CLEVELAND, Tenn. — The bulk of the first phase of utility grading and relocation operations as part of the Tennessee Department of Transportation’s $54 million State Route 60 Widening Project in Bradley County is nearly complete as the project enters its second year.
“The project remains on schedule to be completed by August 25, 2025,” TDOT spokeswoman Rae-Anne Bradley said in an email on Tuesday. “The latest report from the contractor actually shows that the project is slightly ahead of schedule.”
It amounts to 35% complete, she said.
The state project will widen State Route 60 – also known as Georgetown Road or simply Highway 60 – from a two-lane road with roadside ditches to a five-lane road with two lanes in each direction and a dedicated center turn lane, according to TDOT.
The project will add paved shoulders, curbs and gutters, sidewalks and street lighting and will extend north from Cleveland Exit 25 on Interstate 75 to just past Eureka Road. The project began in October 2021 after Johnson City, Tennessee-based contractor Summers-Taylor Inc. submitted the winning bid.
There were no significant design changes and the project is on budget, Bradley said.
“We have a few pending change orders that will actually result in a net reduction in contract cost,” she said.
(READ MORE: Bradley County’s $54M Highway 60 project is on schedule as work continues through summer)
Cleveland Mayor Kevin Brooks was recently updated by Bradley County Representative at the State House, he said Wednesday.
“House Transportation President’s Representative Dan Howell sent an update on Highway 60 slightly ahead of schedule and under budget, which we were pleased to hear. We are grateful to the delegation of the state for getting this important project approved and funded, and now ahead of schedule,” Brooks said via email. “It’s a win-win for our entire region.”
Bradley said many of the project’s structures are taking shape where the new bridge is being built over Candies Creek.
Design work on utilities took a considerable amount of time before the project began, TDOT Commissioner Clay Bright said when the project began in October 2021. Utility design was completed first to resolve problems before construction began and relocating utilities was the first job in the project for the crews, he said.
The design includes the realignment of the freeway and several secondary roads to improve safety and sight distance, the construction of a new bridge over Candies Creek and improved intersections and traffic lights at Crown Colony Drive, Villa Drive , Paul Huff Parkway and State Route 306. , according to TDOT.
(READ MORE: $161 million low bid awarded for next phase of Chattanooga I-75/I-24 split project)
Entrances to three schools along Highway 60 are also part of the project.
Crews have rebuilt the entrance to Cleveland Middle School while students are out for summer vacation, and the entrances to Candy’s Creek Cherokee Elementary School and Hopewell Elementary School will also be reconfigured, according to TDOT.
For Changes Salon owner Melissa Clayton on the southern edge of the Highway 60 project, the work has been a sporadic inconvenience as well as a learning experience as she interacted with work crews.
“It comes in spurts when there’s a lot of work,” Clayton said in a phone interview Wednesday. “It’s like a day, but it’s not consistent. They gave me advance notice. So far everyone has been very communicative with me about what they’re going to do.”
Since the project began, Clayton said there have been more cars in the area and the only explanation she can find is the road project and the development of adjacent properties.
“The traffic is crazy – we have a lot more traffic,” she said. “Before, I could come here on Saturdays and there weren’t many cars at all, but if I come here on Saturdays now, the traffic is just crazy.”
(READ MORE: TDOT’s Apison Pike project is 66% complete, on track for completion in 2025)
Clayton predicts that the Interstate 60 area will become a booming growth area for Cleveland.
The speed limit throughout the work zone is 35 mph and motorists should watch for temporary lane closures and flaggers assisting with traffic control, according to TDOT.
Contact Ben Benton at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6569. Follow him on Twitter @BenBenton.
By the numbers
— $54 million: amount of the offer
— 3 miles: Project length
— August 25, 2025: contract completion date
Source: Tennessee Department of Transportation