TDOT taking over maintenance of busiest Memphis streets

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Come July 1, the state of Tennessee will be responsible for the upkeep of some of the busiest and most-traveled roads in Memphis.

City of Memphis is ending a maintenance agreement with the state that had the city on the hook for state routes. The city said it was losing money on the deal.

"This is something we've been collaborating with TDOT on. It will allow us to focus our resources on the streets the city is responsible for," said Doug McGowen, Chief Operating Officer with City of Memphis, "Over time, the reimbursement was not keeping pace with our cost to deliver that service. Our costs were creeping up."

City officials said they spend about $2.5 million yearly in maintenance costs, but the state's payback is $1.5 million. That means $1 million comes from the general fund to cover the expense.

With the money the city is saving, it wants to expand pothole filling on other streets as well as litter pickups.

The roads affected include some of the busiest in Memphis, like Germantown Parkway, Jackson Avenue, Walnut Grove Road, and Poplar Avenue, just to name a few.

The ending of the contract means the state, instead of the city, will be responsible for pothole patching and pothole damage claims, snow and ice treatment, grass and weed trimming in medians and rights-of-way, and debris and litter removal.

"TDOT does a good job maintaining the interstate system," said McGowen, "That's the kind of service you should expect on state routes within the city of Memphis."

A TDOT spokesperson confirmed City of Memphis' maintenance agreement with the agency expires on June 30 and that the city was the last large city in the state of Tennessee who agreed to the contract. The spokesperson noted the contracted amount of $1.5 million was based on what it would cost TDOT to perform the same services.

Memphis provided the following list of routes that will now be maintained by TDOT (in addition to Interstates 40, 55, and 240):

  • Bill Morris Parkway – (TN 385)
  • Covington Pike – (TN 204)
  • Danny Thomas Blvd/ Thomas Street – (TN 3)
  • Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr Blvd east of Second – (TN 278)
  • East Parkway/ part of Airways – (TN 277)
  • EH Crump Boulevard – (TN 1/4)
  • Elvis Presley Blvd/ Bellevue Boulevard south of Union – (TN 3)
  • Germantown Pkwy – (TN 177)
  • Getwell Rd/ New Getwell Rd south of I-240 – (TN 176)
  • Jackson Avenue – (TN 14)
  • Lamar Avenue – (TN 4)
  • N Parkway/ AW Willis East of Second – (TN 1)
  • Poplar Avenue east of East Parkway – (TN 57)
  • Second Street south of Chelsea – (TN 14)
  • Shelby Drive east of Third – (TN 174)
  • Stage Road – (TN 15)
  • State Route 300 – I/40 Thomas Street Connector
  • Summer Avenue – (TN 1)
  • Third Street/ BB King – (TN 14)
  • Union Avenue east of Second –(TN 3)
  • Walnut Grove Road west of I-240 – (TN 23)
  • Weaver Road south of Shelby Drive – (TN 175)

Additionally, the city provided this breakdown of pothole damage claims paid out over the last three fiscal years, noting that in FY2016 under a prior administration, the city had authorized a "pothole relief fund" where $150 was paid for certain pothole claims.

FY2016 FY2017 FY2018 (to date) TOTAL
# of pothole claims filed 437 241 995 1,673
# of pothole claims paid 286 14 11 311
Amount paid for pothole claims $66,456.60 $8,568.13 $6,264.51 $81,289.24

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