UPDATE: Bridge repair project on I-24E over Chestnut Street
Work has started on a portion of Highway 27 east bound, and it could impact your commute.
UPDATE: Work has started on a portion of Highway 27 east bound, and it could impact your commute.
Crews are working to repair the I-24 E bridge that crosses over Chestnut Street.
The project takes a portion of 24 East from 4 lanes down to 2, and closes the overpass.
Construction projects in Chattanooga, it's something drivers are seeing more and more of.
"We'll be impacted, pretty much, via time only," said Andy Vanzant, Senior Vice President of Operation at Covenant Transport.
It's time drivers are spending sitting in traffic.
Now, orange cones and road closures signs are out in another location marking one more project to add to the list.
The project will have a big impact on local trucking companies-- like Covenant Transport.
Vanzant said the company has no less than 100 trucks drive that route everyday.
Leading up to exit 178, the Lookout Mountain/Broad Street exit, the highway goes from 4 to 2 lanes.
The closures are so crews can repair the bridge over Chestnut Street, which is closed to traffic completely.
And the construction will last 24 hours a day until the project is complete.
"We'll have to coach our folks here to understand that, look, it's going to take an extra 20, 30, 45 minutes to get across town," Vanzant said.
Traffic is being detour through the Lookout Mountain/Broad Street ramp.
TDOT said the overpass has an above average crash rate.
So, Covenant believes the slow down is worth the headache.
"We're as safety conscious as anybody in the community," Vanzant explained, "So, we certainly understand where they're coming from and what they have to get done. We'll apply our timing to fit their measures."
Vanzant said they don't expect to change any driving routes, but want folks to be patient with drivers.
"Our drivers' time is the most valuable thing that we have," he urged, "We're only allowed to work so many hours in a day with our drivers."
The $2.1 million project is slated to be completed by November 15.
PREVIOUS: The Tennessee Department of Transportation is set to begin work to repair the bridge on I-24 East over Chestnut Street at mile marker 178.6 near U.S. 27 interchange on Thursday.
"Anytime when they're working on the roadways to make them safer and better, I'm all for it," Ronald Hines, a driver said.
TDOT says this area has an above-average crash rate, and the safety of the project should help reduce the number of crashes.
"This particular area has seen more than its share of traffic crashes," Jennifer Flynn, a TDOT spokeswoman said.
The Chattanooga Traffic Engineer's Office says from 2014 to June 2017 there were 360 crashes reported, with 81 injuries, but zero fatalities.
"We know that it's not a good area and that something needed to be done. We hope that this will improve the area and decrease traffic crashes considerably," Flynn said.
Thursday and Friday night, August 10-11, between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m., contractors will begin to shift traffic and reworking overheard signs. TDOT says once the traffic is shifted and signs reworked, work on the project will begin, pending the weather.
During the project, the bridge on I-24 East will be completely closed to traffic and a detour using the Lookout Mtn./Broad Street ramp (Exit 178) will be used to move traffic around the work zone and allow it to continue on I-24 East. Once I-24 East is closed for bridge repairs, all repair operations will be done using a continuous daily operation until necessary repairs are finished and/or all lanes are open to the free, unrestricted flow of traffic. Additionally, traffic accessing Lookout Mtn./Broad St. from U.S. 27 South will be detoured until completion of the project.
"I think that we can stomach the inconvenience if it's due to saving lives," Ronald Hines, a driver said.
Dement Construction Co., LLC of Memphis is the contractor for the $2.1 million dollar project, which is expected to be completed by November 15, 2017.