At a recent forum, TDOT officials unveiled plans for an East Brainerd Road widening project that will turn the thoroughfare into a five-lane highway from Graysville Road to Bel-air Road.
This project is the first 1.89-mile installment in a two-part project that totals 3.6 miles and will eventually widen the entirety of the road from Graysville Road to the intersection of East Brainerd and Ooltewah-Ringgold roads.
"The new roadway is currently under design and will include four 12-foot traffic lanes, a 12-foot continuous turn lane, four-foot bicycle lanes and a five-foot sidewalk on each side," said planning engineer Sandy Sclafani.
Depending on funding availability, construction of the project could start as soon as the summer of 2013.
"You never know when you're dealing with 132 members of Legislature, but the outlook looks very good right now," said Tennessee House of Representatives District 30 representative Vince Dean, who is also vice chair of the House Transportation Committee.
Once funded, officials stated the project will take between two and three years to complete. According to project director Scott Medlin, construction crews will do their best to eliminate traffic backups and keep as much of the road open as possible during that time.
"We will have two lanes open at all times on this project," he said.
Sclafani listed traffic backups, slow-flowing traffic, multiple forced stops due to traffic and difficulty maneuvering the roadway as some of the main reasons for the project, which will displace 33 residences and two businesses.
Phase 2 of the project, which will widen the roadway from Bel-air Road to Ooltewah-Ringgold Road has not yet been funded for design so there is no information available on that timeline, Medlin said.
Residents attending the forum expressed concern that roadways near Volkswagen and Collegedale have received more attention from TDOT than those in East Brainerd, despite growing need. Other residents, including Chattanooga City Council District 4 representative Jack Benson, also expressed concern with too many consecutive projects taking place in the area and which sometimes take longer than expected. He listed the 12-month delay on the Shallowford Road widening project, caused by utilities that needed to be moved, as an example.
"We're in a torn up mess over there for quite a while still, I think, and I'm worried about that happening over here on East Brainerd Road," he said.
For more information or to submit comments on the project, contact project director Scott Medlin at 510-1118. All comments which are received by Nov. 21 will be considered part of official record on the project's transcript.