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I-75 detour congestion eases in La Follette

11:38 PM, May 13, 2012   |    comments
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After days of heavy congestion along the I-75 detour route through La Follette, locals say Saturday brought some relief.

Transportation officials are trying to ease the strain on local communities affected by the landslide in Campbell County by diverting wide load traffic.

Southbound cars are asked to use Highway 25W from from Jellico to Caryville.

Tennessee and Kentucky transportation officials are asking wide loads heading south to take exit 62 in Mount Vernon, Kentucky.

From there the detour follows several highways, on to Highway 27 and State Road 63 through Scott County.

La Follette Shell employee Rebecca Nelson says Saturday brought some relief for frustrated locals.

"Locals are fussing. They don't like waiting in this traffic just to go on a couple of errands," Nelson said.

She says traffic moved steadily Saturday, a stark contrast to the heavy congestion and bumper-to-bumper landscape of the week before.

Nelson says she thinks some drivers are just avoiding the area all together. But she did notice fewer trucks on the road Saturday and credits that with clearer roads.


"A car would go a lot faster than a truck on that road," Nelson said.

Along the wide load detour route in Oneida, Dustin Kennedy keeps an eye on Highway 27 from his County's Barbeque truck.


"I haven't noticed an increase in truck traffic of anything like that," Kennedy said.


But if the scent of smoking meat were to waft toward a few more drivers, he says he wouldn't complain.

"Hopefully it will increase business, and the local economy for the county," Kennedy said.

Perks of a rocky situation that Nelson says they're already realizing.


"People just keep coming in, and if you are driving on this side of the road, you're not going to want to cross," explains Nelson.


On Thursday TDOT announced it will be at least another week and a half before 75 South reopens past Jellico.


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