published Monday, September 1st, 2014

Improvements in the works for North Lee Highway

Caldwell Paving performs grading work as part of a Tennessee Department of Transportation signal project for the intersection of North Lee Highway and Lauderdale Memorial Highway, near Charleston, Tenn.
Caldwell Paving performs grading work as part of a Tennessee Department of Transportation signal project for the intersection of North Lee Highway and Lauderdale Memorial Highway, near Charleston, Tenn.
Photo by Paul Leach.

CLEVELAND, Tenn. — Motorists on North Lee Highway, part of the state's Highway 11 corridor, in Bradley County will have a smoother ride once a resurfacing project and new traffic signal installation are complete.

But in the meantime, they should expect delays.

Portable traffic signs have been warning drivers for a few weeks that roadwork will begin Sept. 2 on North Lee Highway between Paul Huff Parkway to just past Anatole Lane.

"Expect delays," repeatedly flash the orange signs.

North Lee Elementary and Tennessee Christian Preparatory School are located within the project area, as are Bradley Commons and a number of strip plazas and neighborhoods.

The project, which is scheduled to be completed by the end of September, calls for resurfacing 2.33 miles of Highway 11, Tennessee Department of Transportation spokeswoman Jennifer Flynn said via email.

Within that same time period, a new signal at North Lee Highway's intersection with Lauderdale Memorial Highway is scheduled to be complete, though that date may get pushed back.

"The signal should be up and working by the end of September," Flynn wrote.

However, Stansell Electric, the signal subcontractor responsible for installing the mast-arm traffic pole, still lacks some equipment, so it's unclear whether the signal will be ready by the end of September, said Tad Bacon, traffic signals coordinator for Cleveland Utilities.

Cleveland Utilities will maintain the signal on behalf of Bradley County. In a recent utility meeting, there had been some question as to whether the city of Charleston would own the signal, he said.

The signal will replace the sole stop sign at the T-junction intersection, which only controls vehicles turning left, or north, onto North Lee Highway from Lauderdale Memorial Highway. North Lee Highway traffic does not currently stop at the intersection.

The intersection marks the eastern terminus of Lauderdale Memorial Highway, which is part of the State Route 308 corridor.

A few miles to the west, Lauderdale Memorial Highway intersects with I-75 at exit 33. Walker Valley High School, Wacker Chemie and an Amazon fulfillment center are located along this stretch of road.

Caldwell Paving and Grading LLC is handling the ongoing groundwork for the signal in accordance with a $319,008 contract, which is 90 percent funded by federal dollars and 10 percent by state dollars, according to Flynn.

Federal money is funding 80 percent of the paving portion of the project, with the state paying for the balance, she reported.

Federal safety funds will pay 100 percent of the costs associated with pavement marking and snow-plowable markers, which are included in the project, added Flynn.

Talley Construction was awarded the $373,823 paving contract.

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

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