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A $2.7 million project to repair Keith Springs Mountain’s State Route 16 — heavily damaged in March by a major rockslide — should be completed by year’s end.
Jennifer A. Flynn, Tennessee Department of Transportation regional community relations officer, said Friday the repair effort is on course to be finished in less than eight weeks.
“We are very pleased that this project is nearing completion, and that this area of State Route 16 has been made safer for the traveling public,” she said. “Barring unforeseen circumstances, the project should be completed by the end of this year.”
The major thoroughfare — also referred to as Rowe Gap Road — to Keith Springs Mountain became buried in rubble on March 25.
Flynn said TDOT was well aware of rockslide potential and had begun work near mile marker 17.7, part way up Keith Springs Mountain, in December 2012.
During the project, the roadway remained open to traffic until March 25 when the rockslide occurred and totally closed the road.
Because it had happened at the site of an active project, personnel from Brentwood-based contractor Highways Inc. were already in the area and were able to quickly respond to the rockslide, Flynn said.
During the road closure, local passenger car traffic was allowed to use Iron Gap Road — a narrow Franklin County owned road extending above the rockslide area — as a detour around the site.
Truck traffic was not allowed to use Iron Gap Road and had to rely on alternate routes.
The roadway remained closed until May 9 when it was reopened to all traffic.
Meanwhile, work on the rockfall mitigation project has continued since then. However, access has been reduced to one way at a time with personnel slowing and halting traffic until vehicles can pass through from the other direction. Then the process is reversed to accommodate access from both directions.
Flynn said the average daily traffic count along that particular section of SR-16 is about 780 vehicles per day.