CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- Most of the first phase of grading operations and utility relocation within the Tennessee Department of Transportation's $54 million, 3-mile State Route 60 widening project in Bradley County is nearly complete as the project enters its second year.
"The project is still on schedule for completion by Aug. 25, 2025," TDOT spokeswoman Rae-Anne Bradley said Tuesday in an email. "The contractor's latest report actually shows the project being slightly ahead of schedule."
It stands at 35% complete, she said.
The state project will widen State Route 60 -- also known as Georgetown Road or simply Highway 60 -- from a two-lane road with roadside ditches to a five-lane road with two lanes in each direction and a dedicated center turn lane, according to TDOT.
The project will add paved shoulders, curb and gutter, sidewalks and street lighting and stretches north from near Cleveland's Exit 25 on Interstate 75 to just past Eureka Road. The project broke ground in October 2021 after contractor Johnson City, Tennessee-based Summers-Taylor Inc. submitted the winning bid.
There have been no significant changes to the design, and the project remains on budget, Bradley said.
"We have a few pending change orders that will actually result in a net reduction of the contract cost," she said.
(READ MORE: Bradley County's $54 million Highway 60 project on schedule as work continues into summer)
Cleveland Mayor Kevin Brooks was recently updated by Bradley County's representative in the state House, he said Wednesday.
"House Transportation Chairman Rep. Dan Howell sent an update on Highway 60 being slightly ahead of schedule and under budget, which we were thrilled to learn. We are grateful to the state delegation for getting this important project approved and funded, and now ahead of schedule," Brooks said via email. "It's a win-win for our entire region."
First phase of utility relocation, earth grading on Cleveland’s $54 million Highway 60 project nearing completion
Bradley said some many of the project's structures are taking shape where the new bridge is being built over Candies Creek.
Design work on utilities took considerable time leading up to the start of the project, TDOT Commissioner Clay Bright said when the project broke ground in October 2021. The design on utilities was finished first to address problems before construction began and utility relocation was the first work in the project for crews, he said.
The design includes the realignment of the highway and several side roads to improve safety and sight distance throughout, the construction of a new bridge over Candies Creek and upgraded intersections and traffic signals at Crown Colony Drive, Villa Drive, Paul Huff Parkway and State Route 306, according to TDOT.
(READ MORE: $161 million low bid awarded for next phase of Chattanooga's I-75/I-24 'split' project)
Entrances to three schools along Highway 60 are part of the project, too.
Crews reconstructed the entrance to Cleveland Middle School while students are out for summer break, and the entrances to Candy's Creek Cherokee Elementary School and Hopewell Elementary School will also be reconfigured, according to TDOT.
For Changes Salon owner Melissa Clayton on the south edge of the Highway 60 project, the work has been a sporadic inconvenience as well as a learning experience as she has interacted with work crews.
"It comes in spurts when there's a lot of work," Clayton said Wednesday in a phone interview. "It's like for a day, but it's not constant. They let me know ahead of time. So far everybody's been very communicative with me on what they're going to do."
Since the project began, Clayton said there are more cars in the area and the only explanation she can come up with is the road project and development of adjacent properties.
"The traffic is crazy -- we have a lot more traffic," she said. "Used to be, I could come here on Saturday and there wasn't many cars at all, but if I come here on Saturday now the traffic is just crazy."
(READ MORE: TDOT's Apison Pike project 66% complete, on track for 2025 finish)
Clayton predicts the Highway 60 area will become a booming area of growth for Cleveland.
The speed limit throughout the work zone is 35 mph and motorists should watch for temporary lane closures and flaggers assisting with traffic control, according to TDOT.
Contact Ben Benton at email@example.com or 423-757-6569. Follow him on Twitter @BenBenton.
By the numbers
— $54 million: Bid amount
— 3 miles: Length of project
— Aug. 25, 2025: Contract completion date
Source: Tennessee Department of Transportation