Existing Route Improvements and Proposed Western Extension
State Route 397, the Mack Hatcher Memorial Parkway in Williamson County, is the primary transportation concern of the city of Franklin. Due to huge demands on current and future traffic, local and state officials requested for TDOT to study the feasibility of extending the Parkway to the western portion of Williamson County. This action would create a complete loop around the city, avert traffic away from downtown Franklin and provide motorists access to other major routes in the area.
The Western Extension
TDOT announced on Friday, December 2, 2005 the preferred alignment selection for the Mack Hatcher Parkway Western Extension. The route, identified in the Final Environmental Impact Statement as
Alternate G, and, at 7.5 miles, is the shortest of the six alternatives previously identified. The limits begin at the Columbia Highway (State Route 6) south of Franklin and end at Hillsboro Road (State Route 106) north of Franklin.
The utilization of a Citizen’s Design Team in 2006 stemming from TDOT‘s Context Sensitive Design approach to project development provided a final design concept for the extension.
TDOT has allowed the City of Franklin and their consultants, CDM Smith and Associates to design the northwest quadrant of the western extension. They began design work in the late summer of 2007; the design public meeting was held on November 13, 2008. The department also allowed the City to manage the right-of-way phase of work. That work was completed in the spring of 2011.
Widening of Existing Mack Hatcher
The existing Mack Hatcher from SR 96 east of Franklin to SR 6 north of Franklin was widened from 2 lanes to 4 travel lanes with raised median and completed on May 15, 2014. A multi-use path with landscaping were a part of the enhancement features for the roadway.