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What if?

Posted Wednesday, September 24, 2008, at 9:58 AM

A couple of recent news stories elsewhere have reminded me of major stories I covered locally in the past.

All the hubbub about the Large Hadron Collider reminded me that in the late 1980s, not long after I'd started working here, a site in Bedford and Rutherford counties was on the short list for the Superconducting Super Collider. Texas was eventually selected as the SSC site, but the SSC was never completed. No doubt, there were a lot of people who bought land or started businesses in that area of Texas expecting a collider-driven boom that never happened.

The first preliminary drawing circulated for Tennessee's SSC proposal would have put the control complex in the Deason area. Later, the official proposal tilted the oval-shaped route of the collider a bit, placing the control complex in Rutherford County. But there still would have been access points to the underground tunnel at various points along its route, including in Bedford County.

The recent run on gasoline in Nashville has included references to the underground pipeline. Most people think that gasoline is transported in the tanker trucks which you see filling the pumps at your local convenience store. But cross-country transport is done in many cases by underground pipeline.

Some years back, I want to say in the early 1990s but I haven't looked it up for sure, Colonial Pipeline was trying to put in a north-south gasoline pipeline which would have ended at a tank farm in Murfreesboro and which would have passed right through Bedford County.

Some of the affected landowners were quite upset about this. The company claimed that the pipeline was safe and noted that there are existing pipelines in Middle Tennessee that we've all driven past or over without realizing it, and without any noticeable impact on the property above. But the company had also experienced a major spill just a year or two previously in another part of the country.

The company ended up having to change the planned route of the pipeline because it couldn't get the right zoning for the tank farm site in Murfreesboro. Eventually, the project was called off altogether.

It's interesting how one story was about a development our community tried to attract but lost, and the other was about a development that the community fought. The "what if?" game may be pointless, but it's still fun.

By the way, if you want to check and see if the Large Hadron Collider has created a black hole and destroyed the Earth yet, all you have to do is check this link:


I'm happy to be able to refer you to this useful service.

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That was a VERY informative link there, John! Thanks! (lol)

-- Posted by mmp84 on Wed, Sep 24, 2008, at 4:09 PM

The collider is down. There needs to be a repair done and since the enclosure is at almost 0 Kelvin (-460 F), it will take about a few weeks to warm it up enough to work on it and a few more weeks to cool it back down...If you're interested:-)

-- Posted by Jacks4me on Wed, Sep 24, 2008, at 12:47 PM

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John I. Carney
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John I. Carney is city editor of the Times-Gazette.
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