GATE CITY — Those who travel between Weber City and Kingsport should expect road construction on two major routes for the next few months.
VDOT representatives addressed the Scott County Board of Supervisors recently to provide the board with updates on several of its construction projects.
Two of those projects — ongoing bridge construction on U.S. 23 North and new construction on Wadlow Gap Road — could impact motorists in the Weber City area until the summer of next year.
Allan Sumpter, VDOT Wise residency administrator, said crews had to begin work on Wadlow Gap Road now to avoid delaying the project and potentially losing funding.
“We took that project out about as far as we could go without jeopardizing the timeline, funding and so forth. … We will see an overlap going into next summer of those projects, but hopefully, we’re going to try to work to minimize that as much as we can,” Sumpter said.
About the projects
The bridge construction on Route 23 is on track to finish in the summer of 2019. While one side of the bridge has already been completed, the other side is still a work in progress, Sumpter said.
In the meantime, a curve-elimination project has begun on Wadlow Gap Road, also known as Route 224. While most of the construction will take place along the shoulder of the road, motorists should expect periodic flagging operations, with more frequent delays occurring in the spring as crews tie in a new section of roadway.
Sumpter said that project is in the demolition stage and will likely take “a couple of construction seasons” to complete.
BOS member Marshall Tipton expressed concern about the two projects occurring at the same time, noting that those are the only routes into that area other than back roads.
Sumpter said that unlike other construction projects, the Wadlow Gap Road project will be more flexible in the sense that it can adjust to traffic, if needed.
“If traffic becomes too heavy at different times, then we’ll be able to remove flaggers and let traffic clear,” Sumpter said. “So it’s a more adjustable type of situation on that than you would have at (projects) where you have barrels and … barrier walls and so forth that would impact, but we’ll keep an eye on it the best that we can.”
Crossovers closed on Route 23
As part of an unrelated project, VDOT on Tuesday closed the crossovers on Route 23 in Weber City between Kane Street and Wadlow Gap Road. The closure of these crossovers will enhance safety along a stretch of highway that has seen an increase in rear-end and side-angle crashes over a five-year period, according to VDOT.
This project will include adding a left turn lane from Route 23 onto Route 619, also known as Filter Plant Road. A left-turn lane will also be added off Route 23 onto a private road across from Route 619, and a right-turn lane will be added where northbound Route 23 meets Route 619.
The project is currently in the design phase, Sumpter said, and construction is expected to begin in 2021.
Fraleytown Road project proposed
VDOT representative Jackie Christian said a project on Route 624, also known as Fraleytown Road, is in the proposal stage. Christian said the bridge on that route is “very old” and in need of repair, which may require closing the east end of the roadway for several months.
BOS member Chad Hood expressed his support for the project but requested that one side of the bridge remain elevated out of the floodplain, as it is now. If the project moves forward, construction is expected to begin in 2021, Christian said.