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All lanes of Alcoa Hwy. now open

9:05 PM, Feb 8, 2013   |    comments
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Crews rush to get a closed lane reopen before a midnight deadline.

All lanes of traffic on Alcoa Highway in South Knoxville are once again open.

For almost a month, part of a northbound lane has been shut down due to a rockslide.

That has added to the commute time for thousands of drivers.

Around 6 p.m. on Friday, crews were working on removing the road barriers.

Kay & Kay Contracting Vice President Michael Merida said the lane would reopen by midnight.

If that deadline was not met, TDOT would have fined the company $3,000 for every day it stayed closed.

The team has worked more than 180 hours to meet the deadline.

"It takes a lot of hours. You gotta do these long hours. We worked till one o'clock the other night... came in at 7:30 a.m.," said Phillip Carpenter, an operator with Kay & Kay Contracting.

They also worked in all types of weather conditions.

"Cold, wet, rainy, windy, it's been rough," said Mark Smith, an operator with Kay & Kay Contracting.

On Friday afternoon, TDOT geotechnical engineers were on-site testing the design's strength.

"We have a pull test which is a straight pull on the anchor and we have a torque test... either way it's to make sure the anchor won't break bond with the rock and not pull out," Merida said.

Since it passed the final tests, crews were able to start removing the barriers and clear the road.

"We've come out here to make sure we get this open as quickly as possible because we know how big of an inconvenience it is for the public to have this lane shut down," Merida said.

Rockslide repair will be completed by Feb. 15.

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