Scott Medlin told Rotary Club of Cleveland members he used to commute to Chattanooga via the 41-year-old interchange that cannot meet current traffic volumes. The existing interchange is functioning at a Level of Service “F.”
“It’s bad,” he said. “We know it’s bad.”
Intersection ramp signals were installed in 2008 as a safety measure. An Interchange Modification Study prepared in 2009 confirmed the need for improvements to meet future traffic capacity demands. The study was approved by the Federal Highway Administration in February 2010.
Exit 20 is currently in the design phase. The Tennessee General Assembly has funded this project for engineering. Funding is proposed for right of way in fiscal year 2012 and for construction in fiscal year 2013. The estimated cost of the project is $12.1 million.
The modified interchange will include a six-lane overpass bridge to accommodate two eastbound and westbound through lanes, two westbound left turn lanes, and one eastbound left turn lane. There will be two northbound left turn lanes at the I-75 northbound interchange off ramp and two southbound left turn lanes at the I-75 southbound interchange off ramp.
He said in an effort to minimize inconvenience to motorists, the plan is to build an overpass south of the existing bridge. Once it becomes functional, then the existing bridge would be demolished and rebuilt over a two-year period.
Less than a mile east from Exit 20 on APD 40, Medlin is managing construction of a $12.7 million interchange designed to open the southeast quadrant of APD 40 and I-75 for development.
An Interchange Justification Study completed in 2009 supported the need of a new interchange on APD 40 between the interstate and South Lee Highway. The environmental review started in September 2009.
The proposed diamond-type interchange is approximately 0.6 miles east of Exit 20 and 0.9 miles west of South Lee Highway. Auxiliary lanes will be added along existing APD 40 to connect the two adjoining interchanges.
The project is currently in the environmental phase. The General Assembly has funded the engineering, right of way and construction phases for the new interchange.
Medlin said the new interchange would provide access for commercial and industrial development access that has been desired by local officials for several years. Access to property adjacent to the interstate and APD 40 is fully controlled with no driveways. The only way to gain access is through the new interchange that is “as close to the center between Volkswagen and Wacker Chemie as possible.”
TDOT is building the interchange. It is up to local government and private developers to build the road from Stone Lake toward Harriman Road that would open up about 350 acres for development as an industrial park for supplier industries supporting the new Volkswagen plant in Hamilton County, Wacker Chemie and other facilities. About 200 additional acres would be accessible for commercial development.
He said widening of Dalton Pike is about 40 percent complete. The $14 million project is scheduled for completion in June 2012.
n Georgetown Road from I-75 to Eureka Road is in the environmental phase. Right of way or construction phases have not been funded.7