TDOT media representative speaks to Cleveland Media Association
by JOYANNA WEBER, Banner Staff Writer
Mar 03, 2013 | 800 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jennifer Flynn, Tennessee Department of Transportation community relations office, was the guest speaker at the Friday meeting of the Cleveland Media Association.

Flynn covers TDOT community relations for Region 2, which is made up of 24 counties.

The next few years will see many TDOT projects come to Bradley County, she said. The largest will be the renovation of Exit 20.

“That intersection is just not functioning well at all,” Flynn said.

An estimated completion date for the project is in September 2015.

Flynn said TDOT projects are done in phases to ensure funding to complete that phase of the project.

Engineering and design is the first phase of a project, then land acquisition and actual construction.

She said the current Dalton Pike projects are reaching completion. However, warmer weather is needed to finish the work.

TDOT also works closely with local school systems to coordinate school entrances and traffic patterns in and around the schools.

CMA member Dan Howell asked about the progress of a proposed toll bridge over the Tennessee River in Hamilton County.

“It’s one of the few polling projects that still has legs,” Flynn said. “It has gone through a lot of study. They don’t have an exact location yet. But they are working on those options.”

Public meetings are being planned on the issue, Flynn said.

CMA member Aaron Weatherford asked about talk of a highway exit to be built on Harrison Pike.

Flynn said there are restrictions on how close rurals exits could be to another exit. While this was possibility discussed in the past, it is not something being worked on. Flynn said urban highway interchanges can be closer together.

TDOT also uses social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter to keep the public informed.

A new phone application the department launched in December also provides real-time traffic updates.

Her very first interview was with Nashville and Chattanooga media in the middle of Interstate 24, she said.

Flynn said the highway had been shut down because of a rock slide and she was interviewed about TDOT’s work on the site.

Another series of interviews that stands out to her is when a Canadian film crew came to the area to do a piece about the fog zone.

Flynn said they wanted to study the low visibility warning system used in Tennessee because there had been a major fog-related accident, similar to the one in this area in 1990.

She said many of her interviews are about weather or nature-related issues.