The rumbling sounds of construction continues on East Brainerd Road. The project started in 2015 and was supposed to be finished by summer of 2017. Now we're learning that the project is delayed even further because contractors had to wait for utility companies to move lines.
Construction is ramping up, contractors begin paving this month and began adding gutters and curbs. It's progress people say has been a long time coming.
The view from our Sky3 drone shows the progress along the two-mile construction project on East Brainerd Road.
Over the last two years, several factors stunted progress, including utility companies butting heads.
"There are some utilities that are included in the contract and some that are outside of the contract, and we have to wait for them to get everything relocated,” Jennifer Flynn with TDOT said.
Now the utility lines are in place and drivers are noticing the progress.
Over the last few months the contractor completed curb and gutter installation from the beginning of the project to Morris Hill Road and Hurricane Creek Road to end of the project. They’ve also finished paving from Hurricane Creek Road to end of the project area. Concrete sidewalk placement has also begun, the contractor anticipates two weeks to complete all sidewalk placement from the beginning of the project to Morris Hill Road and Hurricane Creek Road to end of project area.
"Sometimes the contractor, something happens that the contractor really has no control over, so we do grant them additional time to complete the job,” Flynn explained.
TDOT said this extension will not change the price tag of the project, nor are there incentives for finishing early.
"We know that it's a hassle, we realize that. But anytime you make progress with something, it comes with some pain, we have some growing pains out there,” she said.
It's frustrating news for people who rely on the road, and even more troubling for those who rely on it for their livelihood.
"To be honest we were really really stressed out. Me and my wife were thinking about closing because it would be cheaper to just pay the rent,” Castro said.
Once the project on East Brainerd road is complete they'll begin another phase in the same area on Ooltewah-Ringgold Road. Funding for this part of the project will be paid for by the IMPROVE act, recently passed by the state legislature.
The contractor anticipates they will shift traffic to the right of center line (South) from Hurricane Creek Road to East of Fuller Road in mid to late October.
This shift will result in one Eastbound lane and one Westbound lane through the intersection at Hurricane Creek/Morris Hill. As a result, Morris Hill Road will be closed for approximately one week from East Brainerd Road to approximately 300 feet north to allow the contractor to complete full-width roadway construction from the beginning of the project to Fuller Road. The result of this one week shift will be that SR320 will be near final alignment from the beginning of the project to Fuller Road.