JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL)- The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) announced it’s first lane closure on Boones Creek Road. The southbound traffic lane on Boones Creek Road will be shifted to the existing center turn lane.
TDOT says the closure is needed to give the contractor working space to construct a new sewer line. This is all a part of the diverging diamond project coming to exit 17 on I-26.
The diverging diamond project is on schedule to be completed by August 30th, 2020. The lane closures could impact the brand new Boones Creek K-8 school, forcing school administrators to plan ahead.
“It will cause some extra traffic,” said Jordan Hughes, Principal of Boones Creek K-8. “However, we are working with the contractor to make sure that we are using the traffic patterns efficiently and we are also working with the Washington County Sherriff’s Department.”
Hughes says she expects problems at first. The main concerns are that the construction may impact bus routes and parents dropping off children.
The Washington County Tennessee School System is planning to post a video on their website and post maps with arrows showing exactly where parents need to go to drop kids off.
“Our transportation supervisor has notified the bus drivers whose routes will be impacted and we think we will be ready on August the 5th,” said Bill Flanary, Washington County Tennessee Director of Schools.
On the other side of 1-26 on Boones Creek Road are a few businesses that worry construction will take a toll on their clientele.
“Anytime there’s a known throughout the community, a big construction going on at any exit, people tend to avoid it if at all possible or if they have to go through it they’ll go as simple and straight forward,” said Roger Riddle, the owner of Vapor Delirium.
Riddle says roughly 45 percent of his clients are people passing through the area on I-26. In the long run, riddle says a diverging diamond and a potential retail shopping center at the exit will benefit existing businesses in the area.
The sewer line portion of the project will take roughly 12 weeks to complete.
TDOT is asking that cars use extreme caution and stay alert when driving through the area.