Paving Poplar -- Again? 

Transportation Department wraps up second phase of roadwork.

Feeling a little driver's deja vu these days when traveling to or from East Memphis? The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) is currently repaving Poplar Avenue in a project that may strike some as a little familiar.

TDOT repaved a section of Poplar from Holmes to Goodlett just last year. Pamela Marshall, TDOT community relations officer, said the current maintenance extends from Goodlett east to I-240 and is a continuation of last year's project.

"When we do really big jobs, people complain. When we split them up, people always ask why," said Marshall. "It's easier on traffic flow. Sometimes you'll do what you can with the funding you get."

The state performs all major maintenance on roads such as Poplar, Jackson Avenue, and Elvis Presley Boulevard, all city streets which double as state highways. Marshall said those projects are on a rotating schedule so that highways can be properly maintained.

"We don't wait until they're torn up to do repairs," she said. "If we wait, it costs more in terms of the repair; drivers may want to get compensation if it tears up their car. ... We don't wait until it gets so horrible that it's a nuisance or a hazard."

On Poplar, TDOT is trying to ease motorists' construction delays by repaving much of the roadway at night. Marshall said her department tries to do night work whenever it's feasible.

"Once it's over, it's nice and you won't think about it," said Marshall. "People only think about it while the barrels are up." n

E-mail: cashiola@memphisflyer.com

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