NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Department of Transportation is preparing to put the pedal to the medal on projects across the state aimed at solving congestion issues in big cities and accessibility in small towns.
As part of President Biden’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, Tennessee is set to receive about $6.5 billion over 5 years for improvements to roads, bridges and more.
TDOT Deputy Commissioner Paul Degges said it allows them to tackle construction projects listed in the state’s 2017 Improve Act right away.
“The average Tennessean is going to be able to see solutions accelerated rather than saying we’ll have to wait,” Degges said. “We’ll be able to do some of them today.”
TDOT intends to widen I-65 from the Kentucky state line to Nashville and improve I-40.
“In the urbanized areas of the state, it’s going to really solve the congestion issues,” Degges said. “In the rural areas of the state, it’s a little bit of a different issue. It’s about access.”
Degges said TDOT would be listening to the needs of Tennesseans, whether it is repaving, widening or rebuilding roads.
The bill also includes $88 million for electric vehicle infrastructure. TDOT hopes to soon have charging stations across the state so electric cars can make trips to and from Knoxville, Nashville, and Memphis with as much recharging ease as gas vehicles.
Degges said the infrastructure also means there will be many job opportunities in the construction field.
“I would say there is a huge opportunity out there,” Degges said. “In our industry, with sustained funding, there is sustainability in jobs in the construction industry.”