Scores of East Ridge area residents turned out at the Community Center, Tuesday evening, to get more information about the construction project at the Interstate-75/24 interchange.
The Tennessee Department of Transportation hosted a public information meeting to give specific details about the $132 million project that will affect virtually every motorist in East Ridge.
During a PowerPoint presentation, Joe Deering, TDOT’s Region II Director, gave an overview of the reconfiguration. Lanes will be widened on I-75, as well as all interstate-to-interstate ramps. The project will also include an auxiliary ramp system for traffic entering Ringgold Road and the Welcome Center. The Spring Creek Road bridge going over I-24 will also be replaced.
Officials said the reconfiguration is necessary to improve the safety and mobility of the interstate exchange. It is projected that by 2041 about 145,000 vehicles will travel that section of interstate on a daily basis.
The project is being done by the C.W. Matthews firm under a “design/build” system. Deering said this method combines many of the design and construction phases of the project hastening progress. The first phase of the project is scheduled to be completed in June of 2021.
During a question and answer session, several citizens were concerned about the construction project potentially increasing flooding problems in the low-lying areas around Spring Creek.
Zack Taylor, with C.W. Matthews, explained that the project has received a “no rise” certification from FEMA. Taylor said that the project may actually reduce existing flooding issues.
One woman asked about the replacement of bridges that go over I-24 at McBrien Road and Belvoir Avenue. She commented that she didn’t want to see another bridge fall on the interstate.
On April 1, the railing from a bridge on I-75 fell onto the I-24 ramp. One man was seriously injured in the incident.
“I’ve had plenty of bad days in my life,” Deering said, “but that day was one of the worst days in my life.”
Deering said replacing bridges over the interstate on I-24 will be done in a later phase of the project.
Click on the link below for a TDOT video about the project: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=HhCR_vLcaBQ&feature=youtu.be