Haslam hitting road for ceremonial Improve Act signing in Chattanooga
The first stop for Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam is Chattanooga, where he signed the ‘IMPROVE Act’.
It’s an initiative which brings $90-million of road improvements to the split.
Haslam says it’ll enhance public safety and help employers bring more jobs to the Chattanooga area.
Tennessee Department of Transportation says about 130,000 cars pass through the split everyday.
They anticipate 20% more cars on the road, over the next 20 years, which comparably is a little bit higher than average.
TDOT Deputy Commissioner Paul Degges says, “basically, it’s an old design it was built when the original interstate was built.”
Degges says the I-24 – I-75 split is one of the main sites for tractor trailers jackknifing on the interstate.
In the past, it has caused traffic jams impacting drivers and businesses all over the country.
Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam tells us, “this is one of, if not the busiest interchanges in the country; the I-75 and I-24 coming together. The quicker it gets improved, the more traffic will flow through here… and that will help there. Second, we’re actually cutting taxes for manufacturers. People like McKee Foods, Volkswagen and others. That’ll encourage them to add more jobs here instead of some other place.”
He says the state works to keep jobs local.
“We’ve become a real home for manufacturers and nobody knows that like southeast Tennessee with all the manufacturers that you have here. We’d like to be known in Tennessee as a state that makes things. People think where everything now is made in Latin America or Asia, but it’s just not true.”
Plan improvements include widening the exit one on-ramp.
I-75 North will also be expanded and the highway will relocate behind the Tennessee Welcome Center.
Flyover ramps and additional lanes will lower commute time and ease congestion.
“Roads by themselves don’t create jobs, but without a good transportation network, it’s very hard to recruit transportation investment in the state,” Degges explains.
Initial planning may take a few years and is set to begin next year.
This initiative help addresses $900-million in backlog of much needed road improvements across the state.
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