Construction on U.S. 27 starts next month, no detour for drivers
Drivers should get ready for another round of construction on U.S. 27. Work is scheduled to start next month, before the end of the year.
The construction area will affect U.S. 27 from the I-24 split to the Olgiati Bridge.
It will cost T-DOT more than $126 million to reconstruct 2.3 miles, making it the most expensive T-DOT project in state history.
T-DOT spokesperson, Jennifer Flynn says crews will spend the next 3 to 4 years widening the section of the highway to 3 and 4 lanes, straightening out curves, and improving interchanges at each exit.
Good news for drivers is once it's finished, there will be fewer potholes and no more overgrown grass in the median (two things Flynn says drivers often complain about).
"That won't be nearly as much of a maintenance problem once this project is done," Flynn said, "It will have all new concrete, new bridges, new retaining walls, and it will be a lot safer and easier for people to travel though that area."
In the meantime, drivers should prepare for a few years of inconvenience.
There will be no detour for interstate traffic, a concern for many drivers.
Flynn says she's fielded a few questions asking if the "Smart Fix 40" plan, used in one of Knoxville's major re-construction projects of Interstate 40, could be used for this project.
That project closed the interstate for around the clock construction to speed up the process.
"You know we've been asked why can't we do something like that, why can't we do accelerated construction, well the biggest difference between us and Knoxville is that Knoxville had a good, viable, alternate route."
Instead, crews will do much of the lane closures at night and during big events downtown, like Riverbend, crews will stop work completely.
Flynn says she's hoping the temporary headache will pay off for drivers.
"There's no good way around. We couldn't send tractor trailer trucks into downtown Chattanooga, you know we just couldn't send interstate traffic anywhere else and you know that's why we've just got to do it the best we can," she said.
Again, as a reminder for drivers who use U.S. 27 frequently, construction is expected to start sometime next month, before the end of the year.
Once construction starts T-DOT will post weekly updates on their website to give drivers a heads up if there will be any changes to their commute.