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Alternatives to new I-75/I-24 interchange coming

The interchange project is part of a broader I-75 corridor study. Also planned is widening I-785 to eight lanes from the Georgia state line to I-24.

The Associated Press

11/13/2012

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — Tennessee transportation officials will unveil ideas for rebuilding a busy interchange between two interstate highways in Chattanooga.

Alternatives will be presented Wednesday afternoon about what could be a $100 million project to better connect Interstate 24 with Interstate 75.

Sgt. Gary Martin of the Chattanooga Police Department told the Chattanooga Times Free Press (http://bit.ly/VVw9Zs ) the current merge lanes present problems.

"I can't tell you how many flipped vehicles I've worked there. That curve is just notorious for tractor-trailers rolling over," Martin said.

The interchange project is part of a broader I-75 corridor study. Also planned is widening I-785 to eight lanes from the Georgia state line to I-24. The ramps at East Brainerd Road will also be improved, and more lanes will be added to I-75 between Collegedale and Cleveland. The aim is to complete the construction by 2029.

TDOT spokeswoman Jennifer Flynn said the reconstruction will be done on the current right of way to reduce the need to buy land.

Karen Rennich, deputy director of the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Agency, said the Tennessee Department of Transportation is looking for responses to the concepts it has developed for the I-75/24 reconstruction.

"Both residents and travelers through the area have commented over time that there have been congestion or safety issues at the interchange," Rennich said. "Living here and traveling here, we're using that interchange quite a bit. We see some of the things that go on, and as residents and businesses, we can give feedback on those concepts."

The initial presentation will be at 2:30 p.m. EST Wednesday in conference room B at the Development Resource Center, 1250 Market St.

The alternatives will also be posted online at http://www.tdot.state.tn.us/i75.

The primary property owner on both sides of I-75 between I-24 and the Georgia line is Osborn Enterprises, a subsidiary of Luken Holdings.

Russ Elliott, the principal broker for Luken, said re-engineering the highway could help the company find a developer for 61 acres in East Ridge. He also welcomed the coming changes as a local resident.

"Something needs to be done at that interchange; it's pretty bad. ... It's like running the gauntlet every morning," Elliott said. "We're like anybody else. We'd love to see the interstate get better, love to see it get safer, because it's not safe now."

The Trucker staff can be reached to comment on this article at editor@thetrucker.com.

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