Thursday, December 18, 2008

Stewarts Ferry Pike upgraded

TDOT tries Design-Build method for project By Andy Humbles • THE TENNESSEAN • December 17, 2008 Work will start on improvements to the Stewarts Ferry Pike and Interstate 40 interchange that will include a new traffic signal for the westbound off ramp. Other elements of the Tennessee Department of Transportation project include adding a right turn lane to the westbound off ramp that will result in dedicated right and left turn lanes. Also, the existing left turn lane for the westbound ramp is being extended, and about 1,000 feet of Stewarts Ferry Pike will be resurfaced. The project is also the first being done by TDOT in Middle Tennessee under the Design-Build method. Design-Build is a project in which the design and construction are going on virtually simultaneously to speed up completion time, said TDOT spokeswoman B.J. Doughty. "This is a relatively small project for us to get our feet wet,'' Doughty said. "It's something we're looking at.'' The Design-Build method could cut six months off the timeline for the Stewarts Ferry and I-40 project, Doughty estimated, than if done by the more standard construction method of design first, followed by construction. Communication needed LoJac is the contractor for the project. More communication between the contractor and design firm will be necessary, said Lojac's Glenn Chambers. Challenges are "understanding the process of parts we're not usually a part of and making sure we get the checklist of things to do, done,'' Chambers said. TDOT will evaluate doing other select projects with the Design-Build method. "It may be a way to do a few projects, but not every one,'' Doughty said. "But it could be a great benefit to a project like this, where there isn't a lot to it, and it is a heavy traffic area where there may be great benefit in shortening the construction time.'' Completion is targeted for mid-April, Doughty said. She estimated the Design-Build method will shorten the project by about six months. The projected cost for the Stewarts Ferry and I-40 work is $649,445. The way a Design-Build project is paid for will be different than one done traditionally. Hopes are that potentially greater costs in the bidding process can be offset by quicker completion time, Doughty said. "That is an analysis TDOT will have to make as we do a few projects,'' she said. "It's a mess'' The improvements themselves will be welcome according to Hermitage residents Homer "Hop'' Hopkins and his wife, Deta Hopkins, who sometimes use the Stewarts Ferry Pike interchange at I-40. The east side ramp already has a traffic light. "I think it will be wonderful if they put in a light,'' Deta Hopkins said. "People get off (I-40) at Stewarts Ferry, and if you make a left turn it takes a long time. Even if you turn right, it's not (a) clear (view), and there are cars coming at you. It's a mess. There is going to be a fatality there soon.'' Hop Hopkins believed "anything they can do to help traffic flow,'' with the growth occurring and predicted, especially with the Villages of Riverwood project now near Dodson Chapel and Hoggett Ford roads. Any lane closures will be between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m. only, though work can be done outside those hours. The westbound off ramp will be narrowed from 16 feet wide to about 12 feet when a barrier rail is put in place, which could create longer delays during peak traffic hours. Metro is also planning to follow up TDOT's work by repaving Stewarts Ferry Pike from the I-40 bridge to Lebanon Pike, about 1.788 miles. That work is anticipated to begin in May, said Metro Public Works spokeswoman Gwen Hopkins-Glascock.

No comments: