By BOB WEAVER, HORIZON Staff
CELINA-At a location just east of the city limits here Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) Commissioner John Schroer joined Celina Mayor Willie Kerr, Clay County Mayor Dale Reagan, Chamber of Commerce President Ray Norris, Clay County TDOT employees, State Senator Mae Beavers, State Representative Kelly Keisling, and others in officially opening the newest section of State Highway 52 with a ribbon cutting ceremony last week.
The completion of this 3.2 mile segment provides four lanes for traffic from existing SR-53 at a new four-way stop near Cumberland River Hospital to the Clay-Overton line and a new avenue for commerce and growth in the area.
“This is a great day for Clay County, its people, businesses, and visitors and I wish to thank everyone involved in making this happen,” Mayor Reagan said while at the podium during the event.
During his address, Mayor Kerr gave special recognition to local TDOT employees “who work to keep our roads safe throughout the year,” in addition to commending everyone’s efforts towards “making the project a reality.”
The TDOT commissioner commented on the importance of the route, along with recognizing the efforts of the contractor.
“State Route 52 is an important route in the Clay and Overton county region,” said Commissioner Schroer. “I am pleased to be here today to join our state and local partners in celebrating the early completion of this impressive project.”
Keisling and Beavers also offered their gratitude to those involved and spoke of the improved access to and from the city here the new road offers.
Work on the $24.3 million project began in March of 2011 with an estimated completion date of September 2014, but the contractor–Bizzack Construction, LLC of Lexington, KY–finished the project in late October 2013, nearly one year early.
The project required extensive excavation, cuts and fills, including removal of 3.3 million cubic yards of material, which is the rough equivalent of filling up 412,500 triple-axle dump trucks. The tallest cut on the project was approximately 143 feet, and the deepest fill was approximately 242 feet.
The new section of highway is part of the long-planned Corridor J originally conceived in the late 1930’s as a modern highway connecting Chattanooga, TN and Louisville, KY.