Update given on Hwy. 60 widening
by JOYANNA LOVE Banner Senior Staff Writer
Mar 06, 2014 | 1801 views | 0 0 comments | 24 24 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Updates on the widening of Highway 60 from Westlake Drive to State Route 306 were given to the Highway 60 Corridor Management Committee during a meeting Wednesday.

Environment paperwork related to the project is still being filed, according to project manager Scott Medlin of the Tennessee Department of Transportation.

“We hope to finalize right of way plans later this summer,” Medlin said.

Acquiring the needed rights of way could take up to two years. Medlin said there are approximately 136 sections of property that will be needed as part of the project.

Brochures explaining the process are available from TDOT.

Medlin said details would also be explained in a meeting with property owners.

The widening of Highway 60 will look very similar to the widened section of Dalton Pike — with five lanes of traffic, curbing and sidewalks.

Bradley County Commissioner Terry Caywood expressed concern over how the widening of Highway 60 might affect Hopewell Elementary School and the proposed new Cleveland City Schools’ elementary school.

Caywood said he has been in contact with Bradley County Board of Education representatives for that area about creating a second entrance for the school.

Kevin Herrit of TDOT said the state agency would need to be notified if the project began.

Herrit said TDOT has shown the plans for the widening of the road to Cleveland City Schools to discuss how it might impact the proposed new elementary school.

The land has been purchased on Georgetown Road (Highway 60); however, funding for construction of the school is not currently available.

The Highway 60 Corridor Management Committee brings together representatives from Cleveland, Bradley County, the Cleveland Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation as well as TDOT.

“The purpose of this committee is to talk about the corridor as a whole from the Georgia line to Eureka Road,” committee chairman Jon Sparkman said.

Sparkman said the committee serves as a means for the organizations to work closely together toward common goals.

Sparkman asked members to notify him if they needed to send someone else to represent them at a meeting so he can get them the meeting packet.

Herrit stressed to members that the local departments need to make the state office aware of new projects that could affect traffic.

A presentation by D. Stacey Morrison of TDOT polled the audience for information on what they felt was important for TDOT to focus on in the future.

Morrison said that as population grows, the demands put on roads and other elements of transportation will increase. However, he said gas taxes at the current rate are not projected to generate enough revenue to meet the demand. He said electric and more fuel-efficient cars have an impact on this revenue.

The average Tennessean pays about $300 a year on gasoline taxes.

Morrison said that figure is based on 15,000 miles at 20 miles to the gallon. On each gallon of gas a person pays 39 cents in taxes — 20 cents in state tax, 19 in federal. There has not been an increase in this tax in 25 years, according to Morrison.

Morrison said the overall economic outlook for the state and the Cleveland and Bradley County area is positive.

Similar presentations will be done throughout the state.