If you have driven down U.S. 31 lately south of Interstate 840, dirt is moving on either side of the oft-congested roadway.

Primarily, this is a Tennessee Department of Transportation project, aimed at adding access to the Mars Petcare headquarters north of Thompson’s Station.

It is a State Industrial Access project serving Mars, and includes grading, drainage, construction of a concrete box bridge, signals and paving of the access road, according to Kathryn Schulte, community relations officer for TDOT.

The 0.606 mile project should be complete by the end of September 2017, and is being built by LoJac, who won the contract with a low-bid of $2,971,459.11

Critz Lane is being straightened out, as well, and it will have a new stop light.

Through traffic using U.S. 31 could be affected by the construction.

Discussion is currently taking place in Thompson’s Station to work on a long-term downtown plan that includes keeping U.S. 31 a two-lane road and building a north-south road to handle excess through traffic.

“The town has come with funds to build a safe east west underpass of Highway 31 at Critz for pedestrians and cyclists,” Corey Napier, Thompson’s Station mayor, said. “We are also acquiring enough right of way for future trailways that parallel Critz.

“Critz will be a major arterial road, but we are engineering it to continue to look and feel like a rural road with protected viewsheds, buffering and multi-modality. The same goes for Highway 31 going south into our downtown area. We foresee Highway 31 staying two lanes coming into the area with greenspace buffering and trailways.”