By Judy Walton, Chattanooga Times Free Press - bio | email
Graphic by Laura McNutt/Times Free Press
CHATTANOOGA, TN (Times Free Press) -- Public hearings on highway plans often don't draw many more people than it takes to flip charts or run the projector.
But it was standing room only when state transportation officials on Wednesday outlined early plans to rebuild the overcrowded, dangerous Interstate 75-24 split.
And questions came thick and fast -- many from East Ridge officials -- after Steve Allen with the Tennessee Department of Transportation finished describing plans to build new lanes and bridges and redesign the entry and exit from the Tennessee Welcome Center just beyond the Ringgold Road cloverleaf.
State planners started with seven designs. Their preferred alternative, Allen said, is a $61 million plan that involves widening and flattening the north- and westbound lanes at the split and adding more lanes in each direction.