published Sunday, July 28th, 2013

Cleveland Utilities plans for I-75 exit 20 traffic control

Traffic backs up on westbound APD 40, at the Interstate 75, exit 20 bridge Friday as work on the interchange approaches. There already are some jersey barriers on the in place before the northbound exit.
Traffic backs up on westbound APD 40, at the Interstate 75, exit 20 bridge Friday as work on the interchange approaches. There already are some jersey barriers on the in place before the northbound exit.
Photo by Tim Barber.

CLEVELAND, Tenn. — A two-year construction project to overhaul the Interstate 75 interchange with APD 40 in Cleveland is expected to present significant challenges to traffic flow near exit 20 on I-75.

On Thursday, Cleveland Utilities board members reviewed traffic control plans for the project.

"During the two-year construction project, longer delays should be expected," said Bart Borden, vice president of CU's electric division. "Motorists should seek alternative routes if possible."

Closing the protected eastbound lane of APD 40 from the northbound side of the exit is going to cause major traffic problems, he said. The lane has to be closed to protect workers near the shoulder of the road. A light will regulate that eastbound exit traffic.

But to prevent the line of vehicles from backing up into I-75, the signal timing may have to be changed for westbound traffic across the overpass, he said. That traffic already stacks up during commuting hours.

Construction should begin in the next few weeks, Borden said.

Newly programmed traffic signals for the southbound ramp onto I-75 allow for more protected left turns to help clear the overpass more efficiently, Borden said.

In other business Thursday, the board voted 4-0 to approve $800,000 in survey and repair work on the utility's 10-year wastewater rehabilitation program, known as the "Strategic Commitment to Protect the Environment," or SCOPE-10.

The project will be the first funded by the utility's $10 million Clean Water State Revolving Fund loan package, said Greg Clark, wastewater rehabilitation program manager.

The program aims to locate and repair the worst stormwater leaks into the sewer system, which can result in wastewater overflows. The program comes on top of point repairs the utility has been making for more than 20 years, said officials.

In the last two years crews have inspected more than 70 miles of wastewater lines and 1,700 manholes, mostly in areas just west of Lee Highway and Keith Street, Clark said. Repairs already have started along the South Lee Highway corridor.

The next area set for rehab is in the Wildwood Avenue and Inman Street areas, he said.

The effort already seems to be generating "significant progress," said Tom Wheeler, CU president and CEO.

No overflows were reported in June, despite nearly a year's worth of rain falling in the first six months of the year, said Wheeler.

"I don't know that I've ever seen that under [those] conditions," Wheeler said.

Paul Leach is based in Cleveland. Email him at paul.leach.press@gmail.com.

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