Some Middle Tennessee road projects more than a year behind

TDOT fines contractors for not meeting construction deadlines.
TDOT fines contractors for not meeting construction deadlines.
Published: Mar. 9, 2023 at 6:04 PM CST
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - Governor Bill Lee wants to invest billions to build more roads to accommodate Tennessee’s record growth, but how long will the construction take?

WSMV4 found some road projects already underway are lingering far past their completion deadline.

Some of the major offenders are in Middle Tennessee, so WSMV4 asked TDOT what they are doing to make sure projects don’t keep dragging out.

With growth comes headaches.

“Traffic has been horrible out here,” Clarksville resident Patricia Black said.

To help alleviate traffic in Clarksville, TDOT is widening the McClure Bridge from two to four lanes. The project has been going on for awhile.

“I am no bridge construction man, but I felt like it was a long time,” Clarksville resident Justin Godsey said.

In fact, it is more than a year overdue.

TDOT has been fining the contractor everyday. TDOT has now charged Jensen Construction more than $800,000 in fines for not meeting completion deadlines.

“It should have been done a long time ago,” Black said. “It probably could have been done quicker.”

This comes as Lee promises to make improving roads a top priority.

“Right now, there is a $26 billion backlog of projects in the state,” Lee said during the State of the State earlier this year. “Simply put, we are way behind. We have to change the way we fund and build our roads and bridges.”

The debate over funding is going on right now in the state legislature, but what is TDOT doing to make sure projects that get funded stay on track?

TDOT said they monitor contractors’ progress monthly to identify projects that are becoming problematic. If a company continually fails to meet contract requirements, TDOT will limit the number and kind of contracts it can get, even limiting some from bidding on projects.

TDOT said Jensen Construction, the contractor for McClure Bridge, is fighting some of the fines because of “differing site conditions, which they allege caused the delays to the project and are requesting additional compensation,” according to TDOT.