Public input wanted on Bonny Oaks Drive expansion - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Public input wanted on Bonny Oaks Drive expansion

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There could be some much needed relief coming for one busy Chattanooga roadway used by thousands of commuters every day. TDOT is entering a new phase of taking public input as it looks to expand Bonny Oaks Drive from two lanes to five.

"I know it definitely needs it and we have for some time," says driver Frances Reynolds.

Drivers like Reynolds say they will gladly endure the construction if it results in a smoother commute along Bonny Oaks Drive.
"It would help certainly. We get a lot of traffic out this way."

"I go up to Decatur, Athens area up 58 and it's a good way to cut through," says driver Patrick Daly.

TDOT is looking to expand a four mile stretch of Bonny Oaks.

"The expansion would be good. I don't know anything about the economics of it or how much traffic's going on and all that stuff. But yeah it would be good to have, definitely. It'd speed things along," says Daly.

Depending on the time of day, as many as 16,000 cars use parts of the roadway.

"We are going to be discussing the area of Bonny Oaks that goes from State Route 17, which is near Hillcrest school, all the way out to I-75," says Jennifer Flynn with TDOT.

The project would add  two east and westbound lanes and a turning lane, like the small section of roadway just before Highway 153.
"There will also be sidewalks and a 10 foot multi-use path that will be all along the route," says Flynn.

The plans have been in the works long before Volkswagen or Amazon came to town.
"It was in the works before then. When we do plan a project at TDOT it takes several years to get from the drawing board to reality," says Flynn.

Flynn says it is a long time coming.

"It's critical to have a good transportation system," she says.

She says the project is much-needed for any future development.

"When developers come in, when people look to relocate their businesses and large companies, that is one of the first things that they look at is the transportation system," says Flynn.

Tennessee is pay-as-you-go when it comes to road projects. In this case about $25 million would be needed for right-of-way acquisition and about $23 million for construction. That funding is not secured yet.

The public input meeting will be held from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m, Thursday the 21st at TDOT's headquarters at 4005 Cromwell Road.

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