Hippy's Garage recently moved from "the corner" on U.S. 27 in Oneida, and the building stands vacant as it awaits demolition to make way for a construction project that will see the 90-degree curve straightened and the intersection reconfigured | Ben Garrett/IH

The Tennessee Department of Transportation is scheduled to award a construction contract for the Alberta Street improvement project in Oneida in the coming months. Meanwhile, engineering continues on a project that will make safety improvements to S.R. 63 east of Huntsville.

According to a TDOT project status update, provided quarterly to county and municipal mayors, a contract for construction on the U.S. Hwy. 27 project in Oneida is scheduled to be awarded in the second quarter of this year — the months of April, May and June.

The project will reconfigure several intersections along a four-tenths of a mile section of U.S. 27 from Industrial Lane to Second Avenue, at the Oneida Post Office.

Specifically, the “corner,” a 90-degree turn at U.S. 27’s intersection with Paint Rock Road, will see a significant upgrade. A significant portion of TDOT’s $3.1 million budget for the project was used to acquire right-of-way for the project. Three buildings are currently sitting vacant and awaiting demolition to make way for the reconfiguration of the corner, the four businesses that once occupied those buildings having already moved. K&M Sporting Goods, 4WD Performance, Hippy’s Garage and Scott County News were displaced by the project; all have moved to nearby locations.

Another part of the project, as designed, will see concrete islands installed at U.S. 27’s intersection with Second Avenue, not dissimilar from the curbs recently installed at U.S. 27’s intersection with S.R. 63 in Huntsville.

Meanwhile, TDOT says engineering is underway on a safety improvement project on S.R. 63 from west of S.R. 456 to east of Norma Road. The 4.1-mile stretch of highway will see “miscellaneous safety improvements.” While TDOT has not said specifically what those improvements will consist of, Scott County Mayor Jeff Tibbals told the Independent Herald previously that his meetings with TDOT indicated the possibility of turn lanes — such as at the S.R. 456 intersection and at the Norma Road intersection.

TDOT had originally considered a four-lane highway from Interstate 75 at Caryville all the way to Huntsville School, but recently announced that the widening proposal has been taken off the table, and that it would instead focus on site-specific improvements along the existing two-lane section of S.R. 63. 

In Campbell County, engineering is underway for a truck-climbing lane along east-bound S.R. 63 from near the Pioneer Post Office at the S.R. 297 intersection to west of Stinking Creek Road. Additionally, environmental studies are being completed for a 6.5-mile section of S.R. 63 from the Scott-Campbell county line to Interstate 75. 

Engineering is also underway on a 3.7-mile section of U.S. 27 in Robbins, from north of Wolf Creek Road to Old Hwy. 27 just north of the South Scott fire hall. The proposal is to rebuild and widen the highway. Engineering is scheduled to begin this quarter for reconstruction of a separate, 5.1-mile section of U.S. 27 in southern Scott County, beginning at the Scott-Morgan county line.

On the Morgan County side, the right-of-way acquisition process is underway for the reconstruction of U.S. 27 from north of S.R. 328 near Oakdale to north of Mossy Grove, a 2.5-mile section of highway. That project will follow the ongoing reconstruction of U.S. 27 in southern Morgan County and Roane County. That 5.3-mile project, being completed by Charles Blalock & Sons with a price tag of nearly $100 million, is expected to be completed by July.

State Sen. Ken Yager, R-Kingston, who has long advocated a reconstruction of the entire U.S. 27 route from Harriman to Robbins, told the Independent Herald in December that subsequent projects along the highway will be tackled sooner than the public might realize, with construction set to move to the Oakdale-to-Wartburg corridor next, before progressing to Wartburg-to-Sunbright and then Sunbright-to-Robbins in the years to come.

TDOT currently has three projects underway in Scott County. The resurfacing of S.R. 63 from its U.S. 27 intersection to Corner Drive in Huntsville was recently completed by the Rogers Group at a cost of $1.1 million. A resurfacing project from Sand Cut Road north to the TN-KY state line in Winfield is underway by the Hudson Construction Company, with a price tag of $648,000, and is expected to be completed by May. And a bridge replacement project along Lays Road over Straight Fork Creek in eastern Scott County, at a cost of $476,000, is expected to be completed by Potter South East by May.

In Campbell County, a truck climbing lane on Interstate 75 from mile marker 145 to mile marker 148, north of the Huntsville-Oneida exit, is scheduled for completion this month. The $6.9-million project was constructed by Twin K Construction.

Notably, the TDOT status update did not provide an update on the long-awaited completion of the I-75 truck-climbing lane on Caryville Mountain south of the Oneida-Huntsville exit.

UPDATE: February 14, 2019, at 2:49 p.m. — A previous version of this story referred to the scheduled February 2019 completion of a truck-climbing lane on Interstate 75 in Campbell County as being the Caryville Mountain project. The story was updated to reflect that the truck-climbing lane referenced in the TDOT update is the recently-completed Twin K Construction project north of the Oneida-Huntsville exit.