Thunder Road Revisited

I'm writing to try to set the record straight regarding the much maligned Blalock Construction crew working on the Kingston Pike bridge project in Bearden. Although my development, Highlands Row, on Forest Park Boulevard, has been put on a seemingly endless holding pattern without meaningful road access, I don't blame Blalock for the shortcomings of this project. Their crew was working under the lights last night at 7:30, and I have observed them working in the rain several times recently.

Blalock has had to deal with three labyrinthine bureaucracies: TDOT, Norfolk Southern Railroad, and KUB. The first only saw the wisdom in building a major retaining wall (suggested at the outset) about a year into the project. The second wields unchallengeable 19th-century right-of-way authority, resulting in almost unbelievable stoppage intervals before and after freight runs. And the third only acknowledged the need to upgrade and move a major sewer main after the project was well under way.

All levels of Blalock personnel have consistently been accessible and cooperative within the limitations of a major public project, and I for one certainly appreciate their efforts to mitigate the sacrifices of Highlands Row and the Grill.

Tom Weiss

Knoxville