Dixie Lee Junction work could start in early 2017

Letting bids for construction of Dixie Lee Junction revamp may begin as early as October with a “current schedule” allowing construction to begin within roughly nine months, a Tennessee Department of Transportation spokesman said.

While confirming that Oct. 7 “is the earliest letting this project could be listed,” Mark Nagi, community relations officer for TDOT Region I, added, “The current schedule would allow for construction activities to begin in late winter/early spring 2017.”

“The proposed improvements include the realignment of State Route 2 [U.S. Hwy. 11] so that it intersects with State Route 1 [U.S. Hwy. 70] at a 90-degree angle at the existing entrance to Two Rivers Church,” Nagi said. “In addition to the realignment of State Route 2, a new traffic signal will be installed and additional turn lanes will be added on all highway approaches to the intersection. 

“An existing portion of the old State Route 2 alignment will remain to provide access to existing businesses,” he added.    

A detention basin is planned between the current curved portion of 11 that intersects with 70, and the new construction.

“The proposed improvements will provide safe access to all four quadrants of the Dixie Lee intersection while maintaining the level-of-service and traffic operations/capacity of both State Route 1 and State Route 2,” Nagi said.

The revamp “is approximately one-half mile total, with “1,735 linear feet on State Route 1 and 1,000 linear feet on State Route 2,” Nagi said.

Eighty percent of revamp cost would be federal, and 20 percent state, Nagi said. Total cost estimate of the project, Nagi added, is $8.5 million, with right-of-way costing about $5.2 million, construction $3.2 million and preliminary engineering $100,000.

As of July 8, “Right-of-way is at approximately 60 percent completion,” Nagi said, adding that as of July 8, “There are no legal issues.” 

As for last-moment snags with funding that might interrupt plans for the revamp, “Although there is never an absolute guarantee, if the Knoxville [Regional Transportation Planning Organ-ization] decides to remove this project, technically they can but that is highly unlikely,” Nagi said.  “… The Knoxville [T]PO has not given any indication to back up on funding this project.

“Congress or the USDOT can always rescind money [the 80 percent federal portion], but is highly unlikely,” Nagi added.