’s why they’re making it their mission to resurface it as quickly as possible.

“The pavement will be a whole lot of stickier, and we believe it’ll be able to respond a whole lot better to the freeze-thaw cycle that we saw this year,” TDOT Chief Engineer Paul Degges said.

“I want to be very clear. Potholes will continue. They’re always going to be part of pavements,” Galbato said. “What we’re trying to do it make a pre-emptive move to circumvent problems that we’ve had such as Briley Parkway and I-40 in Smith County.”

Rigsby thinks this is a long time coming.

“I think that people who’ve damaged their cars because of the road being broke or destroyed, I think something should be done with that as well,” Rigsby said.

Rigsby brings up a concern that News4 Investigates has heard before.

News4 Investigated reported in March how only 1% of people receive money after filing a negligence claim against the states. News4 asked TDOT about this concern.

“You’re probably aware that legislation was passed this year forcing TDOT and the Treasury to work in tandem,” Galbato said. “We’re meeting with them every month, coming up with different processes and procedures, standardized information that can go to CorVel so that they can make an appropriate decision. We’re working very diligently with the Treasurer’s Office and feel very good where we stand at this point.”

News4 Investigates also asked Galbato what message he’d like to give Tennesseans who are not pleased with the way things are currently being handled.

“Well, all I can say is we’re trying to get better and so, at this point, there has not been a single claim that has come to TDOT that we have not had information on that we have not given back to the treasury,” Galbato said.

It’s good news Rigsby likes to hear, but she’s still pretty skeptical.

“Well, I hope they do more than talk. I hope they put something in action,” Rigsby said.

The new approach will prioritize the areas before the extreme weather returns and crews will work mostly during the night to reduce the impact on traffic, according to the release.

TDOT still encourages motorists to notify them of any damage on the roads using their maintenance request form online.

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