Cleek Road improvement project passes halfway mark

Matthew Lane • Jul 21, 2013 at 9:41 PM

KINGSPORT — A major widening and improvement project along Cleek Road is just over the halfway mark, with virtually all of the blasting work completed and crews now focusing on the construction of a new bridge and pedestrian tunnel.

Baker’s Construction Services began the yearlong project in November 2012 with the overall goal being to widen Cleek Road with shoulders along the roadway, replacing the bridge over Reedy Creek and adding curbing, gutters, and an 8-foot-wide mobility path along with the tunnel for a future extension of the Kingsport Greenbelt.

Once complete, the new road would go behind the house at the corner of Cleek and Orebank, and a four-way intersection would be created at Lamberth Street.

The impetus for the project is due to the dangerous bluff along Cleek Road, where a couple of sections of the roadway had a slope of 22 to 23 percent. The maximum slope under city regulations is 15 percent for public roads.

According to an update from city engineer Hank Clabaugh, work completed to date includes the drilling and blasting of the rock ledges going up the bluff, sanitary sewer and a majority of the stormwater infrastructure. The undercutting and building up of the new road sub-grade and the stream relocation on the south side of Reedy Creek has also been completed.

Waterline relocation work along Orebank Road is expected to begin soon with the main focus of the project now being on the new bridge over Reedy Creek and the box tunnel under the road, Clabaugh said. Bridge foundation work on the southern side and center of Reedy Creek is complete with the northern side work ongoing, Clabaugh said.

“Pretty much all of the blasting is complete for the road, but there will probably be a little blasting on the road ledge when they’re doing the (sight distance) improvements to Orebank,” Clabaugh said.

The new four-way intersection aims to improve the sight distance issue along Orebank Road.

Cost of the project is just over $2.7 million and according to Clabaugh, the construction company has not asked for any additional days or an extension to the contract. No change orders have come before the Board of Mayor and Aldermen either.

The completion date in the contract is for Nov. 29, 2013.

This latest project marks the second round of work for Cleek Road in the past two years.

In 2011, Kingsport finished the first phase of improvements to Cleek Road, the bulk of which involved adding turn lanes to the intersection at Stone Drive, widening a portion of the roadway with some slight realignment and adding sidewalks. The $1.17 million project also affected a small portion of New Beason Well Road to Fire Station No. 8.

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