TDOT’s Region 1 director Steve Borden started his presentation to Fountain City Business and Professional Association with the feel-good stuff.
Tennessee’s infrastructure is ranked second in the nation by CNBC. TDOT runs with no debt, and Borden runs his region like a business.
He makes his home in Corryton and drives the same roads we do every day. So does his family.
The Tennessee IMPROVE Act includes 962 projects statewide, and 275 of those are in Region 1, East Tennessee.
But soon he gave folks in the audience what they really wanted: an update on construction at the Broadway/I-640 interchange. Revamping of the interchange started in 2016, and Borden said work will be complete in spring 2019, but the majority of the work will be finished by December, with traffic flowing in its new patterns. The reason for the spring finish date is mostly due to paving, which isn’t ideal to do in winter.
Borden said the Broadway corridor rivals areas of Kingston Pike, with 48,568 vehicles per day.
The new traffic pattern will eliminate the awkward and sometimes dangerous merging from Tazewell Pike to southbound Broadway at the interchange. In the new pattern, southbound Broadway drivers will enter the on-lane for I-640 before the bridge across Tazewell Pike. Tazewell Pike drivers will be able to access I-640, but they will be separated by a wall from Broadway traffic and merge onto I-640 in their own, dedicated lane.
Northbound Broadway drivers will access I-640 westbound via a cloverleaf loop instead of turning left onto the on-ramp. Borden said this will move traffic faster because the signal at the I-640 bridge can have just two cycles instead of four.
Other changes include making Old Broadway into four lanes to move off-ramp traffic along.
“You don’t want people sitting when other people are going 70 miles per hour,” said Borden.
He mentioned that the only setback so far has been the discovery of underground storage tanks beneath the construction site. The tanks were not listed in any records. Environmental mitigation was needed to minimize the impact.
Estimated cost for the entire project is $22,217,026.43. It includes grading, drainage, signals, construction of four bridges, 10 retaining walls and paving.
Attendees gave the TDOT crew and their contractors a thumbs-up on work so far. Penny Kleinschmidt of State Farm said, “I think you guys have done a great job keeping traffic moving.”
The Fountain City Business and Professional Association meets at noon every second Wednesday, in the fellowship hall of Central Baptist Church of Fountain City.