Stalled road widening leaves Whitehaven students stuck in traffic

Whitehaven students stuck in traffic because of stalled road widening

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Plans to fix a busy road in Whitehaven is nearly a decade in the making.

We’re talking about a stretch of Holmes Road near John P. Freeman Optional School in Whitehaven.

When school lets out, parents picking up their kids have to create their own lane on a stretch of grass that runs along the road.

“It’s dangerous all the time when you got kids walking the streets.,” said Robert Anderson, neighbor.

The two-lane road can cause spontaneous back-ups and Anderson says it’s a traffic nightmare.

“We have two schools, a development down there and the street needs to be widened, stop lights. It’s just terrible,” said Anderson.

Plans to widen Holmes Road to four lanes is underway, just not in Whitehaven.

Steps are underway to widen Holmes Road from Hacks Crossing to Riverdale Road.

Monday the Shelby County commission approved a $260,000 contract for that project. The money is going towards engineering and environmental services.

Commissioner Edmund Ford Jr. voted "No" on the resolution.

“Out of respect for my constituents, I had to vote no,” said Ford.

Ford pointed to the 8 point 6 million dollars that was set aside in 2010 to turn Holmes Road between Horn Lake and Craigwood into a 4 lane roadway.

“But after the new Mayor, Mayor Luttrell, that 8.6 million dollars immediately went away and went to other projects. It went to other Holmes Road projects, but not the one in Whitehaven,” said Ford

During Monday's commission meeting a county representative said they are waiting for Memphis to take the lead in that project.

The area is covered by both city and county taxes, but the county says it is within the city of Memphis’ jurisdiction.

We reached out to the city and they said the project is on their radar, but they would have to apply for grants from T-DOT to complete the project.

We asked if the city has applied for the funds and the city spokesperson says she wasn’t sure.

However, the city did release this statement about other projects occurring along Holmes road:

"The city has begun working on corridor improvements along Holmes Rd, beginning at Third Street and moving East. The city currently has ongoing projects funded by TDOT on Holmes Road.

The segment of Holmes Road - between Elvis Presley to Horn Lake is scheduled to be resurfaced within the next few of weeks.

These projects will improve the corridor of Holmes from Milbranch to Tchulahoma, Malone to Lamar and other segments of Holmes Rd.

We are currently moving to complete the Right-Of-Way (ROW) acquisition phases before beginning the construction phase.”

However, there are no immediate plans to fix the road surrounding John P Freeman Optional School.

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