NDOT begins Elm Hill Pike safety improvement project after series of deadly crashes
Neighbors along the busy road have been pushing for improvements since before the recent crash of a school bus and WeGo Public Transit bus.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - A Nashville school bus driver is suing WeGo for $1 million after a head-on crash last month that left six people hurt. It’s just the latest in a series of deadly and dangerous crashes on Elm Hill Pike.
Nashville Department of Transportation started to investigate the stretch of road earlier this year and has started work trying to make the area safer for drivers and people who live there.
Bridgette Wills said people flying up and down the road often end up in her front yard. It’s so common, she doesn’t feel safe letting her kids play outside because of fears they might get hurt.
“I feel it’s very dangerous,” Wills said. “The bus stop used to be right here on the corner, but now it’s moved to the driveway just because people speed so fast. They come around this corner really quickly. It’s awfully dangerous.”
Wills and her neighbor, Rick Hays, said blind hills and corners on the road make things even more treacherous with people driving over the 40 mph speed limit.
“All the accidents that have occurred have been due to carelessness and excessive speed,” Hays said. “I don’t know why, but it seems when people top the hill it turns into Talladega.”
Hays has been pushing for NDOT to make safety improvements for years, including at a February community meeting. He hadn’t heard anything for months until crews showed up on Friday morning and began surveying the area for where signs will be installed.
NDOT said the new safety measures, included in the Vision Zero initiative to eliminate traffic deaths and injuries, will focus on slowing drivers down and keeping them in the correct lane.
Over the next couple of weeks, NDOT will add centerline rumble strips, speed feedback signs and additional signs and reflectors.
“That is exciting!” Hays said “I’ll tell you what, that is almost as exciting as the Titans winning the Super Bowl. That is going to be great, particularly the rumble strips because that’ll give the driver immediate feedback if they begin drifting.”
Metro Councilman Russ Bradford said this is a good first step to make the road safer, but he has more meetings scheduled with NDOT to talk about what else can be done to slow drivers down. His long-term planning suggestions include adding shoulders and removing middle turn lanes that some people use for passing.
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