Work underway to make Middle TN interstates safer - WSMV News 4

Work underway to make Middle TN interstates safer

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The frequent crashes, road construction and congestion on Interstate 24 can make getting around Middle Tennessee difficult.

The Tennessee Department of Transportation completed a study in January, identifying ways to make I-24 safer, and crews are already hard at work. But some drivers say it's not moving fast enough.

"The traffic is just ridiculous. It's always bumper to bumper," said driver James White.

Hundreds of thousands of vehicles travel the interstate every day. Cab driver Kenneth Shields is one of them, and he says somebody always does something that brings traffic to a standstill.

"Not paying attention, or messing with their radio or iPhone, and run into the back end of somebody," Shields said.

"This morning, I was on the interstate - this lady, she was sitting there texting, texting and I'm blowing the horn, and she flips me off," White said.

In 2012, there were nearly 2,000 crashes on I-24 between Montgomery and Rutherford counties.

TDOT spokeswoman Heather Jensen says recent changes on I-24 will hopefully improve safety and traffic flow.

"One of the biggest things that we're doing is "open graded friction course paving." And what that is, is that cuts down on hydroplaning, that cuts down on spray," Jensen said.

TDOT is also replacing highway signs near the Shelby Avenue exit and re-painting HOV lanes and interchanges.

"We want to make sure people know where the exits are, where the on-ramps are and know where they're going. We want them to be able to see those things clearly, so we're working on reflectivity," Jensen said. "I-65, there's a huge widening project there by Trinity Lane."

Jensen said the big part of the project near Trinity Lane is improving the interchange and adding two transition lanes, so that drivers don't have to merge so suddenly.

But, fair warning, she says it's going to take time.

"We don't borrow money to make improvements to our roadways. We have to use the money we have available," Jensen said.

TDOT is also looking to future studies on I-65 and I-40. The department says crews are constantly evaluating the roads and will make improvements when necessary.

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