Big changes coming to Alcoa Highway & I-640 in 2015

The tens of thousands of people who use Alcoa Highway and I-640 at Broadway in North Knoxville each day will notice major changes starting in 2015.

The Tennessee Department of Transportation announced its 3-year plan Thursday that includes more than a billion dollars worth of improvements across the state.

In East Tennessee, TDOT is making Alcoa Highway and the I-640 interchange at Broadwaya priority.

"The improvements are much needed," said TDOT director of projects for Region 1, Danny Oliver.

Knoxville resident James Loveday works in the 640 north office building near the interchange. He says he can often hear car crashes from his office.

"In the mornings people are trying to figure out where they need to be. It looks like people are crisscrossing lanes trying to get from one side to the other. It creates some problems," Loveday said.

From 2010-2012, there have been 158 crashes at the I-640 westbound ramp - that's three and half times the state crash average.

Oliver said they are reworking those ramps and widening bridges north of 640 to make the lanes more clear and keep people from weaving. Instead of turning left to get on I-640 west, drivers will have a dedicated ramp. The construction will force some businesses to relocate.

On Alcoa Highway from Maloney Road to Woodson Road, TDOT will be adding one lane in each direction to help with congestion on the mile and a half stretch.

But the most noticeable difference will be the concrete median barriers that take away the ability to turn left. Instead drivers will have a ramp and a bridge to take them across to the other side of the highway.

TDOT says they are currently in the planning phase and we won't see any major construction until mid 2015. There is currently utility work being done in this area, but TDOT says you won't see lane closures for another year.

"There will be some sacrifices we have to give up as with any road way construction project but the end result is that the commute will be faster and safer and we hope more comfortable for the motorist," said Oliver.


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