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Staff photo by C.B. Schmelter / Vehicles drive along the W Road on Monday, Oct. 12, 2020 in Signal Mountain, Tenn.

A more sustainable fix is coming soon for a continuously problematic section of the W Road leading up Signal Mountain.

The Hamilton County Commission voted Oct. 7 to enter into a $670,330 contract with Geostabilization International to stabilize a 356-linear-foot portion of the road's 3900 block. The work is expected to begin soon and take 45 days, with work occurring five days a week during daylight hours and requiring the closure of one lane.

Commissioner Randy Fairbanks said during the meeting that the funds for the repairs will come out of the county highway department's operating budget.

In response to Commissioner Warren Mackey's question of how much money the county has spent repairing the road in the past year, Todd Leamon, who oversees the county highway department, said he could not provide an exact number. He told commissioners the department has patched that area of the road three or four times in the past several months, and the county covers the cost of employee hours and asphalt for all repairs since it is a county road.

"In a certain area it just seems to keep shifting," said Commissioner Chip Baker, who lives on Signal Mountain and represents the area.

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Staff photo by C.B. Schmelter / Vehicles drive along the W Road on Monday, Oct. 12, 2020 in Signal Mountain, Tenn.

The section of the W Road undergoing stabilization is located near Sunset Drive, where several homes were endangered and one was evacuated due to shifting ground during heavy rains in February.

Hamilton County Mayor's Office Communications Manager Mike Dunne told the Times Free Press in March that aside from temporary patching, the last time the county did soil stabilization work underneath the road was between the 3700 and 3900 blocks in 2013.

He said Tuesday that the new stabilization work on the 3900 block is being completed due to movement detected by an inclinometer and observed on the surface of the road.

"We've continued to overlay it, and we actually put in some inclinators so we could check movement," Leamon said during the Oct. 7 meeting. "We basically exhausted anything we could do internally with just overlaying, and the reason why we're recommending to expend this amount of operating budget is so we don't have to continue to expend funds just patching. This is more of a permanent fix for that area."

Contact Emily Crisman at ecrisman@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6508. Follow her on Twitter @emcrisman.

 

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