UPDATE: Roberts Mill Road now reopened - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Roberts Mill Road now reopened

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HAMILTON COUNTY, TN (WRCB) - UPDATE: Roberts Mill Road is now open after being closed for the past 30 days.  Crews were working to repair damage to the road.


Over the last 30 days work crews have worked to stabilize two section of Roberts Mill Road totaling about 230 feet. The repair work included cement shotcrete slop stabilization and the installation of self–drilling nails beneath the roadway.

For those curious about soil nailing, this is the term used to describe the soil stabilization technology where pressure grouted anchors are installed in either soil or loose rock.  The anchors transfer forces into the ground by means of a steel tendon or “micro-pile”, and a well-defined body of grout.  This method allows for the transfer of external forces into the ground.  The existing ground slope surface area or “face,” is then covered with a connecting layer of reinforced “shotcrete”, which is a cementitious covering.  The process reinforces the ground's ability to resist stress.  In the case of Roberts Mill Road, the side slopes that support the roadway bed will be reinforced.

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Rain like we've had can cause erosion and slipping on some mountainous roads in our area. That's why the Hamilton County Public Works Department is focused on stabilizing one road in the Walden's Ridge area.

Work began Monday on Roberts Mill Road. It will be closed for 30 days. It's closed while engineers and road crews address existing erosion issues and take measures to prevent a landslide.

"I was surprised. I needed to go through it for work, but yeah I didn't know it was closed," Hillary Swope said.

Hillary Swope was among dozens of drivers Monday forced to turn around at the sight of "road closed" signs posted on Roberts Mill Road. It'll stay that way for the next month.

"That's required in order to make some effective repairs that we've identified that can be addressed using a soil nailing technology," Hamilton County Public Works Director of Engineering John Agan said.

Agan says it's similar to the stabilization project required on the mountain's steep W Road last year.

"The difference this time being that we were able to identify this before there was any type of activity or sliding," Agan said.

Some erosion is starting to show.

"It needs to be fixed desperately. I know that part of it was falling away on the side that goes down the slope," Elaine Jackson said.

Gene Jackson has lived in this same house at the foot of the mountain for 77 years and says he's known people who've died on Roberts Mill Road. That's why he and his wife, Elaine say they're thankful to see preventive work being done.

"That's very important because that is the most dangerous road around. There have been a lot of people killed up there. They come off the top riding the brakes and get down about the third curve up and the brakes go away and they're gone," Gene Jackson said.

After crews stabilize the road, they'll lay down new asphalt and replace the guard rails.

"It does affect people but they've got to get it fixed," Elaine said.

County officials recommend using W Road or 127 for trips on and off Signal Mountain until Robert Mills re-opens September 18th.

The closure does not block the entrance to Falling Water Elementary School.

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