According to state Rep. Kevin Brooks, House Transportation Committee Chair Rep. Phillip Johnson, R-Pegram, helped usher the plan through the road-building budget process after visiting the site at Brooks’ invitation.
“We are thrilled to finally see the entire construction plan as fully funded for this important project in our community,” Brooks said.
“Many of us have waited many years to see this become a reality. The work on this project began long before I was sent to Nashville. I have worked diligently to keep it on the forefront for funding.”
TDOT Region II Community Relations Officer Jennifer Flynn said Friday that “Basically, both the Interstate 75 Exit 20 interchange modification project and the SR-311/APD-40 new interchange construction projects are fully funded.”
She said the Exit 20 interchange modification project could move into the right-of-way acquisition process later this spring and the SR-311/APD-40 new interchange project could move into the right-of-way acquisition process later this summer.
“The Exit 20 project could be let to contract in late spring 2013 and the SR-311/APD-40 project could be let to contract in late summer 2013,” she said.
“Because of the heavy volume of traffic in the area and our desire to minimize or avoid congestion, construction on these projects will likely take a minimum of two years.”
Brooks said, “Our local residents and businesses have long sought traffic solutions to the growing south end of our county. Today’s announcement insures the future of this vital business corridor into our community. This news brings new jobs, more resources and better infrastructure for a safer and more secure future.”
Rep. Johnson said the announcement was great for Cleveland and Bradley County.
“Your delegation, led by Rep. Kevin Brooks, kept Exit 20 on the minds of our entire committee this entire session,” he said. “After a visit to see your project this year, it was made clear to me just how critically important this project is to your citizens. We are proud to partner with Cleveland and with Rep. Brooks to make the Exit 20 Interchange into a reality.”
“This is great news for Bradley County and we are thankful for the governor’s support of our region. We have so many wonderful new jobs headed to Bradley County, and this will greatly assist getting industry to town,” State Sen. Mike Bell, R-Riceville, noted.
The state will build the new interchange on APD 40 between U.S. Highway 11 and Interstate 75 to give interstate access to the proposed Spring Branch Industrial Park. The city will build the local interstate connector road to connect the industrial park to the new interchange.
The city’s share of the new local interstate connector between the new interchange and Spring Branch Industrial Park was funded in the current budget by issuing a bond in March.
Cleveland City Schools will service the $1.7 million of debt issued for construction of the local interstate connectors in an arrangement to reimburse the city for the $1.7 million renovation of Arnold Memorial Elementary School.