Tenn. 36, also known as North Roan Street and the Kingsport Highway, is expected to wrap up its road construction in mid-December 2014. (Lee Talbert/Johnson City Press)
A more than $42 million road construction project to widen a stretch of roadway on Tenn. Highway 36 from Tenn. Highway 354 (Boones Creek Road) to Tenn. Highway 75 has been slightly delayed because of recent rains, but Tennessee Department of Transportation Project Superintendent Jason Farmer said Wednesday he expects the job to wrap up in mid-December 2014.
Elizabethton’s Summers-Taylor is the contractor on the job.
This project, which began in January 2011, was initiated to provide an alternate route for motorists coming mostly from the southeastern portion of Kingsport, and to create a thoroughfare to accommodate vehicles when Interstate 26 is blocked for whatever reason. If that happens, traffic will be moved over from Boones Creek Road or from the Gray exit onto Tenn. 36 to bypass potential traffic jams.
Tenn. 36 also is known as North Roan Street and the Kingsport Highway.
Farmer said the project is about 30 percent complete. The new roadway will have five lanes — two northbound and two southbound, with a turn lane in the middle.
“This project is being done to alleviate traffic due to the growth of the area,” he said. “Two lanes are open to traffic, and we try to maintain that unless heavy equipment must cross the road,” he said. “There are flaggers there to temporarily stop traffic, and in a few months we will be able to shift traffic when we grade a ‘run around,’ or temporary road while the contractor builds a new box culvert just before the Shell station on the Johnson City side of the intersection of (Tenn.) 36 and (Tenn.) 75.”
Farmer said crews currently are working on power, sewer, water and communications relocations. Charter and Century Link are relocating lines and both are about 50 percent complete. Once the lines are relocated — some underground; some attached to new poles — the contractor will remove all the old poles and continue grading work.
“They’ve followed what was set up in the plans, but they’ve had to jump from one place to another to accommodate the installment of sewer lines,” he said. “There still are some water and sewer line work that needs to be done. As far as rain — it has hindered our grading operations, but they’ve bee able to work on the retaining walls and some of the utilities.”
Farmer said TDOT has received some complaints from motorists. However, they’ve been “handling it pretty well” overall, he said.
“Motorists will be seeing concrete pipe being installed for storm sewer and utility installation,” he added. “The utility installation seems to be taking the longest amount of time. But again, once that’s done grading operations should move pretty quickly.”
Farmer asked that motorists pay attention to signs and flaggers and that they pay attention to posted speed limits.