KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Traffic was moving slower than usual Thursday on Alcoa Highway, especially during the busy parts of the day, because of a sinkhole.
UT students Lauren Davis and Rebecca Percy drive on Alcoa Highway frequently. But Thursday, both students chose to take a different way across the Tennessee River hoping to get to school on time.
“My friend texted me who’s also in the same class, she lives at Corey Trail, and she told me not to go Alcoa so I had to around the back way and I was still late,” Davis said.
Percy added, “Yeah, same. I saw the traffic and started going the back way and it still almost took me almost half an hour to get to school.”
They say it usually takes about 10 minutes to get to campus from their house.
The middle and right lanes and the right shoulder near the University of Tennessee Medical Center, at Alcoa Highway and Cherokee Trail, were closed for the repairs according to TDOT Community Relations Officer Mark Nagi. Work will continue to fix a sinkhole on Alcoa Highway northbound into Friday evening.
“The middle lane, the right lane, and the right shoulder, we had those lanes closed throughout the day,” TDOT Community Relations Officer Mark Nagi said. “We expect to have those lane closures in place through Friday night after rush hour.”
The sinkhole was 10 feet deep, 16 feet wide, and the bedrock was 50 feet deep. Workers have been out since 3:00 a.m. Thursday fixing the sinkhole near UT Medical Center.
“Crews are filling the sinkhole with what’s called flowable fill. This was a material that will allow excavations to take place more easily. After that flowable fill is in place then they will pave over the sinkhole,” said Nagi.
Geotechnical engineers are investigating the cause of the sinkhole which is common to the area.
“East Tennessee alone is prone to sinkholes but certainly on that stretch of Alcoa Highway,” Nagi said. “We’ve seen this happen before but one thing to stress, we’re not going to allow for that roadway to be open until we feel that it is safe for motorists.”
Nagi recommends drivers from Blount County and across the river take Pellissippi Parkway to I-40 as the sinkhole repair continues. And if you do plan to drive along Alcoa Highway northbound near UT Medical Center, you’re asked to please take it easy in the work zone.