published Saturday, November 3rd, 2012

Chattanooga's Manning Street ramp to U.S. 27 to close permanently


by Cliff Hightower
The entrance to U.S. Highway 27 northbound from Manning Street will be shut down permanently for construction.
The entrance to U.S. Highway 27 northbound from Manning Street will be shut down permanently for construction.
Photo by Jake Daniels.

North Chattanooga is losing an entry onto northbound U.S. Highway 27.

The Manning Street ramp onto U.S. 27 will close permanently Monday as the Tennessee Department of Transportation continues to widen and improve the busy highway from downtown Chattanooga to the northern suburbs.

The $102 million project is adding lanes and rebuilding bridges and interchanges between Signal Mountain Road and the Olgiati Bridge.

Jeff Blevins, assistant regional construction engineer for TDOT, said the Manning Street and Manufacturers Road exits are too close to each other under federal highway construction guidelines.

The solution, he said, is to shut down the Manning ramp and widen and improve the Manufacturers Road interchange.

The southbound Manning exit from U.S. 27 was closed at the start of construction earlier this year.

The southbound U.S. 27 exit to Manufacturers Road remains open for now. The northbound on-ramp is closed until around spring 2013 while contractors put in retaining walls, a news release said.

Blevins said TDOT held public meetings about the project and got community feedback.

Closing the Manning Street ramps will funnel more traffic to Manufacturers Road, he said. But the improvements there should prevent problems, he said.

“They should be able to handle the additional traffic,” he said.

But residents who live close to the old Manning Street ramp have other concerns.

“It’s annoying,” said Manning Street resident Lea Brainerd, who called the ramp closure a hindrance.

“I don’t see why they’re closing it,” she said.

Loren Clopton and his family have owned a house on Manning Street for 60 years.

“We’ve gone through several changes,” he said. “This will probably hurt us the most.”

He said he thinks property values will probably go down and it could hurt potential development in the area.

“Nobody wants to develop that when you can’t get on and off,” he said.

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