Campbell County residents are getting used to life with more traffic
on local roads following the earth slide that occurred underneath
Friday, officials realized the southbound lanes of the interstate near mile-marker 143 were sliding down an embankment more than 50-feet deep. TDOT subsequently closed a stretch of the highway near that area as a result.
In order to travel south, drivers have to take one of two alternative routes.
- Most drivers will have to take Exit 160 in Jellico and follow U.S. 25W to LaFollette and back to I-75 South at Exit 134 in Caryville- 10News clocked that commute at 1 hour and 10 minutes.
- Wide loads will have to exit off I-75 south at exit 160 in Jellico and turn right and follow state route 297 west to state route 63 and back onto I-75 south at Exit 141- 10News timed that at 44 minutes.
The former route takes drivers through the heart of Campbell County. They drive past towns like Jellico, LaFollette, Jacksboro, and Caryville.
Saturday, hundreds of cars, some from as far away as Ontario, used TDOT'S route to head south. Local residents told 10News they noticed the spike in drivers
Katie Goins, owner of Katies' Carryout and Catering, said the increase cars had negatively effected her business which delivers a lot of food to the elderly.
"It [traffic] has hindered me today on delivering," she said.
Another business owner, Ed Dwyer, said the traffic had also hurt his business Topline Automotive and Detailing, as well.
"It [traffic] slowed business down," he said. "Usually, Saturdays are the busiest days for oil changes and detailing, but it's slowed things down to almost a stop today."
The increase in traffic also meant more work for local authorities. Members of the LaFollette Police Department spent part of their day directing traffic along Highway 25. The Campbell County Sheriff Office also 10News it had to change its deputies' patrol routes in the southern part of the county so traffic would not fringe on their ability to reach emergencies.
Friday, TDOT officials said they hope to install crossover lanes on Interstate 75 by the end of the week. If installed, drivers would be able to head both north and south on the highway, eliminating the required need for the alternative routes.