UPDATE: Many feel growing pains from E. Brainerd widening projec - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Many feel growing pains from E. Brainerd widening project

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East Brainerd Road's widening project should ease congestion, but getting there may be the most challenging part. WRCBtv.com photo East Brainerd Road's widening project should ease congestion, but getting there may be the most challenging part. WRCBtv.com photo
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) - UPDATE: As TDOT officials wrap up the first phase of the $23 million widening project, those who travel this section of East Brainerd Road say it's just the beginning of a two year headache.

The morning commute begins before sunrise along one of Hamilton County's busiest roadways with a flashing message.

As the sun rises, the evidence is obvious—The East Brainerd Widening Project is in full swing.

“The worst thing right now is seeing all the trees go,” Brian Worley said.

Crews are working around the clock to clear trees and brush along the two-mile stretch to make room for more roadway, bike lanes and sidewalks. The clearing is impacting residents like Bobby Grant.

“That's just mud. You see it? It's just mud. You just sink down in it,” Grant said.

Crews removed two trees from Grant's property this week, but he says they left two holes and a lot of mud making it hard to use his driveway.

“I'm going to have to get a load of gravel which is about $650 and come here and put it down. I've got to,” Grant added.

The construction is affecting business owners in the area too like Worley's pool company.

He says the extra congestion makes it hard to exit the parking lot.

“We're doing a job in Mountain Shadows right now and it takes quite a while to get there from just right here on East Brainerd Road,” Worley added.

But both men agree, the growing pains are small compared to the bigger need of these improvements.

“I think everyone on East Brainerd Road will be upset for about two years. But in two years, everyone will be happy,” Worley said.

TDOT officials will wrap up the clearing phase early next week then they will move into the utility phase.

The entire project is expected to be completed in June 2017.

PREVIOUS STORY: It won't be long before orange construction signs will litter East Brainerd Road.

Jennifer Flynn with TDOT says the department is in the beginning stages of a project to widen the two mile stretch from Graysville Road to around Banks Road.

“It's so crowded and when you're trying to make a left turn you stop the entire lane of traffic. It's just a very congested area. The turn lane itself will help a lot,” Flynn added. 

Potock Zysk opened her alteration and embroidery business three years ago at the intersection of Graysville and East Brainerd Roads. She watches the congestion grow every afternoon.

“If anyone wants to come here from the other side, they can't come here. It's so blocked, they can't come here,” Zysk said.

The project will cost almost $23 million and will widen the stretch from two to five lanes. It will also include bike lanes and sidewalks. As one of the fastest growing areas in Hamilton County, Flynn says the project is desperately needed.

“It will start with clearing and utility relocation in the cold months and then in the warmer months you will see a lot more action,” she said.

The construction may be a headache for some, but Zysk says they're growing pains she doesn't mind having.

“For the better, you have to suffer a little bit. I guess that's what life is,” she said.

The project is slated to be finished in June 2017.
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