What’s behind those weeds? It’s Chattanooga!

UPDATE: August 19, 7:25 p.m.

Thanks to Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke, Molly Cooper of the Mayor’s staff, City Council Dist. 7 representative Chris Anderson, and TDOT for reading my blog and starting the clean-up process along Highway 27.  Progress is being made, as you can see here:

Tuesday August 19, 7:00 p.m.

Tuesday August 19, 7:00 p.m.


ORIGINAL STORY: August 15:  For the past several weeks (since June) I’ve tweeted regularly about the jungle-like conditions in the Highway 27 median in downtown Chattanooga.  I’ve called the Tennessee Department of Transportation, more than once.  As you can see, I have zero clout.  Maybe you can help.  Here’s another non-scenic view:

Time to bale the hay

Time to bale the hay

I’m told by various sources that TDOT uses contractors to maintain the growth along our highways.  I’ve even read stories that when contractors get behind in their work, they are forced to pay fines.  On this Friday afternoon, I’m unable to find out much more than that.  I’ve been told that contractors are usually scheduled to cut the weeds a few times a year, but for whatever reason, it isn’t happening now.  We’re still in tourist season, and this is what our visitors see:

Who needs a steel median when you have this?

Who needs a steel median when you have this?

I’m frankly surprised that our city fathers (and mothers) haven’t been screaming at the top of their lungs.  Is this the first impression we want to present to those who enter “The Scenic City of the South?”  Yes, we’ve had a lot of rain.  But if I maintained my yard like the state maintains its greenery, I’d be cited to court.  And I would deserve it.  I have more photos, but you’ve seen enough.  Am I the only one disgusted by this negligence, or would you like to join me?

About David Carroll

David Carroll is a longtime Chattanooga radio and TV broadcaster, and has anchored the evening news on WRCB-TV since 1987. He is the author of "Chattanooga Radio & Television" published by Arcadia.

11 thoughts on “What’s behind those weeds? It’s Chattanooga!

  1. Paul Ruhling

    Thanks David!
    I agree it is a total embarrassment and blight on our beautiful city. I live on the south side of downtown, Market and Main area. I work at Calvin Donaldson as a 5th grade teacher and this summer I almost took it upon myself to begin a project on the on-ramps/off-ramps at I-24 and Market and Broad. those interchanges are are simply unacceptable. This is the first thing people see as they get off the interstate visiting from ________________. ALL of the trees need to be trimmed up to a height of 8-10 feet. We still have Bradford pears that came down in the tornados of 2010… still fallen over, broken limbs and nobody has cleaned it up. I’ve lived in a lot/visited a lot of towns in the U.S and it seems we just don’t get it. First impressions do make a difference. I would be interested in serving on a recommendations committee or watch group for Chattanooga to keep high traffic areas (other than downtown) regularly serviced. We can do better than this… I have an eye for this (it is a curse at times… grew up in Orlando, Fl and trained in landscaping and tree trimming). Sometimes I can’t help myself- there is a grove of trees, a double row of Elms that make up a little park across from Niko’s and also a row of mixed trees that i tackled this summer. It took about 7 hours total but absolutely looks pro now. Not sure what city works thought about the 3 very large piles of limbs, but they picked them up and probably appreciated it. The sad thing is this; with trees, one trim job and you can make an almost permanent impact for the life of the tree. Many times not having to trim again for years.
    Anyways, your piece resonated with me. BTW, we met long ago when I was beginning high school. I was part of a cross country bike trip to promote healthy, drug-free living… I think it was 1986, summer of.


    Paul Ruhling

  2. tom Freeland

    David, I wish you would start a newspaper! It can be electronic, but we very badly need an adversarial voice in our community, and the “go-along”press we now have will never fix anything. It could be an e-newspaper, but the current radio, tv, etc. never ever stir the pot, and pots need stirring! Case in point:EPB and the LED lights. That stunk!! People lost their jobs, EPB lied sbout maintenance (of course, they’d lose revenue), a company was ruined, and nobody sniffs it out! Appalling. Hang in there.

    1. David Carroll Post author

      Thanks Tom, I really appreciate that. Please share this story (and any other ones on my site that you like). Maybe if enough people see it, something will get done! David

  3. Connie Brooks

    I agree completely. I think it is a driving hazard as well! When driving in , you cannot see what is ahead in the curves. If traffic is stopped, or something is in the road around the corner, it is entirely blocked from the driver’s view. That’s how high the weeds are!

  4. Greg Lusk


    I’m curious to know what you were told by TDOT. Did you actually get to talk to a real person, or were directed to a “complaint line” where you could leave a message?


    david i appreciaiate you sharing stories like this, it seems like your the only one that cares nobody else seems to.

  6. Joe Morgan

    Uncle David!

    You are so correct. I travel all over the world and you ALWAYS judge a town or a country based upon how they maintain their streets / common public areas.

    I realize it cost money for the City to maintain the streets, but that is part of why we pay taxes, regardless or WHERE we live.

    I applaud your efforts to call attention to what can be a very damaging impression for any new comer, visitor, or possibly a team that is looking to relocate their company in the Scenic City.

    Highest Regards, Your (Very) OLD Pal,



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