Governor Phil Bredesen recently released for the first time a three-year (2006-2008) Highway Improvement Program for the state of Tennessee. The proposal, which was presented to the legislature, contains 84 individual road construction projects.
"We have worked closely with legislators, transportation planners and citizens across this state to look strategically at what will be needed over the next three years not only to maintain our roads, but to improve safety on our highways and to continue to spur economic growth across the state," said Governor Bredesen. "Historically, we release a plan representing projects for only one fiscal year at a time. This year, we're releasing a three-year list of projects as a result of work currently underway in the development of the Tennessee Department of Transportation's Long Range Transportation Plan."
TDOT will have an estimated budget of $1.8 billion for the next fiscal year, more than $950 million of which is expected to come from the reauthorization of the federal transportation bill.
“This new project listing contains funding for all phases of project development from preliminary engineering to construction,” said TDOT Commissioner Gerald Nicely. “After the first year, we will assess the plan and make adjustments where necessary and resubmit the adjusted plan to the legislature next spring, but we feel we have a very solid three year project forecast here that represents a fair distribution of the department’s overall budget across the state.”
Commissioner Nicely explained that the 2006-2008 Highway Improvement Plan lists projects funded for the various stages of development in the first year of the plan. It also proposes funding for a portion of the second and third year plans leaving flexibility for additional projects in those years.
Some of the projects include:
US64 with eight dedicated improvement projects leaving only 35 miles remaining of the 267 mile facility to be improved;
15 projects which are county seat connections to interstates;
the entire length of US-411 from US-64 at Ocoee to Maryville funded for construction to widen the highway to 4-lanes;
840-North alternate projects on State Routes 109 and 141;
the remaining section of I-75 between Chattanooga to Ooltewah;
funding for wetland mitigation required to meet environmental commitments.
TDOT’s full Long Range Transportation Plan, which will include a 25-year strategy for the future of transportation for the state, will be completed by August.