TDOT Study of I-24

Reported by: Bill Mitchell

Edited by: Bill Mitchell
Contributor: Harrison Pirtle
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Updated: 9/23/2013 6:45 pm
The Tennessee Department of Transportation is studying possible improvements to I-24.
T-DOT will hold public meetings along the 185 mile-long corridor from the Kentucky line to Chattanooga.
They're looking for answers as to what can be done with a road that's known for extensive delays after wrecks, and one that includes the dreaded Ridge Cut.
This is a familiar sight on I-24.
An 18 wheeler couldn't handle the westbound Ridge Cut on Saturday.
It hit a wall and hundreds of motorists were stuck for about 2 hours.
That's probably happened to you a few times.
I-24 is an old Roadway---built in the 60's.

JENNIFER FLYNN, TDOT "Well,we are looking at targeted improvements that we can make along the corridor that are realistic..you know..such as adding a truck climbing lane at a location that might help alleviate congestion."

The state legislature is keeping an eye on I-24 and dealing with the biggest ---If you will, "roadblock".

REP. VINCE DEAN, CHAIRMAN, HOUSE TRANSPORTATION COMMITTEE "Well, the biggest issue right now is funding. As you know the state of Tennessee is a pay as you go state..we don't borrow money to build roads or widen roads, we pay as we go."

There's little likelihood that the state can add another lane on most of the 185-mile freeway.
But City Russell Bean, who hears hundreds of cases involving I-24 mishaps, thinks the major traffic snag in Chattanooga is merging State road 27 with trucks headed eastbound I-24 toward the Ridge Cut.

JUDGE RUSSELL BEAN, CHATTANOOGA CITY COURT "I think hopefully they are going to change it to where I-24 is going to come in on the right and I-27 come in on the left..then you'll have a better flow."

I-24 is one of the nation's busiest corridors for freight movement.
Literally thousands of trucks move through Chattanooga daily.
It doesn't take much to create problems like the one Saturday in the Ridge Cut.
Rep. Dean would like to see another lane built there.

Rep. Vince Dean "Anything we do will be quite expensive."

The final decisions may rest with citizens who will get their chance to talk in October.
The T-DOT Chattanooga meeting happens October 17th at the downtown Public Library.


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