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Northwest bypass action urged

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Bedford County Board of Commissioners will consider a resolution to ask the state to complete the northwestern leg of the Shelbyville bypass, State Route 437.

The bypass had been requested by community leaders for decades. Its first, six-mile leg, connecting U.S. 231 north of Shelbyville to U.S. 41A (New Tullahoma Highway) east of Shelbyville, opened in August 2011.

Costly bridge

But the northwestern leg of the bypass as originally planned -- which would continue on to State Route 64 southwest of Shelbyville -- isn't yet on the state's schedule. That leg of the bypass would need to include a bridge over Duck River, increasing its cost.

County Mayor Eugene Ray told members of Bedford County Board of Commissioners' rules and legislative committee Tuesday night that state economic development officials have suggested the county ask the state to push forward with the bypass.

A resolution asking the state to complete the bypass was submitted to the rules committee Tuesday night.

Partial expansion

Commissioner Jimmy Woodson said that even if the state can't afford the entire project, the county should at least push for carrying the bypass as far west as U.S. 41-A (Unionville Highway) northwest of Shelbyville.

Some commissioners said the first phase of construction was originally supposed to have ended at Midland Road, west of the actual ending, and that some prep work was done at what was to be the Midland Road intersection.

The rules committee voted to recommend the resolution and place it on the full commission's Feb. 12 agenda.

Roads list

In other discussion at the rules committee meeting, the committee approved the annual list of county-maintained roads as submitted by Highway Superintendent Stanley Smotherman.

That routine approval was not done last year, because only one minor change had been made to the list, and state auditors made a finding against the county for not doing it.