Dayton's municipal leaders saw a need to eliminate the heavy traffic flow through downtown.
A downtown traffic bottleneck in this historic Rhea County seat was to be eliminated in the summer of 1960 when the completion of the new Hwy 27 Bypass was expected to be finished.
Late summer rains slowed the progress on the million-dollar project. The new four lane bypass was to be 3.4 miles in length and would run some 200 yards southwest of the business district. The project designed would call for two intersections. These being the Hwy 30 and Hwy 60 intersections. Three bridges and four box culverts to span the creeks were planned along the route.
The largest bridge would be 629 feet long between Richland Creek and Hwy 60 taking the bypass over a section that often overflowed by the creek.
A total of 32 houses and buildings were moved along with utility lines to make way for the new bypass. Great earth moving machines were used to lift thousands of cubic feet of soil, leveling several hills on the right-of-way to provide extensive fills needed in the project.
Crews worked 12-hour days when weather permitted to meet their 300-day project completion goal. General Contractor of the project was M.C. West & Company of Columbia, Tennessee.
The present route U.S. Route 27 in 1960 was through Dayton along Market Street. Assistance in securing rights-of-way was furnished by the City of Dayton with Attorney Hugh Gallagher in charge of this phase.
Since its completion, Hwy 27 bypass has seen some modifications. These being installing and widening of intersections, bridge replacements, as well as both the north and southern crossovers into town totally redesigned.
In the late 90’s construction began on the new State Highway 60 connection between U.S. Highway 27 and the Five Points community, which would eventually cross the new bridge over the Tennessee River near Blythes Ferry. During this construction the south Dayton Business crossover was eliminated with the creation of a new intersection at Hwy 27 & Hiwassee Hwy.
In 2017, the north Dayton business crossover was totally redesigned into a new four-way intersection.
Probably the most annoying modification made over the years was the installation of traffic lights along this stretch of Hwy. Today there are 15 traffic lights on Hwy 27 between the north and the south city boundaries.
Will the day come when we see a need for a bypass to bypass the Bypass?
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