Chamber's Board of Directors Issues Opinion on Road Widening Project
Contact City Council Today
The Chamber's Board of Directors discussed the widening of State Routes 58 and 95 at their July board meeting. We urge you to contact City Council and express your opposition to Option 1 and your support for Council's preference between Options 2 & 3. Click here to e-mail Council. This is imperative, we believe, to the economic future of our community and to continued progress on Oak Ridge's westend.
The widening of State Routes 58 and 95 leading westward on the Oak Ridge Turnpike has been our Chamber's top transportation priority for several years. The final phase, which would widen State Route 95 from Route 58 to near Westover Drive, is scheduled for bidding in September. Recently, the City Council and the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) have received communications from citizens concerned about possible adverse impacts to their neighborhoods. TDOT has given City Council unitl July 15 to provide written confirmation of Council's preferred course of action. Council has been asked to choose between three options. The are:
- Option 1 - A project redesign involving the evaluation of an alignment shift to provide the largest clearance between roadway and subdivision. TDOT Commissioner Gerald Nicely has said that this "would result in a indefinite delay..." The Chamber leadership is convinced that this option will effectively kill this critical road widening project.
- Option 2 - A project redesign that would change a typical ssection for a 48' depressed grass median to a 12' paved median. This redesign could not be completed prior to scheduled advertisement of construction. However, the project could remain in the September bid advertisement with notice that changes will be made subsequent to bid award through a process of negotiated supplement. The City would be expected to compensate TODT for cost above the regular bid price.
- Option 3 - Continue ongoing efforts to mitigate possible adverse impacts to subdivision through TDOT modification of project features with emphasis between the proposed pavement edge and existing right of way. This would include lowering speed limits, steepening slopes, modifying ditch drainage, adding guardrails and delineating existing vegetative buffers to reamin with additional tree plantings.
Council will convene for a special meeting at 6 p.m. on Monday, July 13 in the Municipal Building Courtroom. At that time we anticipate formal Council action regarding these three options.
Please act today!
Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors