Major redesign considered at I-75/24 split
CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) - Major changes could be ahead for Chattanooga's interstate system. TDOT is eyeing a multi-million dollar redesign of 75-24 split in hopes of increasing safety and cutting down on traffic delays.
Frequent accidents and backups mixed with a lack of exits, are all part of the problem. TDOT studied the entire I-75 corridor from Georgia to Kentucky and Chattanooga's 75-24 split is on the priority list.
You see it all the time at the 75-24 split. Like Monday afternoon and again in the evening, one car wrecks, slides or stalls and backs traffic up for miles.
"I've always thought they should do something," truck driver, Randy Dunn says.
Dunn says he's witnessed countless crashes here, many involving big-rigs like his, and says he knows first hand why.
"Your front end pushes and causes jack-knifing and you really have to slow down, really slow down, and bring your speed down under the posted speed limit because you can't do it with a truck," Dunn says.
The Federal Highway Administration shows the interchange as the second worst bottleneck spot in Tennessee on its map of urban truck corridors.
"It's a very crucial interchange and it's at the junction of two major interstates and it's definitely used by a lot of trucks," TDOT Region II spokesperson, Jennifer Flynn says.
TDOT says it gets frequent calls from truck and car drivers, complaining that it's dangerous and too congested.
"It's usually backed up, and then it will be normal before and then after. But right at the split is where everything messes up," driver Courtney Pagleno says.
"It makes us late on a lot of jobs, the backup and everything, with that curving," driver, Hursher Thurman says.
"We've remarked it, we've added new signage, we've done what we can for now without a total revamp of the thing," Flynn says.
But now they say, a total revamp might actually happen. State project planners are coming down from Nashville to present findings from their study and ideas to fix it.
The local TDOT office suspects they'll want to add lanes, flatten curves and possibly create more exits.
"We too are concerned with it and want to make sure that it goes forward and things are improved out there," Flynn says.
Several drivers we talked to say they hope plans move forward too for long-term results, but already dread the thought of road construction adding to the congestion in the short-term.
The state project planners will reveal their design for a massive rebuild of the split Wednesday to stockholders.
The local TDOT office says it's in the dark right now over specifics, including a proposed timeline.