By BRIAN GRAVES
The Cleveland Metropolitan Planning Organization voted Wednesday to request public comment with a public hearing and vote on a modification to the improvements scheduled for Highway 60.And, the …
The Cleveland Metropolitan Planning Organization voted Wednesday to request public comment with a public hearing and vote on a modification to the improvements scheduled for Highway 60.
And, the project will be now be entirely under the Cleveland/Bradley County umbrella.
The Highway 60 project was originally designed from Hopewell to State Route 58, widened to five lanes, and to be 5.9 miles in length.
“The decision was made at the TDOT level that this project needed, rather than be split between us and Chattanooga’s Transportation Planning Organization, needed to go entirely within our MPO area,” said Greg Thomas, MPO coordinator. “That affects the project limits and the project amount.”
He added that what began as a five-laning project is now “basically a three-laning project.”
The changes include lengthening the improvement area to 6.5 miles, and instead of widening from two to three lanes, there will be “corridor improvements where various sections will feature improvements including 3-lane sections, passing lanes, 12-foot travel lanes, 8-foot shoulders and resurfacing.”
The cost of the project will also increase from $21 million to $30 million.
“What everybody talks about all of the time is a five-lane project from all the way out to basically Hopewell, and this would pick up there and continue on to State Route 58,” Thomas said.
Wes Hughen of TDOT said right-of-way acquisitions from Interstate 75 to State Route 306 are now underway.
“The plan is to have right of way acquired and deliver it for instruction letting in June 2019,” Hughen said. “There are about 118 tracts we are acquiring right now.”
He added the contract would most likely be awarded a few months later with construction beginning shortly afterward.
Hughen said the project could take a little more than two years to complete, especially since there is a creek bridge to build as part of the improved route.
“Trying to build it and maintain traffic just takes a little longer,” he said.
The MPO is next scheduled to meet March 28, where a public hearing and vote will take place.
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