|Harrison Road set to reopen
Construction crews are working to reopen a portion of Harrison Road at the intersection with Old Highway 95 before Lenoir City Schools is back in session next week.
Both lanes of Harrison Road are expected to reopen by Aug. 2, the same day Lenoir City Schools are scheduled to hold registration day.
“It will be down to binder,” Amber Scott, Lenoir City administrator, said. “It won’t be 100 percent paved, but it will be down to binder and you’ll have two center lines and a line on each side. … But both lanes will be open.”
There has been no delay from the original plan for reopening the road, Scott said, with Aug. 2 always serving as the target date.
Jeanne Barker, Lenoir City Schools superintendent, called Aug. 2 a “drop dead date” during a Lenoir City Board of Education meeting in July.
“Whenever the decision was made that it was necessary to close it, from the time that school would be out for summer it has always been Aug. 2,” Scott said. “… Of course, we have worked with the school on that. They have been in every single one of our meetings.”
School officials have faith that both lanes will be open by that promised Aug. 2 date, but work is being done to ease traffic conditions when students do return to Lenoir City High School.
“We are working on ways to mitigate the amount of traffic, looking at the traffic flow,” Barker said. “Mike Sims and (Lenoir City Police) Chief (Don) White are working with the high school administrators and looking at how we can lessen the congestion.”
Construction on the road project will be ongoing, but should not take place while students are arriving or leaving the high school, Barker said.
She is urging students to use caution on the roads when they return to class since traffic flow could be different from what they remember.
“That’s my biggest concern is I just want to make sure students are safe, that they’re not looking at their cellphones or looking around at construction,” Barker said. “… Chief White has indicated that he’ll have additional officers out there, and we’ll have our school resource officers as well. The construction company will also be putting up signs, so that should help.”
Water to LCHS was turned back on last week, which Barker called “real progress” after faculty had been using bottled water throughout the summer.
While BOE member Bobby Johnson Sr. has raised concerns about construction traffic through the parking lot of LCHS, Barker said overall there have been no major problems.
“I have been very pleased with the cooperation and the collaboration of everybody — the city, the construction company, roads, LCUB,” she said. “Truly I think it has been a good job by everybody to make sure we can get schools open on time. So I appreciate that.”
There have been some calls from residents in the Harrison Hills neighborhood regarding rerouted traffic, Scott said.
“There have been a couple of phone calls, mainly people letting us know that people may be driving fast there through,” Scott said. “... There were a few instances of some commercial traffic trying to go through the neighborhood. We were informed about that, but I wouldn’t say it was complaints. … That allowed us to request additional patrol in the area and increased police presence.”
Michael Waller, engineer for the project with Waller & Waller Inc., declined to comment on progress of the project, directing all questions to Scott, who was unable to provide an estimated completion date for the project.