Exit 20 work to halt for Labor Day
by DAVID DAVIS Managing Editor
Sep 01, 2013 | 1609 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Exit 20
Construction work on the interchange modifications to Exit 20 on Interstate 75 has stopped during the Labor Day weekend until 6 a.m. Tuesday when work resumes. According to a status update from Tennessee Department of Transportation, the contractor will have a lane closure Wednesday from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. to work under the Exit 20 bridge. The interchange modifications include rebuilding all four ramps and replacing the existing bridge with a new three-lane bridge. Banner photo, DAVID DAVIS
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In observance of the Labor Day holiday, there will be no construction at Exit 20 on Interstate 75 until 6 a.m. Tuesday, when work resumes on modifications to the interchange.

According to a status update from the Tennessee Department of Transportation, the contractor, Simpson Construction Co., will have a lane closure Wednesday on I-75 North from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. to work under the Exit 20 bridge.

Plans call for rebuilding all four ramps and replacing the existing bridge with a new bridge that will have three 12-foot wide lanes in both directions with 12-foot wide shoulders. The total width of the new span is 97 feet, 3 inches.

TDOT Region 2 Community Relations Officer Jennifer Flynn said any work requiring interstate lane closures is limited to Sunday through Thursday between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m. Tennessee Highway Patrol will assist with traffic control as necessary. The estimated completion date on the project is in November of 2015.

Road construction at Exit 20 on I-75 is still in the early stages of grading, drainage and utility work. Drivers should not see many changes in the next month or so, said Simpson Vice President Larry Eskew.

“As the ramp from Chattanooga starts going in, you’ll start to see some changes,” he said. “At some point, there’s a good chance the traffic problems that are there now will get worse before it gets better. Everybody wants to keep that to a minimum, especially us.”

The Cleveland-based company has completed borings for the bridge that will allow the state to design the foundations for the new concrete bulb-tee beam bridge, as it was identified by Flynn.

There is similar work on Benton Pike, Durkee Road and Michigan Avenue on the State Industrial Access route serving the Whirlpool Corporation.

According to Flynn, the contractor, Tally Construction of Rossville, Ga., has begun work on the project at the Whirlpool Corporation plant.

Motorists are asked to pay close attention to construction signs and flaggers on the roadway and beware of intermittent lane shifts. The estimated project completion date is July 2014.

Two other projects are nearing completion. The construction of two concrete box bridges over the Conasauga River and Conasauga River Overflow is expected to be completed in October.

Spring Place Road (S.R. 74) in Tennessee and GA225 in Georgia between the Tennessee-Georgia state Line and Ladd Springs Road (SR-313) remains closed to traffic for the duration of the project. Detour signs and message boards are posted in Georgia and Tennessee to assist motorists.

A traffic control equipment upgrade from I-75 to Blackburn Road in Cleveland will undergo additional work on SR-311 that will require occasional shoulder and lane closures, according to Flynn. One lane in each direction will remain open at all times. The estimated completion date is sometime this month.

Motorists are also advised to drive with caution on U.S. Highway 64 through the Ocoee River Gorge. A large rockslide Wednesday evening at about 9 p.m. kept the road closed through Friday morning when TDOT opened a single lane. Rafting has resumed on the river for the Labor Day weekend.

Flynn said the highway department has worked with state parks and other agencies to resume rafting Friday morning.

“Drivers will be protected by the containment area, the rockfall fence and by a row of dump trucks parked along the fence to divert any material that might possibly come over the fence,” she said.

TDOT Operations personnel will monitor the situation and stop motorists if necessary.

“This operation will continue throughout the long weekend,” she said.