Ethan Steinquest/Macon County Times Lafayette is expected to begin building sidewalks on both sides of Highway 52 Bypass this year, running approximately 1.6 miles from the intersection at Highway 10 through the intersection at Church Street.

Ethan Steinquest/Macon County Times

Lafayette is expected to begin building sidewalks on both sides of Highway 52 Bypass this year, running approximately 1.6 miles from the intersection at Highway 10 through the intersection at Church Street.

Lafayette has received a $950,000 grant from the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) to build sidewalks along the Highway 52 Bypass, a project that Lafayette Mayor Richard Driver estimated will be completed by early 2020.

"The sidewalk will pretty much start at the intersection of Highway 10 and Highway 52, and end at the intersection of Highway 52 Bypass and Church Street," Driver said. "There will be sidewalks on both sides for 1.6 miles, and they'll be 6 feet wide."

Safety concerns about pedestrians along the bypass led to the city seeking the funding. Lafayette will be responsible for contributing $50,000, bringing the project's total cost to $1 million.

"Next year, we will put money from our budget toward that," Driver said. "The main thing is that it will make walking down that section of the bypass safer. It will allow people to walk all the way down from Walmart."

Now that TDOT has approved the grant, it will send the city a contract to fill out. Following final approval from the Lafayette City Council, an engineer will be contracted to design plans.

Another TDOT project that residents can expect to see in 2019 involves additions to the Lafayette Municipal Airport.

"We're going to build a partial parallel taxiway to extend the space where airplanes are parked at," Driver said, noting that it would give planes that are taking off access to the main runway while leaving most of it open for planes to land. "There will also be a paving project. When you go on to the runway, you need to be able to see 5 feet at each end, and we've had some hilly areas obstructing that vision."

Airport-related work is targeted for completion in the spring, once the weather becomes warm enough for paving.

"The biggest thing this impacts is airport safety," Richard Thomas, one of Lafayette Municipal Airport's fixed base operators, said. "We had a big line-of-sight issue with planes on the runway, and they've also increased our parking area for transit."

Thomas said that the parallel taxiway is a safety issue that the airport is addressing so that it can add more hangars in the future, noting that the runway is its most immediate concern.

"The city's done some proactive things to make way for future growth at the airport," Thomas said. "A lot of businesses, they want to have an airport close by so they can fly in and check on things. (Other nearby communities) don't have an airport, and we don't really have an interstate. So, it's vital for growth in our community."

Lafayette has also applied for a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) from the state, which would be used to repair or replace the city's sewer lines. In addition, officials are also exploring grant options to extend the water treatment facility.

"One issue we have is that spring water stays at a constant temperature throughout the year, and river water doesn't," Driver said. "We use a lot of water from the spring in the summer months. Having an extra treatment tank will help us manage that."

A roofing project for the water treatment plant is in progress as well, and it is expected to be finished within the coming weeks depending on weather conditions.

"Lafayette's growing," Driver said. "We had a lot going on last year, and it's continued into 2019."