The Tennessee Department of Transportation has awarded a $3-million contract to Renfro Construction Company Inc. for work near Interstate 40 bordering on the city of Knoxville. Construction on the 2.6-kilometer (1.67 mi.) widening improvement began in April 2000.
The project includes grading, drainage and paving on Walker Springs Road beginning at I-40 and extending to state route 169 (Middlebrook Pike) and on Gallaher View Road beginning at I-40 and extending to Walker Springs Road. As part of the widening improvement, two very narrow lanes will become a five-lane highway with two lanes on each side and a third dual turning lane in the middle. Also included in the contract is the construction of eight concrete box culverts, which includes three concrete box bridges and two pedestrian underpasses.
Knoxville-based Renfro Construction, the general contractor on the project, will be performing the paving, stone work, sidewalk work, and curb and gutter construction. Renfro also will be constructing the concrete box bridges, which are built over an area where there is a stream or creek more than 600 centimeters (20 ft.) wide. Two of the concrete box culverts, also to be built by Renfro, will be at Walker Springs Road and Gallaher View Road and will be intended for pedestrian use. According to Robert Hill, senior vice president at Renfro, a walkway connecting the two boxes will be built in the future.
Renfro also has hired subcontractors to install guardrails and complete landscape design. Additionally, J. Hicks Excavating of Kingston, TN, has been subcontracted to perform grading on the project.
The widening improvement came about because existing Mars Hill Road was being used as a shortcut to Middlebrook Pike.
“There is a tremendous traffic burden because of residential development in the Middlebrook area, creating over-capacity on the roads,” explained Chris Jenkins, project engineer with TDOT. When finished, the roadway will help alleviate traffic problems by giving drivers a more suitable and improved thoroughfare.
“I foresee a lot of traffic using it once it is finished,” said Robert Hill. “It will be a tremendous improvement from what is there now.”
The scheduled completion date for the project is July 15, 2001.