Major Apison Pike improvement project moves forward

Apison Pike

Apison Pike is entering its first phase of construction as part of a road improvement project led by the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT).  

A $93 million dollar contract was awarded to the Wright Brothers Construction Company in December 2019, allowing construction to begin back in March. The project is taking place along Apison Pike, from Ooltewah Ringgold Road to East Layton Lane in Hamilton County. 

According to the TDOT website, once work on the 3.4-mile-long project is completed, the roadway will have five lanes with curbs and gutters, sidewalks, bike lanes and greenway connections. Five new bridges and 10 retaining walls will be added to minimize traffic during a train crossing.

Due to the significant size of this project, the proposed improvements have been separated into three phases. Construction on Apison Pike is currently in Phase I as the Wright Brother Construction Company work began back in March, according to the TDOT website. 

“The contractor has made a lot of progress since March,” said TDOT Regional Communications Officer Jennifer Flynn in an interview with the Accent. “Clearing and grubbing to make room for a new road has taken place from Tucker Road to Merc Lane and is now underway from Tucker Road back to Ooltewah- Ringgold Road.”

Substructure work for many of the new bridges is also underway. One of the main benefits that Southern Adventist University students and faculty members will see from this project is a large bridge that will be built over the railroad tracks at the intersection of Apison Pike, McKee Road and Tucker Road. With the new bridge installed, drivers will no longer have to wait for trains to pass to get over the railroad track. 

During the groundbreaking ceremony for this project back in March, TDOT Commissioner Clay Bright said, “Once complete, this project will improve accessibility for local and regional traffic and enhance safety in the area. Having a large bridge over the railroad tracks will eliminate the necessity for traffic to use the at-grade crossing, thereby making travel times much more predictable.” 

This project is funded through the state’s IMPROVE Act (Improving Manufacturing, Public Roads, and Opportunities for a Vibrant Economy).

Along with the current improvements, there is a future project in development that will widen a 0.9-mile section of Apison Pike to three lanes from Layton Lane to East Brainerd Road. The completion date for this entire project is set for June 2025. TDOT will communicate any further construction updates on their website.

Construction on Apison Pike across from the train tracks by Southern. Photo by Xander Ordinola

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