Highway 41 repairs delayed until fall
TDOT crews say they are struggling trying to repair Highway 41. Repairs were set to be complete by the summer, but the deadline has been pushed back to the fall.
Spokesperson Jennifer Flynn says Mother Nature is to blame. She says the road continues to shift and collapse while crews have been trying to make repairs.
At log mile 25.6, concrete barriers block off the damage from a landslide that happened in December 2018. It goes on for 1.2 miles. Flynn says landslides have been an issue for years.
“We've tried since last December just to keep it open. We got it open to one lane, but the place where we have it open to one lane is settling,” said Flynn. “We're fighting a losing battle at this point.”
Flynn says surrounding water and record rainfall is also a problem.
“There's water under the road, there's water over the road. There is just water all over because it's right up against the river,” she explained. “One area on US-41 that is of particular interest to TDOT is a two mile stretch between log miles 25 and 27. This area has continued to shift throughout the years. Because of this, our maintenance crews constantly monitor the roadway.”
1,863 people travel Highway 41 each day, according to TDOT. Nathaniel Bennett is one of them. He says he makes the trip down the highway to Chattanooga about once a week.
“It's an eyesore right now; really bad,” Bennett said. “It's not safe to be on this road at all. I mean it could fall out again and the whole road could be shut down.”
From January 2013 to January 2018, TDOT spent nearly $2 million on repairs.
“Between January 2014 and January 2018, our maintenance forces have spent approximately $100 thousand on activities such as in-house resurfacing, manual spot patching, milling, cleaning and reshaping ditches, slide and settlement repair and drainage structure repair,” Flynn explained. “In addition to the TDOT maintenance activities that are constant along US-41, there have been a couple of resurfacing projects along the corridor. In October 2013, a project to resurface 6.5 miles of US-41 from McBrien Lane to the Hamilton County Line was completed at a cost of $910 thousand. In September of 2014, a project to resurface 5.6 miles of US-41 from Bobby McCulley Road to McBrien Lane was completed at a cost of $925 thousand. “
Plans for a permanent fix will cost millions more. Flynn says crews hope to put up soil nail walls and drains. They will be at four different sites at LM 25.2, LM 25.6, LM 25.7 and LM 26.1.
“Basically they will have to tear the road down to rebuild it.”
Bids will open for the repair project in May. In the meantime, Flynn tells Channel 3 crews will monitor the road. They are asking drivers to go slow passing through the area.
“Our maintenance forces are continually working to keep the roadway open. However, due to the drop-offs caused by the cracks, vehicles with low ground clearance may drag. Also, because of the shift at the barrier rail, long trailers or oversized loads may find it tight. Please remind everyone to drive very slowly through the area,” she said.