Southbound Virtue stretch to close, detour about ‘2 weeks’

Motorists usually traveling along Virtue Road again can expect to see another detour sign.

Farragut Municipal Planning Commission, during its meeting Thursday, Jan. 19, voted unanimously to approve the installation of an 8-inch HDPE sanitary sewer force main in the center of the southbound lane of Virtue Road, from Virtue Cumberland Presbyterian Church to the intersection with Turkey Creek Road.

“It would be in the southbound on part of Virtue Road, about a little over 600 feet,” Community Development director Mark Shipley said. “There will be a temporary closure of a portion of Virtue Road, so there’ll have to be a detour route in all directions that might be affected.”

With the installation approved, Russ Rackley, owner/engineer with Rackley Engineering, which is doing the project, said, “I’d like to start in about a week.”

“So, we need to get that word out to everyone,” said Vice Mayor Louise Povlin, also an FMPC member.

“How long is that going to take?” FMPC chair Rita Holladay asked.

“Ideally, in good conditions and good weather, two weeks,” Rackly answered. However, he noted he is budgeting three weeks.

“We chose the road closure to accelerate that (time frame),” he added. The road “will be closed to through traffic at the McFee intersection with staggered barriers for local residents to drive around, and a hard closure just past the church driveway at the south of the intersection of Turkey Creek and Virtue (roads). Everyone would have a clean way around.

“And, then we’ll have a single-lane closure — there’s about 60 feet that passes in front of the intersection of Turkey Creek and Virtue, up to Evans Road.”

“So, we will do a single-lane closure there, and that will slow us down just a little bit, trying to work in a confined space,” he said.

“This line will be part of a system that will service that general part of the Town, so it’s a pretty important section” Shipley said.

“We’ve been working on this for a year and a half,” Rackley added.

“They originally tried to bore under the inlet to Turkey Creek Road, but they failed on three attempts,” Shipley said. “That would have lessened the impact to Virtue Road.

“And, really how that section of Virtue Road is – there are steep sides on each end of it, there’s a depression, there’s some culverts in the area — there’s just not enough physical space to bore outside of the road,” he added.

So, “they’re requesting to actually open trench install this section through that southbound lane of Virtue Road,” he said. “(Rackley has) been working with our Town engineer on this project.”

Rackley said his crew also tried to work inside the creek but failed there as well.

In other construction-related business, FMPC unanimously approved the installation of underground fiber optic cable for:

• Comcast from Kingston Pike, along the east side of Concord Road, then under Concord Road to the Town Center at Biddle Farms.

• Zayo, which will go along the south side of Outlet Drive, from the western Town limits, across the frontage of the old Outlet Mall building and end to the east at the Knox County line.

• TDS Telecom, which also will go along the south side of Outlet Drive from the western Town limits, across the front of Outlet Mall to the east at the Knox County line.