Improvements at the intersection of Shaw Ferry Road and Highway
11 are closer to being started officials said, again.
"After countless promises made, after incredible lack of
coordination among the TDOT (Tennessee Department of
Transportation) and utility entities; after repeated
communication breakdowns, we still haven't moved the first
shovel of dirt," said State Representative Jimmy Matlock.
According to TDOT Project Manager John Barrett, the state agency
is moving forward with the project. "As of right now and this is
fact, it is our intent to try to tackle this project and
expedite it in a timely fashion, however with the winter months
approaching there may be obstacles ahead," he said.
A bid was awarded for the project in February 2010 to Patty
Drilling Inc. and contract calls for the project were to be
completed by Oct. 31, 2010.
At that time previous County Commissioner Wayne Gardin said he
had talked with TDOT and everything was a go. Months later no
progress had been made. "Local residents are and should be very
frustrated and I as their state representative am greatly
embarrassed at the way this project has been handled," Matlock
Officials were assured at the announcement of the project it
would be completed long before now, Matlock said.
Gardin, who represented the Sixth District where the
intersection is located, said he stayed abreast of the situation
keeping the intersection on TDOT's front burner. "I've called
them every two weeks for two years," Gardin said in February.
AT&T, the last utilities involved in the project to clear the
right of way is almost done, said Chris Walker, a spokesman for
AT&T was cleared to proceed July 28 after Lenoir City Utility
Board and Charter Communications removed their necessary
utilities, Barrett said. AT&T informed TDOT they would be done
by Sept. 17.
A snag in progress was made when utility lines in AT&T's way
were not immediately claimed. It was later discovered the pole
belonged to AT&T, Barrett said.
According to Yvette Martinez, TDOT Community Relations Officer,
AT&T missed the Sept. 17 deadline and an Oct. 12 deadline and
was given a new deadline of Nov. 7.
Utility companies are not under control of the roadway
contractor, Barrett said, adding TDOT works on good faith with
utilities. "In some ways we're at the mercy of them," he said.
According to Walker, AT&T crews have been working at the
intersection for the last few weeks, night and day and through
The company should be able to pull their utility polls by
Tuesday and allow for the road contractor to start working, he
said. "We've kind of got the final leg of the baton and we're
looking at the finish line...," Walker said.
As far as completion of the project, TDOT will have to
reevaluate to determine a time line, but doing so is not
possible until AT&T has completed its work, Barrett said.
The improvements will include left turn lanes on all four
approaches, line of site improvements and red lights. Caution
lights and rumble strips are currently in place at the
Drivers and local leaders have long maintained the problem with
the intersection is the blind hill on Highway 11. Anyone
attempting to turn from Shaw Ferry Road is unable to see the
cars until the top of the hill, at times too late to stop an
accident from happening.
The intersection of Shaw Ferry Road and Highway
11 has been the site of several serious accidents and at least
In July 2009 the Loudon County Commission voted to approve two
resolutions to get the project to fix the intersection up and
running. The first resolution passed by the county commission
contained the standard agreement for the county to give TDOT the
land needed and to take any necessary steps to move any
utilities or anything else not connected with the highway. It
also included provisions for the project's drainage and
maintenance of the road frontage. The commission approved a
second resolution acknowledging the county will take
responsibility for lights on the road, to pay the electric bill
for those lights and do standard maintenance.