By Joe King, [email protected]

TDOT Logo No ShadowAs part of the Tennessee Department of Transportation’s vision to flatten Ford Hill in hopes of improving local traffic safety, surrounding land will have to be acquired for the Right of Way. Now, with the first quarter of the year completed, TDOT is wrapping up the acquisition planning process as projected.

“Final touches are being made to plans which will be used for the Right of Way acquisition process,” said TDOT Community Relations Director Mark Nagi. “It will take approximately 18 months to acquire the necessary Right of Way.”

Given the fact that Right of Way acquisition for the project is about a year and a half out, actual construction to the roadway is even further down the pike.

“The project is proposed to receive construction funding in the 2016 fiscal year,” Nagi explained. “If that holds true, expect construction to begin in late 2015 or early 2016. I believe it will take at least 24 months for construction.”

Project plans call to flatten the roadway by four to five feet at the crest of the hill to improve the sight distance of the motorist.  A center turn lane will be added as well as shoulders, curbs, and sidewalks.

Initial cost estimates are in the $8 to $10 million range, but will be updated with the finalization of Right of Way plans.

With the roadwork set to take place at one of the busiest travel sections in Seymour, TDOT is planning to avoid traffic snarls in the area.

Nagi said TDOT plans to maintain two lanes of traffic in each direction during construction, the same flow the roadway currently operates with.

“It will be important to provide access to the fire hall during construction,” Nagi added.

The project to improve Chapman Hwy. at Ford Hill has been one that has been in the works for years. Back in 2007 Sevier County gave $300,000 to TDOT to help accelerate the project. However, in the big picture, the amount the County supplied is only about 3 percent of the overall projected cost.

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