A project to replace the loops and ramps that serve as exits and entrances of I-24 and U.S. 27 eastbound to Broad Street, Williams Street and Market Street is set to receive construction funding next year.
Jennifer Flynn of TDOT said the project, with an estimated price tag of $37 million, has already been funded for right of way acquisition. There are approximately 13 tracts of property to acquire on the project.
The work was included in the most recent TDOT 3-year Statewide Transportation Improvement Plan.
Ms. Flynn said, "The project consists of the replacement of the loops and ramps that serve as exits and entrances of I-24 and U.S. 27 eastbound to Broad Street, Williams Street (Long Street) and Market Street. Most of the work will be on the south (Lookout Mountain) side of I-24.
"The loops and ramps are to be replaced with a new one-way ramp and frontage road that will exit I-24 west of the I-24 and U.S. 27 interchange between the old Wheland Foundry site and the Tennessee River. The ramp and frontage road will be parallel to I-24 and will serve Broad Street, Williams Street, and Market Street with signalized intersections.
"Those vehicles wishing to enter back onto I-24 will be served with a new ramp (in the same location as the existing ramp) near the Howard School.
"There will be a new connection between U.S. 27 Southbound and the new ramp, so the U.S. 27 traffic will have access to all intersections at Broad Street, Williams Street and Market Street.
"The new ramp and the connection to U.S. 27 will both bridge over Chestnut Street with the new ramp and will bridge over the new Riverwalk at the old foundry site. The new ramp and frontage road will be right up next to I-24, thus reducing the amount of right-of-way necessary to build the project."
Ms. Flynn said both I-24 eastbound and U.S. 27 will be served by the new ramp and frontage road. All traffic on both facilities will be able to exit to Broad Street, Williams Street, and Market Street.
She said 26th Street will not be affected by the new facility. The new ramp will be very near to the existing I-24.
The Howard School access to Market Street will not be affected and will have an improved intersection to enter I-24 eastbound. Traffic traveling to the Howard School from I-24 eastbound and U.S. 27 southbound will use the new ramp and frontage road.
The existing ramps and loops serving I-24 westbound and U.S. 27 northbound will have minor adjustments, but will remain in place on the north of I-24. Traffic flow in this area will not be changed at this time.
Williams Street will be changed to two-way traffic and Long Street will be closed to vehicle traffic. Pedestrians and bikes will still have access to Long Street.