By Meg Dickens
The Johnson County Highway Department was hard at work in 2019. The sidewalk project on South Main Street by the Johnson County Health Department and the one-way designation in Heritage Square are just a few projects from 2019. Now that 2020 is here, it is time to kick things back into gear. According to the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT), Johnson County currently has five road projects pending. These projects are funded through the IMPROVE Act, which increased certain taxes and set these funds aside for road work. IMPROVE went into effect in July 2017.
The Johnson County Highway Department Road Superintendent Jeff Wagner submitted a report to the Johnson County Commissioners at a previous meeting showing all of the work done between the beginning of June 2019 through the end of September 2019. Material and labor costs for that period fall at $453,762.18. The five pending projects total $92,477,000.
There is one rural access project pending in Laurel Bloomery just past the Old Mill Music Park. This project spans from Cold Springs Road to the Virginia state line. TDOT estimates the cost at $90,000,000.
There are four bridge projects currently pending. Two bridges cross Roan Creek, one crosses Forge Creek, and the last one crosses Doe Creek. The Little Dry Run Road bridge over Roan Creek will cost an estimated $986,0000. The Slimp Branch Road bridge over Roan Creek will cost an estimated $943,000. The Stage Coach Loop bridge over Doe Creek will cost an estimated $199,000. The Forge Creek Circle bridge over Forge Creek will cost an estimated $349,000.
In an interview with the Tomahawk, Wagner explained that these jobs involve state aid and are on hold until the state gives the word. So far, there is no new information, but Wagner expects an update by email soon.
“Everything is going pretty well. We’re taking it one day at a time. Snow removal is our top priority during the winter,” said Wagner when asked about current progress.
Wagner had no new projects to report at the time. He assured the Tomahawk that the county plans to do some paving and asphalt work in the summer around May and June. For more information on the Johnson County Highway Department, visit johnsoncountytn.gov/ or call (423) 727-7851.