UPDATE: New Signal Mountain Road ramp opens - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: New Signal Mountain Road ramp opens

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The nearly 30,000 people that use the Signal Mountain Road exit off Highway 27 North will have a quicker commute going forth. Photo by Dan Kennedy/WRCBtv.com The nearly 30,000 people that use the Signal Mountain Road exit off Highway 27 North will have a quicker commute going forth. Photo by Dan Kennedy/WRCBtv.com
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

The nearly 30,000 people that use the Signal Mountain Road exit off Highway 27 North will have a quicker commute going forth.

They'll be greeted with new, additional lanes that opened from the U.S. 27 north ramp to Signal Mountain Road.

Tennessee Department of Transportation crews opened the new lanes Wednesday afternoon, well-ahead of the scheduled opening of March 31, 2014.

In a news release, TDOT and the roadway construction contractor are said to have recognized the need to speed up the ramp work because of the inconvenience experienced by Signal Mountain residents, who were having to temporarily share part of the ramp with traffic traveling to Dayton Boulevard.

"It was a mess. There was just too much traffic and not enough road," said TDOT's Jennifer Flynn. "We knew it was going to be difficult and it was. We heard a lot from the people who were standing in traffic everyday and it was taking them an extra 10, 20, 30 minutes to get home," she said.

TDOT's Jennifer Flynn sympathizes with folks who's commute was affected by the recent roadwork. That's why TDOT and its contractor decided to speed it up a bit by using a special "High Early Concrete" on the new ramp. The concrete basically cures quicker than regular concrete. The downside, she said, it's "tremendously expensive."

"We try and be good stewards of the taxpayers money. In this particular case, we feel it justified the extra expenditure to put that down," Flynn said.

Flynn said this was the most difficult phase of the project and it's now over.

"This is the final alignment of that ramp so people can relax, get to know that ramp and enjoy it because that's the way it's going to be. We're not going to go back in there and do anything major to that particular ramp," she said.

TDOT said the entire Highway 27 project is estimated to be done by February 2015.

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