For about a month, Rachel Marshall has had to shoehorn an extra 20 minutes into her daily drive from her home in Lookout Valley to work in North Chattanooga.

The bottleneck? Barton Avenue. The reason? Repaving.

"It's been bad, especially during the morning," said the hairstylist, who works at Studio La Vie.

But in the end, it's worth it, she said.

"It was really bad. There were potholes, broken up concrete, bumps in the road," she said. "They had to do it eventually."

Since early July, Barton has been squeezed down to only one lane at times, snarling traffic and raising blood pressures.

But that hassle may be over today.

"What we hope is that both lanes would be open by (this) afternoon," said Eddie Tate, Chattanooga engineering manager over the Pavement Management Group.

Previous to repaving the road, workers had to do some sidewalk and curb improvements and drainage repairs on Crewdson Street, according to Chattanooga City Engineer John Van Winkle.

"We wanted to do it prior to the paving so we wouldn't have to tear up the road afterward," he said.

The repaving and placement of 24 handicap ramps on 0.77 centerline miles on Barton Avenue - from Frazier Avenue to Dugdale Street - is part of $1.8 million the city received in stimulus money for road projects, Tate said.

All the resurfacing with temporary striping is done, according to Tate, and now they will schedule permanent striping and finish the remaining handicap ramps and other sidewalk work.

"We are probably looking at three more weeks of work on the periphery, on sidewalk and that type of stuff, but for milling and paving, by this weekend it should be done," said Tate.


* $1.8 million: Dollars the city got from federal stimulus money to repave roads

* $190,000: Estimated cost of Barton Avenue's project

* 13,000-15,000: Estimated daily traffic count on Barton Avenue

* 8: Centerline miles being re-paved on five different roads in Chattanooga

* 0.77: Centerline miles on Barton Avenue

* 24: Number of handicap ramps being placed along Barton Avenue

Source: City Engineer's office.

North Shore resident Marilyn Landis said she has avoided Barton Avenue at all costs since construction began.

"It's not horrible. I can live with it," she said, but added it's probably because she is retired and doesn't go out much.

"If I had to do it every single day, I probably would be more annoyed with it," she said.

The last time that part of Barton Avenue was re-paved was about 15 years ago, said Tate, but a couple of years ago the city worked on the section from Dugdale Street to Hixson Pike over Dallas Road.

"We are looking at a short-term job versus waiting a few years and having to reconstruct and shut down and everybody then having to find a long-term detour versus being delayed for a little bit for a few days," Tate said.

"I know it's frustrating with it being summer, being hot, people don't like to sit in the hot car, but it's a short-term inconvenience for a long-term gain," he added.

The city has tried to let people know ahead of time where work will take place and to anticipate some delays, he said.

On average, he said, the delays have been more like four or five minutes, although he can't disagree with the idea that it can be closer to 20 minutes because he hasn't been in those peoples' shoes.