Construction nears for ‘northern bypass’

The planned Albert Gallatin/Hatten Track road extension project will go from Dobbins Pike to S.R. 109. SUBMITTED

Construction of a new road that will act as Gallatin’s northern bypass could begin soon, which officials say will help reduce traffic congestion and boost business recruitment efforts in the area.

The city began accepting construction bids for the Albert Gallatin/Hatten Track road extension project last week. A contractor for the project is expected to be selected shortly after all of the submitted bids are opened Nov. 5.

“This is very exciting to finally get (this project) rolling,” Mayor Paige Brown said. “It’s going to reroute some of the traffic that people are constantly concerned about and give a different pattern of access to different parts of the city. It will help with congestion, but it is also going to shift some development to a different area of town.”

The 1.77-mile project will extend Albert Gallatin Avenue west from Dobbins Pike to a new interchange at S.R. 109 between Old Highway 109 N and Red River Road. A new bridge over East Camp Creek along with a widened bridge over the CSX railroad and a signalized intersection at Blythe Avenue will also be added.

Due to the holidays, construction will most likely not start until after the first of the year, according to Rosemary Bates, special projects director for the city. The project is expected to take at least two years to complete and will also help with recruitment of new businesses like manufacturing and retail to the area.

“This is also going to help us in our current industrial center and our current vacant industrial lands,” Bates added. “It’s going to basically be our northern bypass and will give our industrial and manufacturing another way around the city.”

Plans for the Albert Gallatin/Hatten Track road extension date back more than a decade and represent the largest locally-managed project in the city’s history. Relocation of a billboard, discussions with CSX and a federal funding issue added approximately four years of delays getting to construction, according to Bates.

The total project is estimated to cost approximately $36 million to complete. Gallatin is responsible for 20 percent of the overall cost while the remaining 80 percent is being paid for with federal highway funds.

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