JACKSBORO, TN (WLAF) – Officials with the Tennessee Department of Transportation met with county commissioners before the Monday night workshop to brief county officials on upcoming TDOT highway projects.

Based on those plans, Campbell County residents can expect some traffic disruptions and delays as necessary repairs and improvements are carried out in various parts of the county.

TDOT Planning Supervisor Troy Ebbert told commissioners  the agency is conducting a corridor study on several East Tennessee interstates, including I-75. TDOT wants to hear from the public about any concerns they may have about problem spots, safety or delay issues on state roads within the corridor.

Anyone who wishes to participate in the survey can access it online HERE.

Ebbert then turned the floor over to District 19 Engineer Josh Metz, who briefed the commission on four TDOT projects in Campbell County. One is already well underway, slope stabilization on Interstate 75 north of the Royal Blue exit (144).

That project began after rockslides occurred in the heavy rains earlier this year and involves traffic being shifted to the inside while graded solid rock is placed along the slope. Work on the slide area began in May and is estimated to be completed by May 31, 2020.

Another project with which Campbell County residents are familiar is the ongoing construction of a truck-climbing lane on I-75 along the grade up Pine Mountain between the two Carville exits. That project was originally let for construction over two years ago but repeated delays led to the original contractor withdrawing from the project under what was termed a “termination for convenience,” meaning the contractor was not penalized.

A new contractor, Twin K Construction, Inc., was awarded the job in November, 2018 but the $9 million-plus project has now hit another problem, a “high dollar change order” that will add $3 million to the project to repair the storm drainage system, which must be re-lined and 22 cache basins removed and replaced.

The truck lane construction is now expected to be completed by Dec. 2020.

A third TDOT project that will soon begin is emergency slope stabilization on State Highway 116 south of Caryville. That project will involved pinching the highway to one lane and installing a traffic light to regulate traffic flow.

The project was awarded to Potter Southeast, LLC, The company that withdrew from the I-75 truck lane project, and is scheduled for completion by June 30, 2020.

Some commissioners expressed concerns about traffic jams on the highway in the event of a traffic accident on I-75, since State 116 is the only bypass between Caryville and Rocky Top. Metz replied that in such a case, local law enforcement would need to regulate traffic at the light and work area.

A fourth project will be repair of the bridge on U.S. 25W over Big Creek in downtown LaFollette. Work on that project is set to begin on Sept. 16 with an estimated completion date of May 15, 2020. During the bridge repair, “the contractor is committed to maintaining two lanes throughout the project,” according to TDOT’s summary.

“Typically bridge repairs don’t result in significant delays,” Metz added.

Commissioner Scott Kitts asked the TDOT officials about their projects on Highway 63 in Powell Valley, which were not included in the prepared summary.

Metz replied that the Highway 63 project involves three phases, from Claiborne County northward to LMU, in Campbell County southward to the TDOT facility and a third phase “in the middle.” Since most work is currently on the Claiborne County side, the TDOT officials did not include the Highway 63 project in their summary. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 09/11/2019-6AM)