The Tennessee Department of Transportation has placed some major projects on hold - including the $14 million widening of East Brainerd Road - due to uncertainty over federal highway funding.
TDOT's Jennifer Flynn said, "We did push the letting date back on some projects because of uncertainty relating to the Highway Trust Fund. Additionally, we have not been able to obtain our water quality permits for either of these projects, so we would be unable to let them to construction anyway until we get all our permits."
She said the East Brainerd Road widening project has been tentatively pushed back until the end of the year, "but this is subject to change pending permitting and funding."
The $20 million U.S. 74/SR-311/APD-40 interchange project in Bradley County is still on go, she said. It is an interchange that will lead to an industrial park that Cleveland and Bradley County are developing.
The interchange project is scheduled in the October letting. TDOT has acquired most of the tracts needed for the project. TDOT is seeking to have permits in time to authorize the project for the October letting.
Ms. Flynn said, "Because of the uncertainty concerning the future of the Highway Trust Fund, the department took a conservative approach with the projects in this year’s 3-year transportation improvement program released publicly in April 2014. The most recent program included no new construction starts, and there were many projects throughout the state that did not move forward based on available funding.
"Internally, the Department has reviewed projects currently funded and has decided to delay several new capacity-type projects. As we must continue to take care of the roadway system we have to the best of our ability, resurfacing or projects considered infrastructure maintenance are prioritized over the new capacity projects."
The next phase of the East Brainerd Road project is construction on widening a nearly two-mile section from east of Graysville Road to Bel-Air Road, which is past Banks Road.
The road is two lanes and the project will widen it to five lanes (two lanes in each direction with a continuous center turn lane).
The project will also include four-foot bicycle lanes, curb and gutter, and five-foot sidewalks on each side of the road.
Ms. Flynn said, "The next phase will be when we open bids and award the contract. Construction will take 2 1/2 years most likely, because of environmental requirements, utility relocations, and having to maintain traffic during construction."
She said the construction phase is what has been pushed back due to permitting issues and funding concerns.