Maury County has plenty of drive, thanks in large part to its robust transportation network.
Businesses find the region attractive because it's located along Interstate 65, with U.S. Highways 31, 43 and 412 passing through, offering proximity to State Route 840 and easy connections to I-24 and I-40.
“Our county is halfway between Nashville and Huntsville, which are both straight shots along I-65,” says Wil Evans, manager of economic development with the Maury County Chamber & Economic Alliance. “We are also home to Maury Regional Airport and its 6,000-foot runway that can accommodate all sizes of corporate jets.”
For shipping by water, Maury County is only 60 miles from the port of Florence, Ala.
"There is CSX rail service in the northern portion of the county, while Tennessee Southern Railroad has an off-loading site near Cherry Glen Industrial Park in Mount Pleasant,” Evans says. "For transportation, this is a well laid-out community.”
A River Runs Through It
In Columbia, local leaders have been working for several years to establish pedestrian-friendly centers where residents can gather. To draw more foot traffic, a Duck River Walk project connecting Columbia's downtown to the river via multi-use trails is expected to be completed in spring 2012.
“We have a beautiful, natural Duck River asset that pedestrians haven't been able to really see in the past, but now they can,” says Jim Fuller, Columbia city engineer. “There is an excellent one-mile walk that people can enjoy along Riverside Drive stretching from the old Columbia Dam to near North Main Street, plus surrounding streets and crosswalks have been refurbished. There are now several points of the Duck River that can be accessed by pedestrians.”
More Pedestrian-friendly Projects
Another pedestrian transportation project in the planning stages is an upgrade to Columbia's James Campbell Boulevard corridor. The initial upgrade plan will include the stretch from Trotwood Avenue, where Maury Regional Hospital sits, to Brookmeade Drive, where the Wal-Mart Supercenter is located.
“That portion of James Campbell is currently a busy, five-lane, 4-mph highway surprisingly used by many people who walk or cycle to stores along that road, even though no sidewalks are in place,” says Norman Wright, City of Columbia planning director. “Those people must walk on the highway shoulder or along grass berms or through parking lots to arrive at their destination."
Wright says $10 million needs to be spent to bury power lines, construct sidewalks, build curbs and gutters, install landscape and resurface that part of the boulevard.
“We will have a strategy by late summer or early fall 2012 on the best way to fund it,” Wright says. “The James Campbell project will happen. We just have to figure out the how and when."