After nearly three years, the final pieces of the Highway 27 expansion project are about to be tied together. The last lane shift came Monday night along mostly the northbound lanes.
Local Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) spokesperson Jennifer Flynn explains.
"The traffic that's out there now is running on brand new pavement. [The lane shift] also frees up some of the areas that the contractor had not been able to get to," explains Flynn.
There are no additional lanes yet, but Flynn says that the route is now straighter, smoother, and safer.
"The only problem is there's an area just past Signal Mountain Road, right past the exit, that has been reduced to one lane," says Flynn.
This allows for the completion of the retaining walls. This short stretch of road should be back to two lanes by Thanksgiving, according to Flynn.
The northbound ramp onto Dayton Boulevard is coming along nicely. The only finishing touch is putting up the guard rails.
Perhaps the nicest surprise is the opening of all ramps to and from Manufacturers Road one day ahead of schedule.
Sylvia Ferrer lives in Red Bank and has been looking forward to this for months.
"Oh, cool! I didn't know that. Celebrate!" says Ferrer. "I tried that five times and realized it wasn't open. Thank you! That makes a big difference."
She applauds TDOT on a job well done so far.
"It always seems like projects like this that are so big take forever. But all I've seen with it is progress," adds Ferrer.
Flynn is excited to see the face of Chattanooga transform from just an idea and a set of plans to a nearly finished reality.
"We wanted to have a project that people would be proud of," states Flynn. "One that will help move traffic through Chattanooga safely. We're very happy it's coming together so well."
Flynn goes on to say that the entire project, weather-permitting, is on track to be done by February, 2015 or by the end of 2014 in the best case scenario.