Community News Davidson Road improvements four months away

Community News Davidson Road improvements four months away

March 7th, 2018 by Myron Madden in Community East Hamilton

An abandoned car sits partially submerged in the flood waters of Mackey Branch on Davidson Road in early February 2016.

Photo by Robin Rudd /Times Free Press.

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For an update on the East Brainerd Road widening project, check next week’s East Hamilton Community News.

Work on Davidson Road is expected to begin as early as late July, according to Justin Holland, director of Chattanooga's Public Works Department.

Phase 1 of the three-phase improvement project will begin by tackling the most narrow portion of the road, which is just over 14 feet wide and has been the site of several minor accidents.

Speaking during a recent community update meeting, Holland said engineering a solution for the 450-foot stretch of road, which runs from Julian Road to just east of Callaway Court, has been "pretty complex" because of its flat surface and drainage issues, which cause frequent floods.

The solution involves the use of green infrastructure and 4-foot shoulders made with pervious concrete that will allow surface water to drain properly away from travel lanes, Assistant City Engineer Jim Luebbering has said.

"We feel like we've engineered a great solution, and obviously we're investing a lot of money and time into the design and the construction, so we feel like it's a good solution for this section of Davidson Road," Holland told meeting attendees.

The design will serve as a proof of concept for other areas in Chattanooga where moving water off the road is difficult. If it is effective, it will also serve as a blueprint for the 1,800-foot section and 1,200-foot section of the road that will see improvements during phases 2 and 3.

Still, Holland said, driving on the new shoulders could cause some issues, as they aren't intended for traffic but will likely be used as drivers pass other vehicles.

City officials will evaluate how well the solution works and identify challenges in order to improve on the design, should they decide to replicate it, he added.

"In a nutshell, here's where we're at," said Chattanooga City Councilman Darrin Ledford, who represents the area. "Davidson Road is still a mess. [But] finally, finally, finally, we've gotten the money to address it, and we've gotten a plan together, and we will see some results."

Construction for phase 1 is expected to last three to four months, depending on weather, Luebbering said.

A more immediate need the city's Public Works Department is taking steps to address is a structural failure in a low spot on the road that Holland said has become a "more immediate" problem over the last few months.

City officials have already begun engineering a solution for the issue, which is caused by heavy traffic and water under the road, he said.

In regards to that particular section, Holland said, "We're probably going to invest about $100,000 to $150,000 just to fix about 400 feet of that road. [It's] a pretty significant problem because it can cause property damage to your vehicle."

Construction for the structural issue is expected to last about 10-15 days, during which time the lane or the entire road will be closed. No start date has been set.

"We really enjoy hearing from you," Holland said. "That puts the pressure on to get some things done sometimes."

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