Carpenters Grade

A map from the city’s engineering and public works department show the limits of the $2.8 million project to widen Carpenters Grade Road in a growing part of the south Maryville neighborhood. Construction may not be complete until 2024.

Less than a mile of road at the center of a growing residential neighborhood in Maryville and which has seen increasing levels of traffic is set to get a multimillion-dollar makeover in the next four years.

Maryville engineers held a public meeting Nov. 20 for residents living on or near a section of Carpenters Grade Road in south Maryville. The road is set for a significant widening project, and officials used the meeting to explain updates on a National Environmental Policy Act study on the road — set for completion in early 2020 — and asking for feedback from residents.

The project is an 80-20 collaboration with the Tennessee Department of Transportation in which the state pays 80% of the cost and the city 20%. Total costs come to $2.8 million, according to a presentation from Director of Engineering and Public Works Brian Boone.

City Engineer Kevin Stoltenberg said in a phone interview that, though the project’s completion deadline has been pushed back to the mid-2020s at this point, new designs have been well accepted by residents.

“I think that it’s the most responsible design that we could come up with that is respectful of the neighborhoods and doesn’t take up too much space,” Stoltenberg said.

Designs include a possible traffic signal at the intersection of Raulston Road/Peterson Lane and Carpenters Grade, the widening of two 9-foot lanes to 11-foot lanes, a new multi-use walkway and the addition of a turn lane near the four-way intersection.

Flanking the road are mostly subdivision homes whose parcels have total market appraisal values ranging from around $75,000 to upwards of $600,000, according to Blount parcel data.

The project stretches only about 4,500 feet through the residential neighborhood from the Raulston/Peterson/Carpenters intersection to Cochran Road, Stoltenberg said, and is primarily focused on dealing with a high amount of traffic.

“We’re at 11,000 vehicles a day right now,” Stoltenberg said, “and the road itself is starting to crumble.” He said the city was considering simply fixing the issues itself, but decided to use state funding, which is why the project is going through an environmental study.

Even though that may make the planning process last longer than originally anticipated, engineers agree the efforts are necessary.

“With all the development that we’re seeing out that way, our traffic studies that we had have showed that it’s only going to get worse over the next several years,” Stoltenberg said.

He noted the intersection alone would fail by 2040 if repairs weren’t addressed, citing information from city consultants.

The four separate and slow project phases — from initial studies to construction completion — mean that the widening project itself may not be complete until spring of 2024, Stoltenberg said.

But with the NEPA process nearly complete, the city may complete the design phase by late 2020.

Stoltenberg stressed the project’s current designs were preliminary and nothing was set in stone. “What gets built is almost never what you see on the front end of the design,” he said, confirming designs in the works now do a good job of conveying what the city intends to build.

The Carpenters Grade widening effort is only one of many road projects on the horizon for Maryville. The city has nearly 20 other road projects in the works.

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