The biggest road project in the Chattanooga area since construction of the interstate highways more than four decades ago has emerged from the region's long-range planning effort.

Planners are eyeing a perimeter highway that could loop around Chattanooga, easing bottlenecks in the city, helping area commuters and better connecting cities such as Dalton and LaFayette in Georgia with Cleveland and Dayton in Tennessee.

"I think it's a good idea," said Gary Farlow, the Cleveland/Bradley County Chamber of Commerce's chief executive. "We've felt like there needed to be a route around Chattanooga."

While just a concept at this time, the loop is seen as improving east-west connectivity while opening new parts of the region for economic development.

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