Dixie Lee revamp plans on pace for 2016


 Alan Sloan farragutpress.com
With revamping of Dixie Lee Junction intersection of state Highway 11 and state Highway 70 seemingly on the horizon, the beginning phase of right-of-way acquisition is underway.

Having westbound Highway 11 traffic turning left at a newly constructed 90-degree signal-light intersection with Highway 70 near the front entrance of Two Rivers Church, eastbound Highway 11 traffic would continue in a similar route that currently exists.

If state and federal funding for the project continues uninterrupted, a rough estimate of mid- to late-fall 2016 to begin construction was given by a handful of Tennessee Department of Transportation Region I officials Monday, June 8.

Considering a roundabout concept among TDOT’s design options, “We chose the configuration that we felt served the businesses the best,” Daniel Oliver, director of project development for TDOT Region 1, said about a project covering “a little over” three acres. “But also provided the best level of service, long term, with the least amount of impact to properties and cost.
“Total estimated cost, this includes utilities, right-of-way [acquisition] and construction, we’re a little over $8 million,” Oliver added.

As for right-of-way status, “We’ve got 19 tracts. There’s only relocation, and that’s the [former] business that sits there at the intersection [The Fireside & Patio Shop],” Oliver said. “… We’ve sent the plans out for appraisals,” adding about property owner feedback, “We’ve not heard anything really negative. … Overall it’s been pretty positive.”

About meeting with residents and other property owners whose property would be totally or partially taken by construction, Oliver said he and TDOT officials “want to do one just because it’s going to be a change in the configuration versus what they see today. … What we’d like to do is meet with all the property owners at one time and explain the acquisition process.

“But what we want to be sure of is having that meeting when we have a real good handle on the rest of the right-of-way funding,” he added. “… We’re hoping to be able to do that in the next couple of months. We’ve got two months of federal funding that we’ve been approved for. … We can’t plan much more than just a couple of months out there.”

As for a ballpark estimate for letting bids for construction, Oliver said, “Once we’re able to start buying property, 12 to 14 months before I can start advertising bids.”

Once a contractor is chosen, “You’re looking at either a month-and-a-half, two months before we have our pre-construction meeting and guys can get out there and start working,” Oliver said