Staff Photo by Jake Daniels/Chattanooga Times Free Press Motorists travel down the center of Dayton Boulevard in a section that has been reduced to two lanes of traffic due to construction.
Driving through Red Bank's busiest thoroughfare can feel like dodging linebackers, but officials believe today's orange-barrel blitz will become tomorrow's urban touchdown.
"Here's your quote of the day: 'Temporary traffic congestion is just a sign of progress,'" Red Bank City Manager Chris Dorsey said.
By March, Dayton Boulevard will have sidewalks lining most of its length, four sets of energy-efficient traffic signals, ornamental lighting and several segments of resurfaced road. It's all thanks to $1.6 million funneled by the federal government -- part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
But some Dayton Boulevard business owners aren't happy after watching motorists decide against acrobatic left turns toward their shops in the construction zones.
Daryl Reeves, a worker at Buddy Ratley Signs, spent a recent lunch hour inhaling a cigarette and mourning a once-busy road.
"It's the traffic cameras, mostly ... even the Krystal closed," Reeves said. "But once this construction started, the roads were blocked off and we could tell a big difference [in business]. It may be a good thing in the end, though."
Dorsey said the end result will be good for everyone, including business owners.
"This whole thing will help Dayton Boulevard, make it more pedestrian-friendly," Dorsey said. "People need to be patient."
Winston Cronin, the head barber of Casual Cuts, supported the resurfacing because he knew a few people who walked the street every day, but he said he routinely repositioned toppled barrels in November so customers had a clear route to a quick trim.
"It really got slow for about a week. On certain days I could have went on home," Cronin said. "I almost went out there myself and moved some barrels. I didn't do it, but I wanted to."
Red Bank spent about $89,000 of its State Street Aid allotment -- funds from Tennessee's gasoline tax -- for preliminary engineering costs on the projects, and "a small amount of taxpayer money" eventually will be used for signs and crosswalks, Dorsey said.
For the next few months, the city's a mess. Normally, Dayton Boulevard is a straight shot either way, but it's been an obstacle course of one-lane challenges since work began in early November.
"Some progress takes time," Dorsey said.
Contractors are finishing a decade-long project -- brightening Dayton Boulevard's north end with 32 green light posts.
"Don't describe it as decorative; it's not just for Christmas," City Manager Chris Dorsey said.
A nearly uninterrupted sidewalk -- some new sections, some "rehabilitated" -- will stretch from Browntown Road to Signal Mountain Road. It is now compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
"I've seen wheelchairs have to go around to the next driveway to get back on a sidewalk," Dorsey said. "Had to make some curb cuts."
Four Dayton Boulevard intersections -- at Browntown Road, Leawood Road, Martin Road and Newberry Road -- will receive energy-efficient bulbs and "mast arms" that will cancel the clutter.
"No more wires," Dorsey said.
Crews are repaving parts of Lupton Drive and one mile of Dayton Boulevard from Memorial Drive to Signal Mountain Road.
Total stimulus funding: $1,616,000