Motorists traveling down Ringgold Road will now be able to turn directly onto Camp Jordan Parkway in front of the Bass Pro Shops.
On Wednesday, crews completed the roadway linking the existing Camp Jordan Parkway to Ringgold Road and activated traffic signaling there, officials said. Some residents who live in the Frawley Road, Harris Hills area were surprised during their Thursday morning commute by snarled traffic in the area.
City Manager Scott Miller said Thursday afternoon that the traffic signaling problems would be addressed perhaps as early as Friday. The problem with the lights was that the sensors embedded in the concrete on the newly configured Exit 1 from Interstate 75 were being triggered by construction equipment on that unfinished ramp. Officials said that Exit 1 should be opened for traffic next week.
“We should have that all cleaned up in a couple of days,” Miller said. “(the intersection) should be fully operational and functioning by Monday, December 4. In the end, we will have a better, more efficient intersection.”
The new exit ramp on I-75 has been in the works for several years. Developers of Bass Pro and Jordan Crossing said that having traffic come directly into the new shopping center was essential for them to finalize agreements with potential businesses wishing to locate in Jordan Crossing.
Mayor Brent Lambert said publicly that regardless of economic development in the area, the city desperately needed a new exit off the interstate that would allow traffic to turn east and west. The old Exit 1A funneled traffic to the southeast and cars were forced to quickly merge left to turn onto Camp Jordan Parkway via St. Thomas Street to access Camp Jordan Park and Bass Pro Shops. That roadway will soon terminate at Weaver Street, officials said. The small tract of land that once comprised the access to the park will become part of a parking lot for the new Chick-fil-A restaurant that will soon begin construction.
The projects total cost of almost $7 million is being shared by Hamilton County, the Tennessee Department of Transportation and the City of East Ridge. The original cost estimate of the roadway was about $2 million. The price tag was completely underestimated and the city recently borrowed $4.9 million to cover construction costs.
The entire project – a new entrance ramp heading north, mitigation of sewer problems and landscaping of the area is expected to be completed in the late spring of 2018.