Exit 8 Railroad Tunnel Project

The Project will create a new road alignment between U.S.-31 (East Main Street) and Local Route 6098 (Saundersville Road).

Exit 8 Railroad Tunnel Project RenderingRendering of the Proposed Road and Tunnel Once Completed


The goal of this project is to improve safety and relieve congestion in the corridor that connects U.S.-31 (East Main St) to SR-386 (Vietnam Vets) where it is common to have vehicles backed up onto the freeway during peak hours.

The Project 

  • Create a new bridge for the CSX railroad over the proposed connector road; this will separate rail traffic from vehicular traffic.
  • Add lighting from the interchange along Saundersville Road and to the new connector road to improve visibility
  • Widen U.S.-31 to add turn lanes for the connector road and realign Saundersville Road for a new intersection with the connector road

Currently, the project is estimated at $28 million which includes $24.7 for construction and $3.3 for property acquisition.

Proposed Route of the New Interchange Between East Main Street and Saundersville RoadProposed Route of the New Interchange Between East Main Street and Saundersville Road

Estimated Timeline

  • Engineering/Design completed in 2023
  • Property acquisition completed in 2025
  • Construction will start once funding is obtained and will take approximately 2 to 3 years

Project History to Date

  • 2006 to 2010 - Saundersville Road was rerouted to run west across Indian Lake Boulevard and end at Scotch St near Whitten Elementary. Previously, Saundersville Road only ran north to south starting at Station Camp Schools and ending at East Main St, crossing over the CSX tracks. The previous section of Saundersville Road that crossed the tracks was renamed Winston Hills Parkway. During this project, TDOT expected this new section of Winston Hills to be replaced with a tunnel or bridge and agreed to fund half the design cost.
  • April 2016 - The City passed a resolution to work with TDOT to build the tunnel (Resolution 2016-13).
  • October 2018 - The City sent CSX Transportation preliminary designs created on the previous understanding that CSX Transportation would allow for occasional train delays during construction
  • November 2018 - CXS modified their previous decision and decided to require a parallel track be built for use during construction. This change now required the city do alter the design and increased both design and construction costs.
  • 2019 - 2021 - The City added money to fund the increased cost of design and began the process of engaging the design team to develop federal grant applications. City officials and staff reached out to U.S. Senators, Congressmen, local leaders and residents to gather letters of support for grant. Grant applications were submitted. Over the course of the three years, Hendersonville was turned down for three different federal grant applications
  • Summer 2022 - The City learned of current grant criteria changes that would not make Hendersonville a strong candidate for Federal grants at this time. City officials and staff began outreach to state and county officials to discuss other funding methods.
  • Fall 2022 - The city obtained an updated construction estimate which increased the project total to $28 million.

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