Damage to Airport Road in Roane County getting worse

Damage to Airport Road in Roane County getting worse

Posted:
Years ago the road was closed for repairs but officials say those were just temporary fixes and something needs to be done. Years ago the road was closed for repairs but officials say those were just temporary fixes and something needs to be done.
"A lot of problems more sink holes in different places and the road is starting to cave in," said Roane County Road Superintendent Dennis Ferguson. "A lot of problems more sink holes in different places and the road is starting to cave in," said Roane County Road Superintendent Dennis Ferguson.

By LAURA HALM
6 News Reporter

ROCKWOOD (WATE) - A shortcut route in Roane County has been a problem road crews have been trying to tackle for years.

Airport Road has been closed for a few months, but now officials with the county highway department are saying cracks and unstable ground are getting worse.

The road was closed years ago to make repairs, but officials say those were just temporary fixes and something needs to be done.

A closed sign and three barricades are posted on Airport Road because the road is simply too dangerous to drive.

"A lot of problems, more sinkholes in different places, and the road is starting to cave in," said Roane County Road Superintendent Dennis Ferguson.

Drivers have not been able to see cracks marked by paint. Ferguson says he's been monitoring the damage and in some places the cracks are three feet deep, and the problem is getting worse.

"Rain plays a big factor. Is it all rain? No. But this is going to be a major problem," added Ferguson.

Another problem is that the hillside is starting to shift as well, raising more concerns.

"We don't want people traveling on a road that's unsafe. I'm not going to let them travel on a road that's unsafe," said Ferguson.

Crews have tried stabilizing the road with rocks and using asphalt to patch problem areas. But Ferguson says to make Airport Road drivable again temporary fixes aren't going to last. Repairs need to be permanent.

"There's something going on underneath, something we need to get the engineers in here to let them tell us exactly what's wrong with the road, why it's doing this and what it's going to cost to fix it," added Ferguson.

The cost seems to be the next hurdle as road officials seek to find funding.

"It's one of those projects that part of it's in the county and part of it's in the city. So we can't do one and not the other to make the road safe to where motorists can drive on it," said Ferguson.

As of right now there's no estimate on how much repairs will cost. There's the hope to have engineers survey the road and damage by this fall or winter so that a plan can be put in place.

Since the beginning of 2013 school buses were no longer using Airport Road in their routes.

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