SUBMITTED By TDOT
Sevier County, Tenn. – The Tennessee Department of Transportation re-opened one lane of US 441 (The Spur) southbound in Sevier County shortly before 3:30 p.m. on Monday, Mar.1, nearly two weeks ahead of schedule. TDOT was forced to close the southbound lanes of the roadway after a rockslide threatened the stability of the mountainside on January 25.
“We understand this has been an inconvenience to many people traveling to and from Gatlinburg and are pleased to see the contractor reopening the roadway ahead of schedule,” said TDOT Commissioner Gerald Nicely.
Since the rockslide occurred, motorists traveling southbound into Gatlinburg have been utilizing one of the northbound lanes. With the southbound lane now reopened, TDOT expects to remove the detour and reopen both northbound lanes to northbound traffic by Tuesday, weather permitting.
“It has been our goal since day one to reopen both the north and southbound lanes to free flowing traffic as quickly as possible,” Region One Director Steve Borden said. “We are pleased to reopen one lane of the roadway nearly two weeks early, but there is still much work to be completed on this project.”
TDOT awarded Charles Blalock & Sons, Inc. a $713,909 emergency repair contract on February 8 with a provision that the southbound roadway must be safely reopened by March 12. The project was broken into two phases. Phase one included clearing and stabilizing the slope, constructing a retaining wall and reopening the southbound lanes to traffic. TDOT incorporated a $5,000 per day incentive into the contract for the completion of phase one by no later than March 12. The contractor also faced a disincentive of $5,000 per day for failure to reopen the roadway by March 12.
Phase two of the project will begin immediately which will include the installation of a stained rock facade, restriping and repaving of the impacted area. In order to reduce the impact to weekend travelers along the route, the contractor will be required to keep two lanes of traffic open in each direction beginning at 6 a.m. on Fridays through 12:01 a.m. on Mondays.
The entire emergency project is scheduled to be finished on or before April 30, 2010.