Officials with the Tennessee Department of Transportation met with Campbell County officials and citizens Thursday morning, to talk about the extended interstate detour that's sent thousands of cars through their neighborhoods.
The southbound lanes of I-75 are closed because of an embankment collapse that's basically taken out the roadway. Crews have been working for weeks to stabilize the area. TDOT said this morning they believe one lane of southbound traffic will be allowed back on the interstate by May 21.
Until then, the main detour has drivers exiting the interstate in Jellico and taking Hwy. 25W down through LaFollotte and Caryville back to I-75.
Campbell County officials have been dealing with huge volumes of traffic. LaFollette Police are using 4 to 6 extra officers every day to direct traffic and deal with wrecks.
TDOT said that emergency federal funding is available to pay for the overtime costs for local law enforcement dealing with traffic issues from the I-75 closure. The departments would have to apply for that reimbursement.
Another item up for discussion? The Campbell County road superintendent is proposing an alternate detour for drivers: Exit 144 off I-75, take Stinking Creek Road south to Highway 63, which rejoins I-75 at the Caryville exit. But for that to work, Stinking Creek Road would have to be paved since it's currently a gravel street,
TDOT officials said they are open to all possibilities, but they'll have to look at it.