Community members asking for help fixing Roane County road

In disrepair, Airport Road in Roane County is closed, creating a travel nightmare for the hundreds relying on it for access to Rockwood.
A stretch of road in Roane County has been closed for months and now a community is working to get it back in driveable order.
Published: Jun. 30, 2022 at 11:26 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 1, 2022 at 4:19 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ROCKWOOD, Tenn. (WVLT) - A Roane County community asked elected officials to step in and help repair a stretch of road after months of disrepair.

Airport Rd. leads from Rockwood to the top of the mountain on the north side of Interstate 40 and makes life easier for the people who live near it.

”This is their only means of getting down to town safely,” said Diane who didn’t want to give her last name, but lives less than one mile from where Airport Rd. leads down the mountain.

For the past three months, a nearly two-mile stretch of Airport Rd. was barricaded off to travelers looking to go to Rockwood.

The route provided a nearly less than a 10-minute drive to town, but with it closed, it increased the trip time tremendously.

”It takes me almost three times mileage-wise,” Diane said.

Diane said she lives off of a fixed income and has been a widow of 17 years. This road closure forced her to calculate by the mileage and day when she makes her trips to Rockwood.

”Well forget it if I run out of something, can I wait, can I wait another two weeks until I can get everything together,” said Diane.

From the top of the plateau, Crossville and Harriman are options too, but those drives are 30 to 45 minutes away respectively, an amount of time to scoff at when Airport Rd. is open and a seven-minute drive is an option.

”I’m afraid, I’m scared for our children, for our disabled veterans with Rockwood one mile away as the crow flies,” said Kenny Allred a leader of the community effort to fix Airport Rd.

Allred and Diane feel their community has been left in the dark and forgotten about.

”It doesn’t seem like anyone wants to help us, we need somebody to help us get our road fixed,” said Diane.

Hosting a community meeting one week ago, hundreds came out hoping to voice their displeasure at how the road has remained unfixed for months.

Candidates across Cumberland, Morgan and Roane Counties all voiced their support of the community effort but still lacked a plan to get the road fixed.

”Let’s get some money for it, it’s not much for them, but it’s a lot for the people up here,” said Allred.

Allred hoped the county can request a grant, or get in on parts of President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better Plan to address infrastructure and repair the road that serves a community in need.

Airport Rd. is a county road and under the jurisdiction of the Roane County Road Department.

WVLT News reached out to the office of Roane County Road Superintendent Dennis Ferguson for comment but did not hear back.

Copyright 2022 WVLT. All rights reserved.