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Lannom Williams Law Group - Providing criminal defense and civil trial practice for Wilson County, Tennessee

137 Public Square
Lebanon, TN 37087
FAX (615) 444-6516
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Has Wilson County Overlooked Safety While Pursuing Growth?

Twenty-five years ago, it would have been hard to imagine the fields to the south of the Mt. Juliet exit at I-40 turning into the major commercial and residential development that is Providence. Back then, Mt. Juliet stopped at the interstate. Highway 109 was practically untraveled and Highway 70 from Mt. Juliet to Lebanon was a quiet and uncrowded 2-lane. That has all changed, and most of it in the past decade alone. Now we have huge housing developments not just around Providence, but all across the county. It is not unusual for a windy and narrow backroad to have a development of 100-250 houses empty out to it. It's wonderful that people love Wilson County as it has so much to offer, great shopping, great schools and even better people. But the sudden influx of people and businesses has definitely put a great burden on our roads, especially roads that have always been considered "rural".

In today's Lebanon Democrat, there was a small article on the dangerous intersection of Fellowship Road and Couchville Pike in South Mt. Juliet. Fellowship Road has a stop sign and Couchville has the right-of-way. There have been 86 accidents at this intersection in two years! Two of these resulted in fatalities. The fact that traffic has increased greatly due to residential growth and the addition of the Amazon Fulfillment Center is made worse by the fact that the gas pumps at the market on the intersection blocks the view of drivers. The County is considering making this intersection a 4-way stop, a change that local residents would greatly welcome.

Another area that has become particularly dangerous is Highway 109 at Academy/Coles Ferry. Traffic is unbelievably heavy on this highway to and from Gallatin and Academy is a popular cut through road for Lebanon residents trying to get to Gallatin and vice versa. Add the increased semi-truck traffic and a hill and a busy market and you'll understand why there have been so many accidents in that area over the past few years, several involving tractor trailers and too many resulting in fatalities. Traffic studies have shown that the addition of a right hand turn lane onto 109 from Academy and also a merge lane into northbound traffic on Highway 109 would help alleviate some dangers, but until the highway is widened that area will remain a dangerous stretch of road.

Other notably dangerous roads in Wilson County (according to annual accidents reported) are Highway 70 from Lebanon to Watertown, Trousdale Ferry Pike, Saundersville Ferry, Central Pike and Stewart's Ferry. An interesting note to these roads is that the oldest roads in our area are denoted by being either "ferrys" or "pikes". Ferry meant that somewhere along the road, a traveler would need to be ferried across a body of water (for a fee, of course). Pike meant that the road was a privately owned and maintained "turnpike" and travelers had to pay a toll in order for the "pikes" or sticks blocking the road to be moved so they could continue traveling. The tolls collected were used for upkeep on the pikes and as profit for the owner's of the toll-road. The fact that most of the dangerous roads in our area are also some of the oldest roads is interesting and could be because the first roads in our area followed game trails and wound around geographical obstacles and also skirted land owned by people who didn't participate in the ferry or toll profit and therefore didn't want travelers passing through their land. Perhaps these old roads are curvy and precipitous by nature, but that's just a guess.

In any event, Wilson County leaders will need to take the lead on this sudden and apparently sustained growth and not simply react to it. We need safe, well marked and repaired roads to travel on and to keep ourselves and our children safe. Let's hope that the next decade sees continued growth hand in hand with evolving and adequate infrastructure for our county as well as fewer accidents that could injure or even kill our travelers.

137 Public Square Lebanon, TN 37087
Via Phone: (615) 444-2900 Via Facsimile: (615) 444-6516 Toll Free: (866) 820-4457


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Via Phone: (615) 313-3999

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