Barriers block Gunbarrel Road between Shallowford Road and Preston Circle on Friday, July 15, 2016, in Chattanooga, Tenn. The section of road is closed to traffic for a widening project.

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Gunbarrel Road widening begins

The Chattanooga Department of Transportation has started widening Gunbarrel Road along its northern residential corridor.

The initial phase of the project launched Wednesday with the six-week closure of Gunbarrel Road between Shallowford Road and Preston Circle. The entire project extends all the way to Min-Tom Road.


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During the closure, construction crews will make create room for more vehicles and add sidewalks and a multi-use path, transportation engineer Bert Kuyrkendall said in a statement.

"Working closely with the contractor, we will strive to minimize the length and scope of street closures and the disruption to the homes and businesses affected by the closure," Kuyrkendall said.

The detour plan calls for traffic to use McCutcheon Road, Elam Lane and Lifestyle way as the route to reach Shallowford Road from Gunbarrel Road. The closure limits access to Preston Circle and all properties on Gunbarrel Road from the north end of the closure area.

Weather or unforeseen circumstances may affect the construction schedule, Kuyrkendall said. The transportation department will reopen Gunbarrel Road upon completion of the first phase, he said.

In December, city Transportation Director Bythe Bailey said the road-widening project seeks to balance the needs of local neighborhoods and commercial growth at the northwest corner of Gunbarrel and Shallowford roads.

Key project elements include added vehicle lanes, tree-lined streets and multi-use paths for pedestrians and cyclists.

"We've worked hard on the project to make sure there's the right sort of balance" of commercial and residential needs, Bailey said. He described the initiative as a joint effort between the city and a developer to make improvements for residents who live there and for others who come there to work and shop.

Bailey said the developer, responsible for building new apartments north of McCutcheon and west of Gunbarrel, will construct the 10-foot-wide bike and pedestrian path and handle the tree-lining aspects of the project.

Local residents have cited concerns over traffic congestion and accidents, especially along the two-lane sections of Gunbarrel Road.

Other proposed changes call for a new right-turn at Gunbarrel and Shallowford, the realignment of McCutcheon Road to Summer Court and the extension of Elam Road east to Gunbarrel road. Gunbarrel Road will receive a center turn lane up to Elam Lane.

Talley Construction, which submitted a bid of $970,000 for the project, serves as the general contractor for the road widening.

Contact staff writer Paul Leach at 423-757-6481 or Follow him on Twitter @pleach_tfp.