Portion of Hixson Pike closed for another few weeks, school starts Wednesday
The traffic headache continues on Hixson Pike while crews continue fixing the road after two water main breaks a few weeks ago. Nearby businesses brace for back to school traffic.
The traffic headache continues on Hixson Pike while crews continue fixing the road after two water main breaks a few weeks ago.
Now parents and nearby businesses are preparing to deal with that traffic when school starts Wednesday, on a road that’s already congested.
"All day every day,” Katherine Harris said about sitting in traffic on Hixson Pike, “We've seen a lot more accidents, car accidents, just because of the new traffic pattern."
Harris works at Chattanooga S-shirt and deals with Hixson Pike traffic every day. The past few weeks have been busier than normal.
"I've had to take a completely different route to work and then just park somewhere else and just walk up here," said Harris.
She expects traffic to get much worse.
Just a couple hundred yards up the street, and in the work zone, is Rivermont Elementary School.
A handout on the school's website says doors off Hixson Pike won't be open for students. To drop off a child, drivers will need to enter the school through Carter Drive on the other side of the construction.
However, buses will be using Hixson Pike. A representative for Hamilton County Schools said he doesn't expect any major issues.
Nearby workers don't agree.
"I think it's definitely going to hinder kids trying to get to school on time,” said Harris, “I think the school's going to have a lot more problems with children being in the place at the right time."
A representative for Tennessee American Water said the work will take another few weeks. Crews are putting in a new, larger pipe, but the road still needs to be paved.
Right now there is only one lane of traffic in either direction. The Chattanooga Department of Transportation said they plan to open two lanes northbound and one lane southbound by Wednesday. They also plan to have an additional traffic control officer at the construction site to help the school's patrol officer.
Harris said she understands crews are working as quickly as they can, but still expects major backups on the road, and plans to avoid it as much as possible.
"Now with the new traffic patterns I’m not going to dare venture that way at all,” said Harris, “I know it's going to cause a lot of problems."
Tennessee American Water said they expect to connect the water main next Monday. This will cause the water to shut off for about an hour. They have not said when that will happen, but are working with school officials on a time.