New portion of Gap Creek Road opens

Published 5:27 pm Saturday, August 8, 2015

Star Photo/Kayla Carter  A scene along the portion of Gap Creek Road, which currently connects West G Street to U.S. Highway 19E. It was open for through traffic Thursday morning.

Star Photo/Kayla Carter
A scene along the portion of Gap Creek Road, which currently connects West G Street to U.S. Highway 19E. It was open for through traffic Thursday morning.

On Friday morning, some drivers were hesitant to continue straight instead of taking the detour along the old, curvy and narrow Gap Creek Road.
Mark Nagi, Tennessee Department of Transportation community relations officer, confirmed motorists can now use the newly constructed portion of Gap Creek Road to expedite their commute between Hampton and Elizabethton. It was officially opened Thursday morning.
“This will save motorists a few minutes’ commute time with the alignment betterment versus traveling the curvy alignment of the older SR 362 route,” Nagi said. “The primary reason for this project was to provide a safer roadway and better alignment for the motoring public.”
This project called for Gap Creek Road to have 12-foot traffic lanes, 10-foot paved shoulders, a 14-foot center turn lane, and right and left turn lanes at the traffic signalized West G Street and West Elk Avenue intersections, according to Nagi.
“Taxpayers’ tax dollars are coming back to the county to benefit taxpayers, local contractors involved in project construction, utilization of local suppliers and products, and promotes employment and monetary benefits for this area,” Nagi said.
There’s also another unexpected bonus to rerouting Gap Creek Road.
“Scenic beauty is definitely a bonus and we strive to capitalize on that when feasible,” Nagi said.
The portion of Gap Creek Road that was opened from the SR 362/SR 361 intersection to the SR 362/West G Street intersection is 5.758 miles long, Nagi said,
The project was first thought to be complete by June, but there was a delay in delivery of guardrails. The total project length includes 5.898 miles and the total projected cost is $44 million, he said.
“A remaining 0.140 mile section of the new SR 362 roadway alignment construction project, from the West G Street intersection to the West Elk Avenue intersection (SR 67), is not complete at this time,” he said.
Proposed construction yet to be completed on this section includes: construction of a concrete barrier wall and concrete sidewalk, installation of guardrail, and the activation of the new traffic signal system at the West Elk Avenue intersection, with the synchronization with the West G Street traffic signal system, Nagi said.
“In addition, the project contractor will also be installing streambed erosion protection and completing a short section of remaining asphalt surface paving at the beginning end of this project, near the SR 361 intersection,” Nagi said. “The project contractor is currently procuring the materials to complete these remaining work items.”
The project contractor anticipates the arrival of remaining materials for the project and subsequent construction for these remaining work items to begin within the next couple of weeks.
“At this time frame, the project contractor anticipates, barring any unforeseen factors, having the remaining project construction items completed and the West G Street to West Elk Avenue section of the project opened to traffic on or before Oct. 9, 2015,” Nagi said.
More than a decade after it was conceptualized, Nagi was proud to announce the project updates this week.
“We are excited that this project is nearly complete for the motoring public,” Nagi said. “We appreciate their patience during the construction process.”

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