Haslam: Multi-billion dollar backlog of road projects in TN
By WRCB Staff
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Tennessee Department of Transportation Commissioner John Schroer met Wednesday with local and state officials in Chattanooga to discuss the region’s transportation and infrastructure needs.
One of the projects that will get the attention of Chattanooga motorists is the $70 million project to improve the I-75/I-24, know by locals as “the split.”
The meeting touched on the capacity of the roadways in the Tennessee Valley, and the economic impact that the infrastructure needs have on the surrounding communities.
“The quality of Tennessee’s transportation and infrastructure system always ranks at or near the top when compared to the rest of the country,” Haslam said. “We have no transportation debt, and we do a great job maintaining our roads, but we know we have challenges on the horizon. We know that we can’t depend on the federal government to be the funding partner that it once was. We also know that as our infrastructure ages, maintenance becomes more important and more expensive. And we know that maintaining our roads is only part of the equation. Right now we have a multi-billion dollar backlog of highway projects across this state that address key access, safety and economic development issues, and that’s only going to grow.”
Tennessee’s transportation system includes 95,000 miles of roads, 1,100 miles of interstates, 19,000 bridges, 28 transit systems in 95 counties, 79 general aviation airports, 949 miles of waterways and more than 3,000 miles of railroads.
A 2015 Tennessee Comptroller’s report on transportation funding states that revenues in Tennessee are not expected to be sufficient to maintain current infrastructure.
TDOT officials discussed the cost of several projects in the region:
In Chattanooga, the interchange modification project on I-75 at I-24 is in the environmental phase. Known locally as “the split,” this area carries an average daily traffic volume of over 124,000 vehicles per day. The estimated cost of completion is $70 million.
Also in Chattanooga, the interchange modification on I-24 at SR-2 (Broad Street) and SR-58 (Market Street) is in development. This project would upgrade ramps and improve access from I-24 to the south side of Chattanooga. The estimated cost of completion is $37 million.
SR-317 (Apison Pike) in the Collegedale area of Hamilton County has two widening projects planned from SR-321 (Ooltewah-Ringgold Road) to East Brainerd Road. These projects total over four miles in length and would connect with the widening project currently under construction and complete improvements to the SR-317 corridor between I-75 and East Brainerd Road. The estimated cost of completion is $36.1 million.
The widening of SR-317 (Bonny Oaks Drive) from SR-17 to I-75 in Chattanooga is another project in the works. The road is in the vicinity of the Enterprise South Industrial Park where the Volkswagen and Amazon facilities are located. The 4.8-mile project is in the environmental phase. The estimated cost of completion is $63.1 million.
In Rhea County, an 8-mile section of SR-30 from US-27/SR-29 to the Tennessee River Bridge is undergoing environmental studies. This road is a critical corridor in the region and has numerous safety issues. It is also a controlled evacuation route for TVA’s Watts Bar Nuclear Plant in the event of an emergency. The estimated cost of completion is $70.1 million.