ABOVE: Mack Hatcher Parkway currently comes to a dead-end at Hillsboro Road, and that’s where a groundbreaking will be held on Dec. 18 to start the expansion project. // JOHN MCBRYDE
By John McBryde
The Tennessee Department of Transportation will host a groundbreaking for construction on the extension of Mack Hatcher Parkway on the northwest side of Franklin on Tuesday, Dec. 18, meaning the long-awaited project will get its ceremonial launch toward reality.
Construction is expected to begin in January and to be completed by the fall of 2021, according to a timeline from TDOT. The groundbreaking will be held at 11:15 a.m. at 998 Hillsboro Road, where Mack Hatcher now comes to dead-end.
Eutaw Construction Company Inc. was low bidder, with $45,122,600.00, and, thus, was awarded the project. The company will be responsible for the grading, drainage, construction of bridges, retaining walls and paving on Mack Hatcher Parkway (State Route 397) from Hillsboro Road near Franklin High School to Highway 96 West at Westhaven.
The parkway was originally built in the early 1980s and was intended to eventually encircle the entire core of Franklin.
“The initial phase will include construction of two 12-foot travel lanes, 10-foot inside and outside shoulders, and a 12-foot multi-use path beyond the outside shoulder,” TDOT Community Relations officer Kathryn Schulte said in an email to the Home Page.
“Full buildout at the major intersections — SR-96, Del Rio Pike, and SR-106 — is included in the initial phase. The initial phase also includes one of the twin bridges over the Harpeth River. The future phase will include construction of the remaining two lanes and the second bridge over the Harpeth River.”
The highway crosses a bend of the Harpeth River behind the northern end of the Rebel Meadows subdivision, hence the two bridges.
The extension has been anticipated for years, and is expected to relieve traffic in front of Franklin High School and toward downtown Franklin and Highway 96 West.
Work on the southwest portion of Mack Hatcher, which will complete the parkway as a full circle, will come much later.