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Finish line in sight: Shallowford widening project entering final phase

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Work continues Friday on Shallowford Road. Photo by Angela Lewis. Work continues Friday on Shallowford Road. Photo by Angela Lewis.
CHATTANOOGA, TN (Times Free Press) -

It may not look like it to drivers crowding against jersey barriers and bumping over crumbling temporary pavement, but the long-overdue widening of Shallowford Road between Gunbarrel and Jenkins is entering its final phase.

"We're still striving to get it done by the 30th of September," said Jennifer Flynn, spokeswoman for the Tennessee Department of Transportation Region 2 office in Chattanooga. "Once we get to the paving, it'll go a lot faster."

On Friday, diesel engines were roaring at the work site on the north side of the road while clots of cars and trucks crept eastward beyond the concrete barriers. Across a thick bed of crushed gravel, curbs and gutters are in place along much of the 0.85-mile widening area, but crews still are doing final drainage and roadbed construction in a small area, Flynn said. The final step will be paving with three layers of asphalt.

If the Sept. 30 completion date holds, the $3.4 million widening project will come in 10 months past due. From the beginning, TDOT has blamed the laggard pace of relocating utilities in the right of way. Flynn said the original bid was awarded to Highways Inc. in November 2011 with a projected construction time of one year. The utilities were to have been moved before that but weren't, she said. So work that should have begun in late 2011 or early 2012 didn't begin until August 2012, Flynn said. Heavy rains this spring and summer haven't helped.

Read more from our news partner the Times Free Press.

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