As our "It City" continues to grow, crane-watch chatter has turned to a discussion on a different topic: The Traffic Situation.
When I moved here years ago, you could ease onto any road, street, or highway in the Nashville area and proceed to wherever it was you were going in a matter of 10-20 minutes. Life was a bit simpler then.
But, times and our beloved city, are changing. Our new normal consists of strategically calendaring our days based on the traffic patterns and conditions. Due to the influx of new residents, visitors, and more, people are carefully scheduling their appointments between the hours of 10 am and 2 pm and rethinking meeting locations in hopes of "just missing" those dreaded backed up lanes that are a result of the busy commute.
Tourism has been another contributing factor. It was exciting to see Nashville experience a record 14.5 million visitors in 2017, but that benchmark did not come without some growing pains.
I truly used to feel confident about where I was going without feeling a need for assistance. Today, I hardly go down the street without using the Waze app on my phone to check for traffic issues. If I have a meeting downtown during the day or an event in the evening, I once again reach for my phone to contact Lyft or Uber so as not to find myself dealing with a parking dilemma. And, too, it doesn't go without saying, any route that avoids 440 is generally a welcomed option.
But apparently, change is in the air there, too. Some may have seen the recent news report on a proposed plan soon to be in the works that is known as the Interstate 440 project. Built in the 80's and known to locals as simply, the Four-Forty, this corridor was designed to address downtown traffic issues by creating an east-to-west southern loop around the city specifically for the many trucks crisscrossing the country that pass through our area.
This four-lane roadway, which linked the three major highways that intersect at our city (I-40 west, I-65, and I-24 south of the city), was designed to handle up to 64,000 vehicles per day. Today, this passageway sees about 100,000—making an update and redesign of the essence.
The new proposed solution would remove the grass median and would result in six lanes (three lanes in each direction) and would also replace the deteriorated concrete pavement with asphalt.
One thing is for certain: there's no turning back. Locals and newcomers alike will continue to learn and look for new and better ways to maneuver their daily drives. If you have any traffic tips, we'd love to hear from you!
Music City has never backed down when facing a challenge. We, as a community, have always come together in the end to find a resolution. I am confident, in the days ahead, we will begin to see light at the end of this new tunnel. In the meantime, safe travels to all.
—Lydia and the Armistead Alliance Team