Highway 27 construction project's countdown to completion
After three years of slow downs and construction work on U.S. Highway 27, the end is finally in sight.
The $105 million dollar project began in December 2011 and is now said to be in its final stage.
Starting at 8 p.m. Monday night a northbound lane will be closed while crews install overhead signs. The work is expected to finish before 6 a.m. Tuesday. There will be one lane left open and drivers should be ready for heavy traffic and delays.
"They've lived through it for three years and the worst is over, I can tell them that," said TDOT spokesperson Jennifer Flynn, "The worst is over."
It might look like the new lanes are ready for traffic but there's still a few finishing touches left to be done.
"It's because of the pavement marking and the rumble strips and things like that they've got to complete before they can open them."
Along the 1.6 miles of construction crews still have to add rumble strips, overhead signs and pavement marking, but that last one comes with a catch.
"It's going to be temperature sensitive so we'll have to wait until the temperatures warm up before we can put that down," said Flynn.
Many drivers are happy to see the new lanes nearly finished.
"I dreaded getting on 27 to go to Eastgate. It was miserable," said Chris Cole of Signal Mountain.
A lot of people said the worst part of their commute has been the heavy traffic.
"I mean everything was backed all the way up to the top of the hill," said Jim Breneman of Jasper, "And it wasn't good at all."
But according to TDOT it will all be over in less than two months.
"We are still looking at Feb. 22. That's the completion date," Flynn said, "And we're pretty confident that we can hit that date."
The next construction project will be an extension to the Highway 27 road work. TDOT has plans to widen the road from Interstate 24 to the Olgiati Bridge.
That's another 1.4 miles of construction plus work to the bridge itself.
But that project is now on hold until more funding becomes available through the Highway Trust Fund.
READ MORE |Update: U.S. 27 highway project winds down