'Burg Parkway lanes should open by end of month

Mar. 21, 2013 @ 11:08 PM

During the City Manager’s Report section of the city commission meeting Tuesday night, Cindy Ogle gave an update on two construction projects that are currently under way in the city, one of which has been affecting traffic at the north end of town.

On the Parkway, the slope stabilization and retaining wall project, which began March 4, is proceeding according to plans, Ogle said, and additional lanes may be open by March 29, Good Friday.

As of Tuesday, the drilling of the pile holes is complete and all piles have been set. The contractor, Charles Blalock and Sons, is in the process of installing the 8 by 8 pressure-treated blocking. The rock drape contractor, Ameritech Slope Constructors, has cleared the slope and is in the process of drilling and installing the 283 anchors that will attach the drape to the rock bank.

Traffic has been down to one lane in each direction, causing delays, but Blalock expects to open the second south-bound lane to traffic, and possibly the second north-bound lane, by March 29.

“That’s really pretty good news, considering what’s going on down there,” Ogle said.

“It would be great to get those lanes open by Easter weekend, and it’s around spring break for a lot of people,” Commissioner Mike Helton said.

The contract completion date is still targeted for April 12.

Also, contractor Rich Construction has mobilized and began work on the Parkway Visitor Center Renovation Project March 11.

“They’re in the process; they have removed lots of vegetation and are installing erosion control, as well as safety fencing, and have started excavation to reach sub-grade,” Ogle said. “So things are beginning to move with that project as well. We’ll keep updated as often as we can.”

The new Parkway Visitor Center, located at the intersection of U.S. 321 and U.S. 441 (Traffic Light No. 3), is being renovated in part by funding from Tennessee Department of Transportation grants.

Planned renovations include a splash pad, interpretive mountain areas, expanded seating areas and removal of vegetation.