U. S. 27 Project in Downtown Chattanooga Running 6 Months Behind

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CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — The massive construction project on U.S. 27 through downtown Chattanooga will not be finished on time.

The contractor has asked TDOT for an extension to complete the project.

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The $126 million dollar TDOT project on US 27 Downtown started back in December of 2015. It is the most expensive project ever undertaken by TDOT to date, and was supposed to be completed by Jan 28th of 2020.

That’s not going to happen.

The contractor has cited several reasons with causing the delays, and they’re asking TDOT for an extension.
The company will be charged $3,200 per day for unfinished work past that completion date.

“They’re asking for – for several reasons, one is the traffic out there, the traffic control, things of that sort, extreme weather, and then also some unforeseen site conditions associated with one of the retaining walls,” said Joe Deering, Region 2 Director for TDOT.

TDOT is evaluating that extension request from the contractor, Dement Construction Company, to determine how many of those additional days were beyond the control of the contractor. The damages assessed to Dement Construction , will be based on that determination. But the bottom line is, no matter how high those damages are, this project will not be finished until the fall of 2020.

“We build weather days into our contract time and so, the way the specifications read, we only give time for what is called “extreme weather”. Extreme weather is actually defined in our specifications, and that’s weather that exceeds what would be your normal weather patterns,” said Director Deering.

This begs the question: could this happen with the I-24/I-75 split design/build project as well?

“Where the liquidated damages or the damages on the downtown project is thirty-two hundred dollars a day, it’s 30 thousand dollars a day for the first 30 days on that project and a HUNDRED thousand dollars thereafter,” said Deering.

Ashley Henderson asked, “So they’re probably going to be on time?”

“We hope so, and they hope so,” said Deering.

TDOT plans to have its response to the extension request completed by mid-January.

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Ashley is a lifetime Chattanooga area resident, and a 1987 graduate from UTC, with a BA in communications. While there, he was commissioned through the ROTC program, served simultaneously in the 1/181st field artillery Tn. Army National Guard, finished Airborne school, was a member of the Scabbard and Blade military honor society and ROTC Rangers, the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity, played snare drum with the UTC Marching band, and played in a southern rock band called Southern Atmosphere, while working a full time job as a trainer at the Sports Barn. He also won the Southeastern United States teenage bodybuilding competition during this time. Ashley has been with News 12 Now for 21 years. Prior to working here he was a videographer, director, producer and editor at Falcon Cable TV in Dalton, Ga. for 6 years where he produced thousands of commercials and dozens of hour long features. He also worked as a freelancer and employee at another network affiliate in Chattanooga. He has operated a part time video production business from home for 25 years. He says his passion is telling stories that feature people who give of themselves to help others, and stories that inspire people to make positive changes in themselves and their communities. Ashley is ecstatically married to Debbie Henderson, and has two step sons, a daughter in law, a sister, and lots of aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews, and great nieces and nephews. His parents are celebrating their 60th anniversary this year. Ashley and Debbie are active members of Brainerd Baptist Church. His interests include weight training and cycling with his wife, photography, poetry, playing drums, and checking off items from his extensive honey-do list. If you would like to reach Ashley, email him at ahenderson@wdef.com.