Gearing up for a year without Virtue

Wendy SmithFarragut, The Farragut Insider

The Farragut Insider first tackled the subject of Virtue Road improvements about 18 months ago. Since then, the road was closed for about six months to complete the construction of a roundabout at Brookmere subdivision. In early February, the road will close again, this time for over a year. With Concord Road still under construction, it’s a bitter pill.

One of the reasons road construction projects are so painful is that they are often fraught with delays. TDOT’s work on Concord Road is a good example of a project that strayed far from its original schedule. It was supposed to begin in August 2018, but didn’t actually start until January 2019. The original estimated completion date was Oct. 31, 2020, but as you know, work is still going on. The current estimate for completion is December 2021.

On road improvement projects like Virtue Road and Concord Road, utility relocations are a crucial part of the project, says Brannon Tupper, assistant town engineer. Utilities are typically located in the public right-of-way – an area just outside the roadway that’s dedicated to public benefit, including future road expansions, sidewalks, greenways and utilities. Coordination with participating entities can be challenging, and delays such as weather or unforeseen site conditions have a compounding effect.

The good news is that this critical step is almost completed on the Virtue Road project.

“Utility crews have been working to set new and additional poles, move aerial cabling to the new poles and relocate underground sewer, gas and water lines. The critical relocations are scheduled to be complete in the next few weeks, allowing roadway construction to move full steam ahead,” he says.

To review, the Virtue Road improvement project was approved by the Farragut Planning Commission in fall 2018 after public input was solicited on the design. The road will be improved from 700 feet south of Kingston Pike to 2,200 feet south of Broadwood Drive. Changes include widening the road from two nine-foot lanes to two 11-foot lanes with curb and gutter and the addition of an eight-foot multi-use greenway separated from the road by a six-foot grass strip. The result will be a safer, straighter road with new pedestrian facilities.

Town Engineer Darryl Smith acknowledges that it takes an abundance of patience for drivers and nearby residents to survive a road improvement project.

“In the end, it’s worth the wait because we’re providing a safer corridor for both motorists and pedestrians,” he says.

Town of Farragut marketing and public relations coordinator Wendy Smith is your reliable Farragut insider.

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