By PATRICK HALL
The Wilson Post
Construction on Mt. Juliet road is on schedule, according to interim City Manager Kenneth Martin, and is expected to complete by May 2012, despite rumors the project was lagging behind.
Martin said that he had been getting questions as to why the project was delayed, but pointed out it was actually ahead of schedule earlier this year. During the summer, favorable weather put the construction ahead of schedule and said there was hope the work could finish by the end of this year.
The project has been in the works since 2009, working to widen Mt. Juliet Road to accommodate more traffic and a growing city. The Tennessee Department of Transportation is over the construction due to the road being a state highway, Highway 141.
It doesnt look like its going to finish when we had hoped, Martin said.
But that was a best-case scenario date according to Martin, who said the project was initially planned as a 36-month job, which would have it scheduled to conclude in May 2012.
Lots of rain this fall and in the winter have made construction difficult to advance and prevented the project from staying ahead of schedule. Now that temperatures are entering their lowest point, paving and further work will be more difficult.
Its been pushed back to the original completion date, Martin said, noting that does not mean the job is delayed, but merely back on schedule.
Many businesses along Mt. Juliet Road and residents have had complaints during the construction period. Motorists have expressed their displeasure with traffic delays and lane closures in the past while business owners have said the construction has turned some people away.
Martin said the current state of the project is more conducive for drivers and the businesses along Mt. Juliet Road and said it isnt any different from other roadway construction projects.
Its like any other project, you get different dates and are subject to the weather, Martin said. Theres light at the end of the tunnel, it looks better.
Martin said of two thermometers at each end of the construction, one near Highway 70 and another near East Division Street, still show four to five months of work remaining before the project is completed.
Staff Writer Patrick Hall may be contacted at email@example.com.