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(WBIR - Knox County) The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) Friday awarded Knox County with more than $1.5 million for two grants to help improve traffic flow in trouble spots in the area.

The first grant gives Knox County $105,500 to re-time 20 lights in some of the county's most congested corridors. They are the Lovell Road area, Dutchtown Road, Hardin Valley Road and Peters/Ebezener Road.

The technology upgrade will use the existing infrastructure, but is supposed to optimize how traffic moves in those areas. That project should take about six months to complete.

Knox County received an additional $1.4 million to establish better infrastructure for a Traffic Operations Center (TOC) for two of the county's most-used roads: Maynardville Highway and Cedar Bluff Road.

The TOC will allow officials to communicate and control some lights on those two roads from its main site on Baxter Avenue using TDOT's existing infrastructure, and is expected to take 16 months to finish.

Both grants were awarded through the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality program of TDOT. The entire project will award more than $27 million to 11 communities in Tennessee.

"The result will be better air quality and reduced congestion, which improves the quality of life for Tennesseans and creates more livable communities all over the state, said TDOT Commissioner John Schroer in a released statement.

Deputy Commissioner Toks Omishakin, Chief of TDOT's Environment and Planning Bureau, agreed.

"From better traffic signal coordination in Gatlinburg to expanded park and ride options for several Memphis communities, many of these projects will offer great benefits to travelers across the state," he said. "Through this program, we are also making great strides in our efforts to reduce emissions and improve air quality."

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