State lawmakers pushing for faster repairs to Highway 127
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Bo Watson, R-Hixson, and Rep. Patsy Hazlewood, R-Signal Mountain wants the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) to fix the problems on Highway 127, which is also known as Signal Mountain Boulevard.
The connecting road between Signal Mountain and Chattanooga is not safe and the weather is making the commute even more dangerous, according to state lawmakers who say Highway 127 or Signal Mountain Boulevard has reached a “critical stage.”
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Bo Watson, R-Hixson, and Rep. Patsy Hazlewood, R-Signal Mountain wants the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) to fix the mountain's road problems faster.
The main concern is falling rocks. That's something drivers experience almost every time we see heavy rainfall. Between that and the road's condition, some residents fear they'll soon be stuck on the mountain.
“If for some reason the front of the mountain gets closed, which it has occasionally just from trees falling and things like that, then the only real alternate way to get to Chattanooga is the W Road and with as many people that live up here now it makes it impossible,” said resident, Brad Case.
Case has called Signal Mountain home for 35 years. For the past few years, he has watched the road slowly crumble.
“You know a crack gets so bad then they just replace it and put a Band-Aid over it and say oh it’s fixed now, but it’s really not. The cracks keep coming back in the same place,” Case said.
But cracks, water runoff, and falling rocks are only part of the problem. Sections of the mountain road are unstable, which is something TDOT officials hope to fix soon.
The repairs are estimated to cost $10.2 million.
It's part of an overall project that was included in Governor Bill Haslam's Improve Act last year, which raised gas taxes to fund road projects across the state.
“I’d say it’s a project long overdue,” said Case.
Case says time is ticking. In 2009, heavy rain and water runoff caused part of the road to wash away.
“It was a nightmare,” said Case. “It’s going to happen again.”
TDOT tells Channel 3, right now they have crews monitoring the road, making sure it's safe.
As far as a permanent fix, it's not clear when construction will start, but we're told crews have completed surveys for the project and are going over results.
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