A direct connecting route from Highway 96 to Interstate 840 in Dickson, a topic that’s been discussed for a decade, is still being studied by state officials and a preliminary plan exists, according to the county mayor.
At a January school board planning session, County Mayor Bob Rial said the Tennessee Department of Transportation is now fully in charge of the project and that Gov. Bill Lee is aware of the importance of a connecting road to the interstate.
“(TDOT had) a preliminary plan that had five different potential routes that it could take,” Rial said. “The governor is aware and he’s working on (the route) also.”
“In realistic terms, if we drive on that it will be 10 years from now,” Rial added.
The mayor discussed the potential extension of the dead-end I-840 into Dickson County connector when asked by board member Patricia Hudson at the meeting.
In addition, board member Steve Haley asked about the county's growth and transportation plan, which is being organized this year.
Rial told The Herald that further work on the 840 connector project won't take place until the growth and transportation plan is finished.
"(The 840 connector) should be discussed late this coming fall if the study shows it to be viable," Rial said.
Board members were discussing the purchase of land for future school district facilities in areas south of I-40 in Dickson County. They asked Rial about possible projects that could affect future development and traffic flow, which led to the I-840 update.
Rial added that TDOT is aware of increasing traffic volume at interstate ramps 172 in Dickson and 182 near the Williamson County line.
‘Northern loop’ once discussed
The most recent major news about the 840 connector was four years ago when the state Legislature passed former Gov. Bill Haslam’s IMPROVE Act, which was estimated to provide $250 million to the state Department of Transportation, $70 million to counties and $35 million to cities to address transportation needs.
Among those projects was the roadway project connecting Highway 96 to I-840.
In 2015, the project was estimated to cost $30 million.
The I-840 southern loop was at one time projected to continue on through Dickson County and make a northern loop over Nashville – thus making an 840 circle. In 2003, then-Gov. Phil Bredesen’s administration halted the northern loop proposal. By then, experts concluded it would cost more than $1 billion. That idea was revisited as recently as 2018 when former gubernatorial candidate Diane Black touted the plan during her campaign.
This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: Dickson County’s direct 840 connector route moves closer to reality