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The City of Gallatin should honor its word when it comes to managing its portion of State Route 109.

In early 2013, the mayors of Sumner and Wilson counties joined with the mayors of five cities – including Gallatin – and the commissioners of the Tennessee Department of Transportation and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation to sign the Tennessee S.R. 109 Corridor Management Agreement.

The document states that the continued growth in the region is leading to “increased travel demand in the corridor” and that if unmanaged it could “negatively affect the level of performance and safety experienced by users of the roadway.” 

As part of the solution, all of those who agreed with the plan committed to establishing access management standards for things like driveways and street connections in order to avoid a “significant impact on mobility, congestion and safety” on what has been described as the northern extension of I-840.

However, we believe a recent Gallatin Planning Commission decision allowing a gas station-convenience store direct access onto the road – against a recommendation by the city’s planning and engineering departments – sets a precedent that jeopardizes the future of the corridor and risks turning the city’s portion into another clogged version of Nashville Pike. 

On Oct. 28, commissioners voted 3-2 in favor of a site plan for the project that includes both a right turn in and a right turn out of the property, which is located at the corner of S.R. 109 and Nichols Lane. The access still needs approval from TDOT.

While a driveway connection onto Nichols Lane would be allowed, the city’s zoning code would likely only allow a right turn out from the property on S.R. 109, according to the city planner, who suggested the business build a common driveway with a neighboring liquor store in order to access the road.

During the meeting last month, a representative for the gas station-convenience store said that if drivers had to go past the business, turn at the liquor store and then drive back uphill another 30 feet that “most likely you’re not going to stop at our store.”

They might be correct in regard to their property, but the planning commission’s decision impacts every property owner along S.R. 109 in Gallatin who can now justify asking for the same type of access for their properties – landlocked or not. It’s a precedent we believe could lead to additional conflict points for drivers that could result in more crashes as well as the speed limit being lowered in the area. 

In August of 2018, TDOT substantially completed an approximately $17.4 million project to widen a 1.3-mile section of S.R. 109 from the Cumberland River bridge to the intersection of South Water Avenue and Airport Road, according to a department spokesperson. 

The improvements were long overdue and have been a major improvement for commuters since being completed. We just hope that the commission’s most recent decision does not undo that progress.

We urge TDOT not to approve the proposal.

The Main Street Media editorial board is comprised of Publisher Dave Gould, News Editor Sherry Mitchell and reporters Josh Cross and Tena Lee. 

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