Lane Construction Corp. crews, which completed a $56.5-million widening of Interstate 40 near Mt. Juliet, Tenn., in 2014, are back at the site, repairing the highway and adding drainage after repeated hydroplane-related wrecks.
Alerted by local police and the Tennessee Highway Patrol of the increase in wrecks, the Tennessee Dept. of Transportation reviewed the plans and construction of the design-build job and found the "design does not have enough drainage structures and the roadway was built too flat to direct stormwater runoff," says Heather Jensen, TDOT spokeswoman.
The Lane crews are adding two 12-in.-wide, 100-ft-long trench drains to improve water collection in the problem area, near mile marker 226 in Wilson County, she said.
"There are currently catch basins along the median" in the problem area, she said.
About 1,900 linear ft of the inside lanes are being milled and paved to alter the roadway's cross-shape. "These changes will provide more positive drainage from the inside lanes to the median," she said.
The initial job widened a 6.5-mile interstate segment to eight 12-ft travel lanes from four, with a 12-ft paved inside shoulder and a 10-ft paved outside shoulder.
The outside lanes, Jensen added, "drain to the shoulder of the road, away from the median, as designed." Repairs started on Oct. 2, but a completion date hasn't been set. "Crews will continue to work until the job is done," Jensen said.
Asked about costs of the repairs, Jensen said Lane "is working with subcontractors to determine overall costs. TDOT believes Lane Construction is responsible for the work" and hasn't billed TDOT.
In early August, after the TDOT review, Jensen said TDOT and Lane Construction were working "to resolve the issue in a timely manner and to avoid legal action." Both sides started meeting at that time to find a solution to the problem.
TDOT and Lane "are still in discussions" about the cause of the hydroplaning, and the investigation about the source of the problems is ongoing, said Lauralee Heckman, spokeswoman for Lane. The repair cost is still unknown, she said.