Obion-Trimble Road on the minds of residents

Obion-Trimble Road on the minds of residents

By KEVIN BOWDEN
Staff Reporter
State Commissioner of Transportation John Schroer was impressed with the turnout at a meeting Tuesday morning in Obion, but he didn’t have good news for the more than 60 people who packed the Obion Community Center.
Schroer made his first trip to Obion Tuesday to talk with local officials about getting the Obion-Trimble Road reopened.
“We desperately need it … it would be a shot in the arm for us to get the bridge reopened,” Obion council member Bob Anderson told The Messenger prior to the meeting.
He was the acting mayor in Obion in 1989 when state officials closed down the Obion-Trimble Road due to the condition of the bridges through the Gooch Waterfowl Management Area. In the 22 years since the road has been shut down, Obion Public Works director Randy Evans told Schroer 47 businesses in Obion have closed.
It was state Rep. Bill Sanderson, R-Kenton, who invited the commissioner to visit Obion County.
Schroer and members of his staff started the day visiting with officials in Kenton and then traveled to Obion to talk about the Obion-Trimble Road.
Sanderson described the road as a “road of commerce” as he introduced Schroer to the crowd.
There were several county officials in attendance at the meeting, including Obion County Mayor Benny McGuire and county commissioners Ned Bigelow, Terry Roberts, Ralph Puckett and Danny Jowers.
“I’m doing my best to travel around the state,” Schroer said in his opening remarks.His 30-minute presentation at the Obion Community Center was dominated by questions and comments from city officials and city residents. More than half of those who turned out for the meeting were farmers and those farmers who spoke up during the meeting expressed their strong hopes to get the road reopened.
Others at the meeting brought up how important the road is to the city, in terms of agriculture and commerce.
Several pleaded with the commissioner to get the road reopened, but he explained there are an estimated 15,000 miles of road in the state and he currently has an estimated $9 billion worth of road projects on the books to consider.
Schroer estimated Tues-day it would take about $30 million to $40 million to replace the four bridges on the road and get it reopened to vehicle traffic.
He said it would be a “very expensive project to do” and “currently there are no plans to do that.”
The commissioner spoke frankly to the crowd, saying his department is working with limited resources.
“I will take this back to Nashville and we’ll continue to look at this issue,” he told the crowd.
Although the news was not what those who turned out on a rainy Tuesday morning wanted to hear, the crowd did appear appreciative for the commissioner’s visit. He, in turn, said he was very impressed by the turnout and encouraged those at the meeting to keep lobbying to get the road reopened. “We’re not going to give up hope for this,” Sanderson said at the close of the meeting.
Staff Reporter Kevin Bowden may be contacted by email at kmbowden@ucmessenger.com.

Published in The Messenger 11.16.11

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