R 66 Extension now open in Hamblen, Jefferson counties

Jay FitzJefferson, On the Grow

The State Route 66 Extension was officially opened to traffic in Hamblen and Jefferson counties on Nov. 6. The newly constructed four-lane roadway begins at I-81, Exit 4 (State Route 341) and ends just past State Route 160, a distance of 5.2 miles.

“This is a very important project for motorists in East Tennessee,” said TDOT Commissioner Clay Bright. “The extension will improve safety, as well as enhance ongoing economic and community initiatives. I would like to thank our state and local officials for their assistance during this important work.”

This project was originally let to construction in 2013. Along with a sister project covering the paving portions in late 2016, the total cost was $50.7 million. This encompassed extensive grade and drainage work, construction of two bridges, utilities and paving.

During this time, the project has overcome many hurdles and challenges, including multiple geotechnical hazards that have caused a change in the timeline. However, TDOT’s Geotechnical and Operations Divisions worked with the prime contractor, Charles Blalock and Sons Inc., to overcome these difficult circumstances, according to a press release from TDOT.

There will still be crews working in the area to complete contract work for the next several weeks. TDOT gave a shoutout to cooperation of the individual divisions of TDOT, the city of Morristown, the town of White Pine, Hamblen County Schools, Hamblen and Jefferson counties road departments.

Video of the project can be accessed here.

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