Legends Drive construction sees small bumps

Xavier Smith • Updated Dec 3, 2016 at 12:00 PM

Engineers of the Legends Drive extension project recently identified two issues during the road’s construction, although neither is described as major setbacks of the project.

Construction of the $4.6 million project, which will extend Legends Drive from west of Tater Peeler Road to Cainsville Road, began in July. The road will run parallel to Interstate 40, similar to Interstate Drive between South Willow Avenue and South Jefferson Avenue in Cookeville.

The road in Cookeville is home to Ford Lincoln of Cookeville, Chili’s, Red Lobster, Fazoli’s, Outback Steakhouse, Cheddar’s, Starbucks, Olive Garden and other restaurant, businesses and retail outlets.

Randy Laine, Lebanon engineering director for capital projects, highlighted the issues to councilors this week.

“The first was an area that was uncovered during the roadway excavation that had apparently been used as a ‘dump’ site in the past. This material is not suitable to be used anywhere on the project and must be disposed of,” Laine said.

Jeff Baines, Lebanon public works director, said the “dump” discovery isn’t a total surprise since the area was considered rural not too long ago.

“The second and most significant issue was the discovery of a void in the rock in the area where the bridge abutments are to be located,” Laine said.

Laine said the group has had some items that have cost less than expected (sinkhole repair) and have encountered conditions they didn’t expect, such as the two recent issues.

“The numbers show we are currently over budget for the project by approximately $225,000,” he said.

“It is not unusual for construction projects to have overruns and underruns in various items in the project. As the project continues, this number could go up or down based on the conditions encountered,” Laine said.

“Because of the businesses there, as well as the industry on the other side of the interstate, this will become a hotspot for businesses,” Lebanon Mayor Philip Craighead said in April. “We’ve had about three different hotels talking about building here. We have a room shortage in Lebanon. Some hotels are staying right at 95 percent occupied. On the weekends and during the week, they’re full.”

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