The Oak Ridge City Council on Monday will consider supporting an Oliver Springs request to ask the state to widen nine miles of State Route 61 between Oliver Springs and Harriman, where 114 crashes—some of them fatal—were reported between February 2013 and December 2016.
In a January 24 email, Oliver Springs Mayor Cecil E. Crowe told several city and county mayors that Oliver Springs has asked that State Route 61, which is two lanes, be widened to four.
“This highway project has been discussed for a number of years, but it has lacked the support necessary to get it approved,” Crowe told Oak Ridge Mayor Warren Gooch, Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank, and Roane County Executive Ron Woody. “We need your support to increase the priority of this highway project to reduce accidents, injuries, and fatalities.”
The improvement could boost both the economies in Oak Ridge and Oliver Springs, as well as in Harriman and Anderson, Morgan, and Roane counties, according to Crowe and the Oliver Springs resolution.
That resolution said the highway is used by thousands of motorists commuting to and from work each day. Crowe said the last highway count in 2015 reported 5,375 vehicles per day on Highway 61.
Of the 114 crashes between February 2013 and December 2016, at least 33 resulted in injuries, according to the Oliver Springs resolution.
The highway widening request is being made to the Tennessee Department of Transportation.
“It is possible to travel from Chattanooga to Clinton, Tennessee, on a four-lane highway, with the exception of this nine-mile stretch,” the Oliver Springs resolution said. “The Town of Oliver Springs requests the State of Tennessee Department of Transportation consider this project for the safety of the residents of Roane and Anderson counties, as well as the thousands that travel that road daily.”
The Monday night City Council meeting starts at 7 p.m. Monday in the Oak Ridge Municipal Building Courtroom. See the agenda here.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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