(WBIR-Rockwood) Thousands of East Tennesseans used Sunday to get home from an extended Thanksgiving weekend. A popular shortcut in Roane County reopened just in time for the holiday travel.
Rockwood's Airport Road closed in June and reopened on Nov. 27.
It's a popular shortcut for Morgan County commuters, like those in Oakdale, driving down into Rockwood.
"I have a lot of family up there so that saves me a whole lot of time from having to drive on Highway 70 up the mountain or toward Harriman up the mountain. It saves about 30 minutes to go see my family up there so it's great," said Bobby Headrick, a Rockwood resident.
It's also a gateway for those in Morgan County who want access to businesses in Rockwood.
Roane County Road Superintendent Dennis Ferguson said the road was shifting and starting to cave.
"The road had so many low places in it that your car would actually drag," he said.
The county has closed and repaired the road in the past because the hillside it sits on is sliding. School buses in Roane County stopped traveling the road this year.
"We went down, nine feet below the top of the asphalt to get to the dirt and to get to a solid bed there. The dirt that was in there was not compacted and it was like sand and it was loose. We feel that's what caused the problems to make it shift, along with probably some other things," Ferguson said.
Crews dug up the road and packed it with rock and clay.
A portion of Airport Road within the city limits also benefited from improvements.
Ferguson said he will make sure there are no other problems before crews pave the road. He said the repairs are not a permanent fix but the road is safe to travel.