Construction begins soon on the long-awaited Middle Tennessee Boulevard improvement project. MTSU officials are encouraging students, faculty, staff and visitors to avoid the area if at all possible because traffic flow and parking on the west side of campus will be significantly altered during the two-year plus construction process.
Lane shifts will be done between 7 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 30, reducing the street to one lane in each direction between East Main Street and Ewing Boulevard. The shift will slow traffic noticeably, so drivers should plan for extra commuting time to and from campus beginning next week and use alternative access campus.
The 30-month, $15.7 million project will upgrade the .8-mile section of the thoroughfare between East Main and Greenland Drive. The project is finally moving forward after the City of Murfreesboro approved the bid of contractor, Jarrett Builders of Nashville, following a second request for bids. The City of Murfreesboro is overseeing the work.
MTSU officials said they expect at least one lane of traffic will always be open in both directions throughout construction, but access to parking and traffic flow on the roadway will be affected throughout the project. Pedestrians and motorists are asked to pay close attention to posted signage to ensure safety.
Completion is expected by Fall 2018. The City will share project updates through an interactive online map atwww.murfreesborotn.gov/mtb.
The project will reconstruct the existing four- and five-lane roadway to a consistent four-lane divided street with a landscaped median. It will include bike lanes, improved sidewalks and lighting, new traffic signals, decorative crosswalks, landscaping and underground utilities.
Officials with MTSU Parking and Transportation Services are encouraging students, faculty, staff and visitors to seek alternative campus access from Greenland Drive, Rutherford Boulevard and East Main Street and take advantage of the university's Raider Xpress shuttle bus service and the MTSU Mobile app.
Campus transportation officials are again reminding students that the Raider Xpress shuttle routes are designed to get students to their classes within minutes of boarding from any parking lot on campus, such as the lot off South Rutherford.
The MTSU Mobile app includes real-time tracking of the Raider Xpress shuttles and can be downloaded atwww.mtsu.edu/mobile. A map of Raider Xpress Blue, Green and Red routes is available at http://bit.ly/raider-xpress.
The University is hosting a community meeting from 4 to 5 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 18, in the Ingram Conference Center, 2269 Middle Tennessee Blvd. Project consultants will join city and MTSU officials to answer questions about the project and its potential impacts during construction. Attendees will find designated parking on the north side of the building by entering the parking lot from Lytle Street.
Upon completion, the west side of campus also will be affected in the following ways:
- Traffic flow on Faulkinberry Drive will change to "right turn in, right turn out" onto Middle Tennessee Boulevard.
- A pull-in area for buses will be added to the front of Murphy Center.
- Signalized pedestrian crossings will be added at Lytle and Division Streets, and crosswalks at Bell Street and Faulkinberry Drive will be upgraded.
- Brick walls with signage will be erected at the corners of Greenland Drive, and another wall will be added at East Main Street, to better define the university's boundaries.
- Flagpoles will be erected at Faulkinberry Drive.
MTSU will lose a portion of three tennis courts during construction, which will be supplemented by the use of the new Adams Indoor Tennis Complex, a partnership between the city, MTSU and the nonprofit Christy-Houston Foundation.
For campus visitors, a printable campus parking map is available at http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParkingMap.
Off-campus visitors attending events should obtain a special one-day permit from MTSU's Office of Parking and Transportation at http://www.mtsu.edu/parking/visit.php. Temporary permits are also available at the Parking and Transportation Services office on East Main Street. No permit is required for the Feb. 18 community meeting.