Tennessee DOT projects press forward during COVID-19

Reduced traffic has allowed crews to perform additional maintenance to interstates and state highways

June 26, 2020 / 2 minute read
I-440 Reconstruction project Nashville
The I-440 Reconstruction Project in Nashville is in its final phase of work. Image: Tennessee DOT

The Tennessee DOT (TDOT) says it has been pushing ahead on road and bridge construction projects across the state since the start of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The department says reduced traffic over the past several weeks has also allowed TDOT crews to perform additional maintenance to interstates and state highways and make solid progress on projects in general across the state.

In Nashville, the I-440 Reconstruction Project is in its final phase of work, with paving anticipated to be complete earlier than the project’s July 26 completion date. In Jackson, a project to widen I-40 continues with traffic now driving on newly constructed lanes and all bridge demolition now complete. In Chattanooga, work is progressing well on the I-75/I-24 Interchange Modification Project. All Phase 1 traffic shifts have been completed, and the entire project is slated for completion in summer 2021. In Knox and Blount Counties, three projects underway to improve Alcoa Highway are progressing well with traffic being shifted into newly constructed lanes and retaining wall construction nearing completion.

Since late March, TDOT crews have been able to take advantage of dramatically reduced traffic volumes on interstates across the state. Workers have been performing additional pothole patching and small paving projects to repair pavement impacted by winter weather. Under normal conditions, these operations are limited due to the severe traffic congestion they can cause during daytime hours.

TDOT says traffic volumes in the state are beginning to increase to more normal levels. While the department does anticipate a reduction in state gas tax revenues for several months due to the reduced fuel usage, it is only expecting modest delays in construction projects due to this reduction. Most project design activities have transitioned well to a work from home environment; however, COVID-19 has slowed the process to purchase property, with many real estate transactions being handled through mail rather than in-person. Projects that require a high number of real estate acquisitions and even modest relocations of homes and businesses will likely require additional time. Right now, TDOT is projecting only a few months delay on a handful of projects.

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SOURCE: Tennessee DOT

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