In 2019, the Blount County Commission informed the Town of Highland Lake that it would no longer maintain the town’s 15 miles of road. Since that time, the town established a five-year road maintenance plan with one phase of that plan starting in October 2020.
Former mayor Gail Bailey chairs the Highland Lake road committee and provided an update to the council last month on the progress of repairs. She also discussed the committee’s proposed projects for the remainder of the 2020-2021 fiscal year.
A major component of the town’s plan was the resurfacing of all roads that feed into Lakeshore Drive. Work began last October and Bailey reported that the roads remaining to be resurfaced are Lakeshore Circle, Sunset Boulevard, West Sunset Boulevard, East Sunset Boulevard, Sunset Strip, and Sunset Point.
The estimated cost for the 2.49 miles to be resurfaced is $63,689 and the town hopes to have these roads resurfaced in late March or early April. “This project is to get the feeder roads resurfaced before Lakeshore Drive is reclaimed,” Bailey explained.
In addition to the resurfacing, the town is faced with the cost of additional supplies such as replacement of posts along those streets as well as signs and reflectors. The council recently agreed to the purchase of a Titan post hole digger ($769.99) for the purpose of placing the 100 sixfoot posts that have to be set. Each post costs $9.80 for a total of $980. The town will also have to purchase 150 reflectors at a cost of $1.10 each for a total of $165. That brings the total estimated cost for the road resurfacing project to $65,603.
Another project the town is faced with involves replacement of a culvert by The Anchor. Bailey said the current pipe is old and deteriorating which is causing sink holes. The county will replace a portion of the culvert while the town is responsible for the 150- foot section that runs from the road to the lake.
“The road committee recommends we take the pipe to at least where the ditch is currently,” Bailey reported the council. “This would be away from the area where anyone would step into a ditch during a function at The Anchor. By lining the ditch with large rock the rest of the way to the lake, we will slow down the water flow, as well as filter out some of the sand before it gets to the lake.”
It will cost the town approximately $24,000 to fix the 150-foot section of culvert for which it is responsible. Bailey said that project is slated to begin in late summer or early fall.
“We will spend approximately $90,000 on roads this year, and we spent approximately $70,000 last year.” Roads resurfaced last year are Lakeshore Lane, Bear Creek Circle, Vista Drive, Hope Drive and Sky View.
The town is also faced with a major project along Lakeshore Drive. “The section of road we have to reclaim is Lakeshore Drive from Brasher Creek to River Road,” Bailey explained. “The road bed is failing in this area and needs to be plowed and resurfaced. The cost for this project will be approximately $200,000, but until we get an actual bid, we will not know.”
Currently, this project is scheduled for late 2022 or early 2023. “We are trying to see if we qualify for any grant money to help with this project,” she said.