Furious repairs to Signal Mountain Boulevard mostly are finished, eight days after a contractor went to work shoring up a massive hole in the road created by a rock slide earlier in the month.
Wright Brothers Construction of Charleston, Tenn., finished the work two days earlier than expected on Signal Mountain Boulevard -- also known as U.S. Highway 127 -- and for about $5,000 less than the budgeted amount, said Jennifer Flynn, Tennessee Department of Transportation spokeswoman.
"We appreciate the dangerous and difficult work performed by Wright Brothers in getting this complex job completed very quickly," Ms. Flynn said.
BY THE NUMBERS
* 8 days of repairs
* 18,000 tons of limestone rock
* $495,000 cost
* 23,000 motorists use the road every day
Source: Tennessee Department of Transportation
Traffic was allowed back onto the road Saturday afternoon, and a permanent road surface was poured Monday as drivers navigated past paving workers. Work was supposed to be finished by the evening commute but continued until just before dark, Ms. Flynn said.
In all, Wright Brothers dumped about 18,000 tons of limestone into a hole created on Dec. 9. Transportation department personnel believe that slide, which took a huge chunk of the road with it, was caused by heavy overnight rains that weakened the road.
Traffic was reduced to one lane during much of the repairs, and transportation department workers stayed on the mountain all day and night to direct motorists past the massive crater.
"We want to acknowledge TDOT maintenance personnel who worked tirelessly helping with traffic control and the property owners in the area who were gracious enough to allow us the use of their property to access some of the more difficult areas of the project site," Ms. Flynn said.
The road was closed to all traffic for two weekends, and motorists faced long delays on two winding off-routes: Roberts Mill Road and the W Road.
"As a contractor, we realize that these projects can never be completed fast enough to satisfy everyone, but this project seems to have been an exception," said Bart Saucier, Wright Brothers project manager.
The project was scheduled to run at least 10 days, and even Ms. Flynn said it could take up to two weeks.
Wright Brothers was paid $27.50 per ton of rock to fill the hole even with the road bed.
TDOT workers put the final layer of asphalt on Monday, and striping of the road will be complete today, Ms. Flynn said.
The estimated cost of the repairs was between $450,000 and $500,000, and the final price was about $495,000, Ms. Flynn said.