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By JUDY UNDERWOOD
Morgan County News Editor
Expansion of State Route 62 from Wartburg to Petit Lane is already underway but progress is also being made on the expansion of U.S. Highway 27.
Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) Commis-sioner Gerald Nicely was in Morgan County for the official groundbreaking of the Highway 62 project a few weeks ago.
At that time Nicely said a portion of the U.S. Highway 27 project has been funded to purchase right-of-way.
The U.S. Highway 27 project has been divided into three parts. “The first section begins in Roane County at SR 61 and extends to SR 328 in Morgan County. The project is funded for right-of-way acquisition and plans are currently being finalized in order to begin the purchase right-of-way for the project. Property appraisals are currently scheduled to begin in late 2008 and acquisition is currently scheduled to begin in 2009,” according to Michael Agnew with TDOT.
The second section begins at SR 328 and extends to south of Westminster Road. The project is funded for right-of-way acquisition and plans are currently being prepared in order to purchase of right-of-way for the project. Property appraisals are currently scheduled to begin in late 2008 and acquisition is scheduled to begin in 2009.
The third section begins south of Westminster Road and extends to SR 62 in Wartburg. This project is funded for preliminary engineering only at this time with design work currently underway. Funding for right-of-way appraisals and acquisition is proposed for FY-2010 in the Department’s three year plan.
Sen. Tommy Kilby who serves on the Senate’s Transportation Committee is credited with having helped move the highway programs in Morgan County along.
Kilby said the expansion of highways 62 and 27 have long been priorities for him beginning when he was a county commissioner almost 20 years ago.
Kilby said he believes the expansion will not only help the county with industrial recruitment but will also provide a safer route for the county’s ever increasing number of motorists.
"The highway projects in Morgan County have been put on the back burner many times. Many times we were told due to cuts in funding the project had been postponed. Without Sen. Tommy Kilby, dirt would not be moving today. His position on the Transportation Committee has been a real benefit to Morgan County in a time that transportation dollars are being cut,” Morgan County Executive Becky Ruppe said.
The expansion of Highway 62 from Wartburg to Petit Lane should be complete in late 2010.