The 2.6-mile construction project widened the narrow, two-lane highway to four travel lanes with a center turn lane from east of U.S. 411 to west of the Ocoee River at Cherokee Corners. It also includes 10-foot wide paved shoulders. Talley Construction Co. Inc., of Rossville, Ga., was the contractor for the $11 million project that began in July 2008 and was completed May 31.
The commissioner is touring construction projects in Bradley County today, including Exit 20 on Interstate 75.
He said Wednesday the completion of the U.S. Highway 64 project was great, but he also recognized the importance of Corridor K.
“It’s something that has been talked about a lot since I’ve been on the job 5 1/2 months. We’re in the environmental stage right now so it will be a little while longer before we can figure out what to do, but we understand the importance of this road.”
Polk County Executive Hoyt Firestone said he was hopeful the new section marked the completion of the first segment of Corridor K though the county.
“Corridor K is probably the most significant project we have on the drawing board in East Tennessee,” he said. “Not only would it open up additional commerce, but if the contract was let today, there would probably be about 300 jobs associated with it. It would have a tremendous economic impact and employment opportunities in East Tennessee and especially in Polk County.”
The project originally was 2.2 miles but another section of road was added for a total of 2.6 miles.
State Rep. Eric Watson defined the opening of the highway as an exciting day.
“This was a stalled project in 2006, but with the help of the community, the past and current administrations, we’ve been able to do this 2.6 miles. This is the first phase of Corridor K. It’s going to have to be built anyway.”
He said if the money is available and there are no lawsuits to slow progress, construction could begin as early as 2014, according to the timeline posted on TDOT’s website.