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Repair begins on Alcoa Highway rockslide

8:17 PM, Jan 28, 2013   |    comments
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Repair begins on the Alcoa Highway rockslide.

Expect traffic delays for a little bit longer on Alcoa Highway as construction workers fix a rockslide.

Kay & Kay Contracting started work on-site on Monday.

A portion of one northbound lane on Alcoa Highway has been shut down since the rockslide happened on Jan. 15.

Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) expects all lanes of traffic to be open by Feb. 8.

However, there could still be some temporary lane closures, just not during peak hours.

"I was like 20 minutes late getting to work this morning just sitting in the traffic, trying to get up here. It creates a havoc for everybody around," said Gertie Katzenmaier who owns Forever Hair Inc. in South Knoxville.

TDOT says there are stiff penalties if deadlines are not met; however, severe weather is expected this week.

"Unfortunately, this time of year we'll have to take provisions and work out there in the weather," said Michael Merida, vice president of Kay & Kay Contracting.

Construction workers will continue work in the rain but will need to shut down operations if there is lightning or high winds.

This is the second time there has been a rockslide at this spot in a year.

This time around, construction workers are nearly doubling the amount of rock anchors they will drill into the slope.

"There's always a potential for Mother Nature to cause a slide but obviously there is a design and engineer system to prevent it from happening," Merida said.

Rick Garrison lives right above the rockslide and says he believes it is only a matter of time before it happens again.

He plans to leave if the state decides to buy his property and use it to expand the highway.

"After this last one [rockslide] I kind of hope the state goes ahead and buys this property and these other properties so we don't have to put up with this anymore," Garrison said.

Rockslide repair should be finished by Feb. 15.

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