Highway 27 budget increased, timeline extended

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) – The widening of Highway 27 is still a work in progress three years after ground was broken.

The project was started in 2015 to accommodate the increasing amount of traffic running through downtown Chattanooga.

“The road was originally designed to carry 30,000 vehicles a day, and it carries about 72,000 vehicles a day now. So it was in serious need of improvement and widening,” said Tennessee Department of Transportation spokeswoman Jenifer Flynn.

In 2006, the project was originally estimated to cost $85 million but was bid in 2015 at $126 million.

The new budget is up to $143 million.

The project includes replacing 9 bridges, building new retaining walls and rework the exits to three downtown streets.

It also widens the travel lanes to three lanes each direction.

The federal government picks up a majority of the tab with funds that come pre-allocated before the ground is even broken.

“Federal money is 80% or it could be up to almost 90% on the roadway portion because US 27 from I-24 to the Olgiati bridge is also I-124 its a spur route of the interstate,” said Flynn.

The increase seems like a lot of money, but TDOT says it’s only 12% greater than the original cost of the project.

It is now slated to be finished by January of 2020.

Categories: Chattanooga, Hamilton County