Slip-sliding roadway reopens

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‘You’ll feel like it is the good old days, because you’ll be going up a gravel road’

By Cindy Simpson

Rockwood’s Airport Road is now open again, but it may be rough going.
Roane County Road Superintendent Dennis Ferguson said it was important to get the road open this week before Thanksgiving, but warned that while it is navigable, the road is not paved yet.

“Because of the weather, we weren’t able to do it,” Ferguson said.

Rockwood Mayor James Watts announced the news at the Rockwood City Council meeting Monday, thanking Ferguson and the city’s street department, including superintendent Hugh Lee O’Dell.

“Anybody wants to go up Airport Road, you’ll feel like it is the good old days, because you’ll be going up a gravel road,” Watts said.

City recorder Becky Ruppe, from Oakdale, celebrated the potential shoppers coming to spend money in Rockwood.

“We don’t care so much of them going up it,” Ruppe said. “We want the people coming down and spending money.”

Ferguson said crews cut the asphalt and dug down roughly 9 feet on a nearly 100-foot section of county road, compacting it will new rock, clay and more rock.

They also dug up and placed compacted dirt and gravel in sections of the road in Rockwood’s city limits with help from the city.

Ferguson compared soil that was removed as sand like in consistency.

Airport Road has been closed since June when the highway department determined it was unsafe to drive on.

Fissures on some sections and were quickly worsening.

Officials at the time said they could not determine how far the cracks went down into the earth.