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The City of Columbia took a step towards enhancing its road infrastructure by submitting a grant application for the 2023 Statewide Partnership Program on Friday, August 4, 2023. The application seeks funding to undertake the project of widening 7.2 miles of Bear Creek Pike, stretching from Nashville Highway to Interstate 65.
If successful, this initiative would mark one of the most substantial investments in road infrastructure that the city has witnessed in a generation. The project holds immense significance for the City of Columbia and its residents, as it aligns with a long-standing priority and vision for enhanced road connectivity and accessibility. Bear Creek Pike's expansion to a four-lane highway from Florence, AL, to Columbia, TN, subsequently connecting to Interstate 65, underscores its regional importance. City Engineer Glenn Harper commented, “This segment of Bear Creek Pike provides a regional connection to Interstate 65 and is a priority for the City of Columbia due to the impacts that increasing traffic will create regarding safety, congestion, and economic opportunities.” The widening would bring notable efficiencies to the daily commute for countless residents who utilize this route.
Mayor Chaz Molder stated, “I am pleased the City of Columbia, and our City Council have agreed to the most significant partnership investment in city history—$10 million dollars over 10 years to show Columbia’s commitment to the project.”
The timing of this proposal dovetails perfectly with ongoing infrastructure projects. Currently underway is a $29 million enhancement project for the Interstate interchange at I-65 Bear Creek Pike. Furthermore, City Manager Tony Massey noted, “The City has committed $4.5 million for enhancements for the Bear Creek Pike intersection and Nashville Highway intersection.” By integrating these planned improvements into the broader Bear Creek Pike widening project, two major corridor improvements will be achieved.
Molder went on to say, “I am hopeful, if not confident that, with the support of our state legislative delegation, and our community as a whole, that TDOT will fund this application to widen Bear Creek Pike which will have a generational impact on that corridor and our road infrastructure as a whole.”
The City of Columbia eagerly anticipates the response to its grant application and remains committed to propelling the city's progress through strategic investments in its roadwork. With the support of both local and state stakeholders, this endeavor could reshape the future of transportation in the region.