Community News City eyes 2018 start date for Davidson Road overhaul

Community News City eyes 2018 start date for Davidson Road overhaul

October 11th, 2017 by Myron Madden in Community East Hamilton

A wrecker prepares to pull a stranded car out of the floodwaters of Mackey Branch that covered Davidson Road in February 2016.

Photo by Robin Rudd /Times Free Press.

After receiving $1 million in capital funding from the city of Chattanooga, Phase 1 of the Davidson Road improvement project is expected to begin around summer of next year, city officials said.

The first of the three-phase construction project will run from Julian Road to just east of Callaway Court, which is the narrowest strip of the problematic two-lane road, said Justin Holland, director of Chattanooga's Public Works Department.

Ultimately, the project will provide two 4-foot shoulders the entire length of the road to improve safety, as well as an alternative drainage system to decrease flooding, and green infrastructure to help manage stormwater. The shoulders will be created using pervious concrete that will allow surface water to drain properly away from travel lanes, said Assistant City Engineer Jim Luebbering. Beneath the permeable pavement, the new drainage system's infiltration trenches and piping will be installed to replace the current open roadside ditches.

Holland said the design process for Phase 1 is about 70 percent complete. Planners are working to finalize the design based on recently obtained geotechnical information, after which they'll begin the bid process to find contractors to undertake the project, Luebbering said. Contractors will only be given a notice to proceed after the bids have been evaluated and approved by the Chattanooga City Council, he added.

Phase 1 of the project is expected to cost an estimated $850,000, said Luebbering. Cost estimates for Phases 2 and 3, which will cover further sections of the road, currently lie at $1.5 million and $1.2 million, respectively.

Luebbering said each phase could be under construction for three to four months, though he added that some may extend up to six months, as the pervious concrete and infiltration systems will require contractors to take certain precautions during the excavation process and consider other outside factors, like weather.

The construction should bring relief to local drivers, many of whom have long expressed concerns about the road's constant flooding due to poor drainage, as well as its narrowness, which locals say has led to more than a dozen minor accidents.

Though the project will ease many of these issues, Luebbering pointed out that since the roadway is very flat and in a floodplain, no amount of improved stormwater conveyance or infiltration will keep it above water in the 1 percent chance that a flood occurs.

City officials will continue to seek funding for the last two phases of the project, he said.

"That's one of the projects that we heard about the most from Councilman [Darrin] Ledford and when I interact with my family and friends that live in East Brainerd, that's a project that I hear about," Holland told residents during a community update meeting in held at Morris Hill Baptist Church in late September. "We're going to continue to push for Davidson Road."

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