A lane shift on State Route 60 for work to construct a new entrance for Cleveland Middle School will remain for several months after some traffic is moved onto a newly-built traffic lane to the east in the $54 million project to expand the roadway to five lanes to be competed by August 2025.
The work to shift traffic started Thursday morning near Eveningside Drive and will extend about a half-mile north to Campbell Drive, Tennessee Department of Transportation spokesperson Rae-Anne Bradley said in a news release.
That means some delays and periodic lane closures until paving work is done to make the lane for the shift, Bradley said.
"Once paving is complete, all traffic will be shifted east roughly 12 feet," she said. "Northbound traffic will use the new temporary pavement. Southbound traffic will use the existing northbound lane and center turn lane."
The shift will remain in place for several months while crews reconfigure the main entrance to Cleveland Middle School and perform grading and drainage work through the area, Bradley said. Signs are posted and flaggers will be on site to direct traffic flow.
(READ MORE: Ocoee River bridge behind schedule but traffic to be shifted to new span by May 30)
Delays are expected, Bradley said, adding drivers should use extreme caution when traveling through the area and consider an alternate route when traffic is heavy.
Law enforcement will be keeping an eye on motorists passing through the work zone, Cleveland Police Department spokesperson Sgt. Evie West said Thursday in an email.
WHAT’S IN A NAME?
Candies Creek in Bradley County has been so named, and spelled, for more than a century but Cleveland City Schools’ Candy’s Creek Cherokee Elementary School is derived from earlier history, according to school board minutes from 2016. Dr. Murl Dirksen, professor of sociology and anthropology at Lee University and a school board member at the time, and two area historians, Debby Moore and Bryan Reid, addressed the board in April 2016 on the history behind the request to recognize the Candy’s Creek Mission in the new school’s name. The mission site was created by a northern missionary organization in 1825 and stayed open until the Cherokee Removal in 1838, and it is believed to have been directly across the road from the new elementary school property which was the former Candy Farm located where modern-day Fletcher Park is now, according to the three. Though it was originally Candy’s Creek, the U.S. government in the late-1800s changed geographical locations to “ies,” by which the current name Candies Creek began, board minutes state.
"We do have our city officers out there conducting speed enforcement," West said. "Always obey road signs posted with speed limits and be intentional about watching for workers."
West noted the Tennessee Highway Patrol helps monitor construction zones, too.
The project stood at a little over 12% complete at the beginning of May and Johnson City, Tennessee-based Summers-Taylor Inc. is currently on schedule with completion anticipated by Aug. 25, 2025, according to TDOT.
The replacement project will widen the present two-lane road known by most in Bradley County as Georgetown Road to a five-lane road, officials said. The new road will have two lanes in each direction with paved shoulders and a dedicated center turn lane with new curbs, gutters, sidewalks and street lighting throughout the project. An estimated 15,000 vehicles travel the route every day.
Aside from current work at the middle school entrance, Bradley noted in May entrances at Candy's Creek Cherokee Elementary School and Hopewell Elementary School along the project route will also be reworked to accommodate the new five-lane road. Candy's Creek Cherokee Elementary School spells its name differently than most other locations, churches and businesses named for the creek as it is spelled in plural form, Candies.
Motorists can get the latest on construction activity and livestreaming SmartWay traffic cameras at TNSmartWay.com/Traffic, officials said. Travelers can also dial 511 from any landline or cellphone for travel information, or follow TDOT on Twitter @TN511 for statewide travel or Chattanooga area alerts @Chattanooga511 or any of TDOT's other Twitter pages.
Contact Ben Benton at email@example.com or 423-757-6569. Follow him on Twitter @BenBenton.