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Rutherford County’s Transportation Network Attracts Logistics Firms

Smyrna Airport is undergoing upgrades to make it even more attractive to business clients involved in transporting goods.

By Jessica Walker Boehm on June 4, 2015

It’s hammer time at Smyrna Airport. Work began in January 2015 to construct two 12,000-square-foot hangars that will connect to a new 15,000-square-foot office building designed to provide local businesses with more airfield access.
Completion of the hangars and office building is scheduled for late 2015, and airport officials say a few prospective tenants are already lined up to move in. That occupancy will add to the strong logistics industry that already exists and continues to grow in Rutherford County.
“We wanted this project to be a step toward further development of our 400-acre Smyrna Airport Business Park, and along with that construction, we are installing two new taxiways along with an access road and all the infrastructure that goes with it,” says John Black, executive director of the Smyrna/Rutherford County Airport Authority. “This airport is getting busier all the time, and our parking lots are getting fuller. We need more buildings to attract even more customers.”
The airport already has an existing 15,000-square-foot Terminal & Business Center, and companies currently utilizing Smyrna Airport on a regular basis include Nissan and Corporate Flight Management. The airfield is busy with 80,000 to 90,000 operations a year, or about 250 on most days, making it the third-largest and third-busiest general aviation airport in Tennessee.
“Rutherford County is ideal in the center of the eastern United States where three interstates cross, so companies can get in and out of the region to quickly transport cargo anywhere,” Black says. “We are in a vibrant, growing market – nearby Nashville is one of the hottest areas in the U.S. for a corporation that needs air access, and Smyrna Airport is just 10 minutes from downtown Nashville. We also have an 8,000-foot runway that can accommodate 747s.”
Road, Rail and Port Access
Located within a day’s drive of 75 percent of the U.S. population, Rutherford County offers excellent highway access for companies with distribution, warehousing and logistics needs via Interstate 24; I-40 and I-65 are both just 10 minutes away. The county is also served by major artery State Route 840, along with U.S. Highways 31A, 41, 41A, 70, 231 and 431.
Class I rail provider CSX operates an automotive distribution center in Smyrna and a railroad cargo terminal in Nashville. The nearest port, the Port of Nashville on the Cumberland River, has a 9-foot channel and links the region to the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway and the Gulf of Mexico.
Murfreesboro Municipal Airport, also in Rutherford County, is a general aviation facility whose largest tenant is the aerospace department of Middle Tennessee State University. Murfreesboro Municipal oversees about 54,000 overall operations a year, and recently invested $3.2 million to extend its runway, repave taxiways, upgrade lighting and relocate a road to help the airport with future hangar development.
For commercial travelers, Rutherford County is only 10 minutes from the Nashville International Airport, which provides air service to 10 million passengers annually and daily direct flights to 50 major U.S. markets.
Logical for Logistics
The region’s robust area transportation network fuels distribution and warehousing operations for several top employers, including Amazon, Saks, Ingram Book Company, Ajax-Turner and Venture Express, which delivers automotive parts and supplies for Nissan and Johnson Controls. Newly completed and ongoing enhancements to infrastructure continue to occur along several local transportation corridors, including widening projects on State Route 840, Veterans Parkway and Middle Tennessee Boulevard.
Also under construction is a project that will ultimately spur major economic development along Joe B. Jackson Parkway – a roadway that connects Highway 41 in Murfreesboro all the way to U.S. 231 South (Shelbyville Highway) and includes an interchange at I-24.
“Amazon has already built a huge distribution facility along Joe B. Jackson Parkway and so has NHK Seating, and there is room for several other warehousing and logistics companies to locate there,” says Dana Richardson, transportation director for the City of Murfreesboro. “The transportation sector continues to advance in this region, and Rutherford County has become an attractive community for distribution companies to locate.”
Find more about transportation in Rutherford County, TN.

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