The planned Northwest Extension of State Route 397 (Mack C. Hatcher Memorial Parkway) is a new alignment that will continue the existing parkway on the northwest side of the City of Franklin in Williamson County. The roadway will extend the existing four-lane, divided parkway approximately 3.1 miles, from south of SR 96 (west of Franklin) to east of Hillsboro Road (north of Franklin).
While it seems to local commuters that progress on the Mack Hatcher extension has stalled, the contractor has simply reallocated their resources to the Hillsboro Road intersection. While no one has been working at the intersection for the new Highway 96, the existing terminus at Hillsboro has been torn up to complete curbs and lanes.
“[The contractor is] currently still working on remaining bridge items and reallocated their forces to the Hillsboro Road intersection,” explained Beth Emmons, Director Community Relations Division, Tennessee Department of Transportation. “They are focusing on completing that part as it is the most critical portion of work, and having it in its final configuration will help relieve some of the traffic congestion. Once that is completed they will work on the SR 96 area.”
While the right lane being closed for so long has been crippling to traffic in the morning and afternoon as parents, students, teachers and business people pass by Franklin High School, they only need suffer for a while longer.
“The contractor is still scheduled to have the project substantially completed by October 30,” said Emmons.
Begun in late 2018, it is a $45.1 million, 3.2-mile project. The first phase of the project includes a multi-use path, a two-lane road from Hillsboro Road to State Route 96 West, a bridge over the Harpeth River, and road access points at Hillsboro Road, Del Rio Pike, Old Charlotte Pike and 96 West. The second phase will add a second bridge and widen the road to four lanes.
When completed, Mack Hatcher will be part of a complete loop around the city of Franklin. According to the TDOT website, “The Northwest extension of Mack Hatcher is included as part of the city’s Major Thoroughfare Plan. Proposed improvements are to extend Mack Hatcher from Hillsboro Road to the Westhaven Subdivision’s southern property line. The cross section is proposed to be four lanes with a raised median, multi-use path on the inside, street lighting at intersections and other appurtenances as required. Roundabouts will be installed at the intersections with State Route 96 West and Del Rio Pike.”
It is a project that has been a long time coming.