published Sunday, February 16th, 2014

Night closure set for Manufacturers Road

The Department of Transportation will close Manufacturers Road between Northwest Georgia Bank and the edge of the southbound U.S. 27 exit ramp from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Wednesday through Friday this week in order to install drains.
The Department of Transportation will close Manufacturers Road between Northwest Georgia Bank and the edge of the southbound U.S. 27 exit ramp from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Wednesday through Friday this week in order to install drains.
Photo by Erin O. Smith.

People with second-shift jobs on Manufacturers Road on the North Shore need to be planning alternate routes.

A section of the road on either side of U.S. Highway 27 will be closed three nights this week for installation of drains related to the massive rebuild of the highway.

The closures are set for 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Wednesday through Friday and run from the southbound exit ramp to just west of the Northwest Georgia Bank in the 2 North Shore complex. The nighttime closures should minimize traffic disruption, but some manufacturers and businesses with night operations must adjust.

AdTech Ceramics, between Whole Foods and U.S. 27, is squarely in the closure zone.

Bill Minehan, AdTech Ceramics president, said the manufacturer got notice of the closure from the Tennessee Department of Transportation and is making plans to minimize disruptions for second-shift workers.

"We do have an alternate entrance," Minehan said. "We just have to be careful about our truck deliveries."

The $102 million, multi-year U.S. 27 rebuild isn't the only thing affecting traffic on Manufacturers Road, he said.

"There's a number of factors -- one is the changing traffic conditions along Manufacturers Road and of course the Highway 27 project, and now the Manufacturers Road project," he said, referring to Chattanooga's plans to add greenery and public spaces to the industrial area.

"There's three simultaneous things going on, and all of them definitely have changed the ease of coming into our plant in the last five years. ... But we can deal with that if it's part of the betterment of the larger community," Minehan said.

Farther west on Manufacturers Road, Airgas branch manger Brian Christopher said his business isn't open during the hours the road will be closed. Airgas distributes industrial, mechanical and specialty gases.

"It's not going to bother us a bit, other than the road is going to be bumpy," Christopher said.

He said TDOT has "done a very good job" communicating about project work that could affect local businesses.

And, which some people might think more important, Riverside Wine and Spirits won't be affected either. An employee said it closes at 9 p.m.

TDOT took heat recently when the contractor reopened the northbound Signal Mountain Road exit and closed the Dayton Boulevard off-ramp for the next phase of construction there.

Irate drivers stuck in miles-long backups complained so loudly that Transportation Commissioner John Schroer came to town to respond. Transportation officials promised traffic flow would be tweaked but also reminded drivers that on a highway that carries 65,000 drivers a day, anything that restricts flow will cause congestion.

And for drivers who are looking longingly at the paved, pristine new northbound on-ramp from Manufacturers Road to U.S. 27, don't hold your breath.

TDOT Region 2 spokeswoman Jennifer Flynn said the ramp construction is "very far along" but it won't be opened for a few months, at least.

She said the project engineers have told her the ramp won't open before the two bridges under construction are finished and the traffic rerouted.

"This construction needs to be completed before traffic can access the ramp in a safe manner, and that phase is scheduled for completion by mid-summer of this year," Flynn said Friday.

Contact staff writer Judy Walton at jwalton@timesfree press.com or 423-757-6416.

about Judy Walton...

Judy Walton has worked 25 years at the Chattanooga Times and the Times Free Press as an editor and reporter focusing on government coverage and investigations. At various times she has been an assistant metro editor, region reporter and editor, county government reporter, government-beat team leader, features editor and page designer. Originally from California, Walton was brought up in a military family and attended a dozen schools across the country. She earned a journalism degree ...

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