Tennessee Department of Transportation officials stood at the intersection of APD 40 and Interstate 75 to announce short- and long-term solutions to traffic congestion at the busy intersection beginning July 9.
TDOT Deputy Commissioner/Chief Engineer Paul Degges said the agency is certainly aware of the current congestion issues affecting the Interstate 75 interchange at Exit 20.
“TDOT Region 2 staff have been working closely with the staffs of the city of Cleveland and Cleveland Utilities to address traffic congestion for northbound exit ramp left turn movement,” he said.
Cleveland Utilities has recently made several signal timing adjustments in an attempt to alleviate congestion and improve traffic flow. However, TDOT considers the problem a priority safety issue and “we are working in an expedited manner to move the full interchange modification project forward as quickly as possible.”
He said TDOT Region 2 Maintenance and Traffic Engineering divisions have identified an intermediate solution that will provide some additional northbound I-75 exit ramp left turn access. Also, the solution will provide additional space for the northbound exit ramp right turn lane to more clearly define the free flow right turn lane onto eastbound APD 40.
“We will also perform some additional widening to the southbound exit ramp to assist with this turning movement. These intermediate improvements will be implemented beginning the week of July 9 and will be done primarily at night to avoid peak traffic times,” he said.
Concerning the full interchange modification project, the Final Right-of-Way plans were issued early to begin the property appraisal process for the land needed for the interchange project. Survey stakes for the proposed ROW are currently being placed. Motorists and property owners may see TDOT surveyors working at this interchange during the next several days.
The full project could go to a construction contract letting in spring of 2013 based on available federal funding and ROW acquisition, coordination of all utility owners and environmental permits.
The interchange project will be constructed in phases, with portions of the new SR-311 bridge structure being built to the south of the existing structure while maintaining traffic on the existing bridge.
The full construction project for the interchange modification will take about two years to build. The project will reconstruct the I-75 interchange with a new, six-lane overpass bridge, lengthen and widen all entrance/exit ramps, and install a new traffic signal system.
“We are pleased that funding for the construction of the I-75 Exit 20 interchange project was provided in this year’s General Assembly session and is strongly supported by state Reps. Kevin Brooks and Eric Watson, and state Sen. Mike Bell,” Degges said.
“This project also has broad local support from city of Cleveland and Bradley County officials. TDOT recognizes this infrastructure project is an important safety and economic development component for Cleveland and Bradley County.”