Chattanooga is moving forward with a widening project for North Gunbarrel Road with the help of more than $540,000 in property donations.
The project area, which runs from Shallowford Road to Min Tom Road, calls for additional lanes, tree-lined streets and multi-use paths for pedestrians and cyclists. Residents have complained of traffic congestion and accidents, especially in two-lane stretches of Gunbarrel Road.
In a recent meeting, City Councilman Larry Grohn publicly thanked donors who contributed .627 acres of property as part of a number of right-of-way acquisitions made in connection to the $1 million widening project. Byron Defoor, Napier Associates and Gunbarrel Partners donated .004 acres, .246 acres and .377 acres, respectively.
"I know that the residents in the area and I sincerely appreciate this donation," said Grohn, citing the current market value of the properties.
City Council approval of recently proposed right-of-way purchases for the project amounts to $164,750 for .175 acres of property, to be sold by Tommy and Kellie Thompson and McOmie Enterprises, LLC.
No other right-of-way acquisitions will be needed for the project, which is expected to break ground this month, said city transportation engineer Bert Kuyrkendall. Construction is scheduled to be completed in November, he said.
The road-widening project is intended to balance the needs of the local neighborhoods and commercial growth in the northwest corner of Shallowford Road and Gunbarrel Road, which serves as home to Embassy Suites by Hilton and HHGregg electronics, Chattanooga Transportation Director Blythe Bailey said in December.
Bailey described the initiative as a joint project with a developer to make road improvements for residents who live there and for others who come there to work and shop.
Proposed changes include adding a new right-turn lane at Gunbarrel Road at Shallowford Road and realigning McCutcheon Road to match up with Summer Court. Elam Road will be extended east to Gunbarrel Road, while the two-lane section of Gunbarrel Road will be widened to include a center turn lane up to Elam.
"We've worked hard on the project to make sure there's the right sort of balance" of commercial and residential needs, said Bailey, citing the existence of established and new neighborhoods in the area.
In addition to new apartments that will be located north of McCutcheon and west of Gunbarrel, the developer will be responsible for a proposed 10-foot wide path for walkers and bike riders and trees lining the Gunbarrel frontage, Bailey said.
Talley Construction, which submitted a bid of $970,000 for the project, will serve as contractor for the road widening.
Contact staff writer Paul Leach at 423-757-6481 or email@example.com.