The Tennessee Department of Transportation today awarded an emergency contract to Charles Blalock & Sons, Inc. for the clean-up and repair of the US 441 (The Spur) rockslide in Sevier County. Blalock was awarded a $713,909 contract to clear the rockslide and safely open the southbound lanes by March 12.
"We understand the significance of this road to tourists, Sevier County and the residents of East Tennessee," said TDOT Region One Director Steve Borden. "We look forward to getting this project underway and completed in a timely and safe manner."
On Monday, Jan. 25, a portion of the mountainside gave way at Mile Marker 21 on US 441 (The Spur) near Pigeon Forge. Debris from the slide blocked the two southbound lanes of the roadway. Due to safety concerns about remaining unstable material along the side of the mountain, the southbound lanes will remain closed and traffic will be detoured onto the northbound lanes for the duration of the project. Motorists traveling southbound on US 441 are currently utilizing one of the two northbound lanes to travel around the rockslide location.
The emergency contract will be broken into two phases. Phase one includes clearing and stabilizing the slope, construction of a retaining wall and reopening the southbound lanes to traffic. TDOT has incorporated an incentive into the contract for the completion of phase one by March 12. The contractor will be awarded $5,000 a day for early completion, up to $50,000. The contractor also faces a disincentive of $5,000 per day for failure to reopen the roadway by March 12.
Once phase one is complete, the contractor will begin phase two of the project which will include the creation 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 during phase two of the project.
The southbound lanes will be reopened to traffic by March 12 and the entire emergency project is scheduled to be totally complete on or before April 30.