Gap Creek Road (State Route 362)
Carter County, Tennessee
The original Gap Creek Road — also known as Highway 362 — was a narrow and curvy roadway that ran through Carter County in East Tennessee and into the Cherokee National Forest. Used by many as a bypass around heavier traffic areas, the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) noticed an up kick in traffic flow and, unfortunately, accidents in recent years. As the original roadway raised safety concerns with local and state officials, they began planning for an improved route and SSR was contracted to provide construction engineering inspection services for the nearly $44 million dollar project.
Construction began on a new route in February 2012 with the existing road to remain in operation during construction. The new route included small sections of improvements to the existing road (including a one mile section that was closed for approximately one year to allow for the construction of 15 retaining walls and relocated utilities), but mostly followed a new route that encroached on some sensitive environmental areas. Additionally, the entire new road way is located in a mountainous area with steep drops making the safety of the workers a priority to the team and presented unique construction challenges. SSR was able to overcome these challenges due to our highly trained personnel with extensive experience in material testing and various construction methods.
Concerned with the environmental impact of construction, our team relied on the use of environmental inspection services for the construction of stream mitigation in environmental sensitive areas. In areas of rigid right-of-way requirements, SSR utilized excess fill materials and retaining walls. The use of fill materials in certain areas resulted in the transformation of land into viable commercial properties as well as easier access to private driveways along the route.
The new Gap Creek Road opened in August 2015 and has been well received by the local community who are grateful for an improved and safer roadway.