Well done Chattanooga!

As we all know, there is a major interstate modification project underway at the I-75/I-24 interchange in East Ridge. C.W. Matthews Contracting Co., Inc. is the contractor for the $132.6 million dollar modification project, which is slated for completion in late summer 2021. August, 2021, to be exact.

Per the C.W. Matthews contract with TDOT, a total of four 57-hour ramp closures are allowed throughout the duration of the project, which would be necessary to make vital connections. This past weekend, the weekend of October 23-26, 2020, was one of the four allowed weekends. The remaining three weekend closures, if necessary, will be in 2021, not this year.

From Friday evening at 9:00PM to shortly after 12:00 a.m. on Monday morning, the ramp from I-75 North to I-24 West was closed, with all traffic diverted up I-75 North to Exit 3-A (East Brainerd Rd.) where a contraflow detour was in place for access to I-24 West via I-75 South. In brief, there was a 5-mile detour to I-24 West for an entire weekend.

All local traffic on East Brainerd Rd. was shifted to one-lane (for each direction) in the westbound lanes of East Brainerd Rd., with interstate contraflow traffic separated by the concrete median on East Brainerd Rd. There was no local access to I-75 South from E. Brainerd Rd., as Southbound access from E. Brainerd Rd. was reserved for the interstate contraflow traffic.

Also, the I-75 North ramps from Ringgold Rd./U.S. 41 in East Ridge were closed through the duration of the weekend.

One would have thought Brainerd Rd., Ringgold Rd., Spring Creek Rd., S. Moore Rd., and surrounding alternates would have been parking lot parties. While they were congested at times during peak drive times, it really wasn’t much more than a typical Friday afternoon for most people.

Without proper advance warning from all players within the field of traffic incident management, including local media, I’m willing to bet the traffic queue on I-75 Northbound could have been historic in nature. It wasn’t, and here’s why…

As soon as TDOT’s Public Information Officer (PIO) published the Press Release earlier this month with all the details regarding the ramp closure to I-24 West from I-75 North, and the subsequent contraflow at East Brainerd Rd., we all came together as a team. And by “we,” I mean TDOT, GDOT, C.W. Matthews (the Contractor), law enforcement, local media, and YOU, Chattanooga!

TDOT‘s PIO, Jennifer Flynn, did an exceptional job of communicating all the details early to local media here. And there were A LOT of details.

TDOT’s Principle Engineer, Joe Deering, and C.W. Matthews, held a joint Press Conference with Media several days before the event at the TDOT Region 2 Headquarters on Volkswagen Drive.

A week in advance, Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) provided a 24/7 advance warning message (“I-24 West closed October 23-26th”) on their overhead Dynamic Message Sign along I-75 North south of the Dalton area.

TDOT provided advance warning on all of their Dynamic Message Signs throughout Hamilton County, warning of an upcoming new traffic pattern, at least a week in advance of the closure.

We even heard about Atlanta Traffic Reporters mentioning the closure for motorists traveling up I-75 North into Tennessee. Keep in mind the Atlanta and Chattanooga Markets overlap along I-75 near Bartow County, Georgia.

Local media, including our team here at Brewer Media Group, went all in with advance warning at least a week in advance.

The result: The traffic queue (backup) on I-75 North never exceeded Cloud Springs Road in Ringgold, Georgia, which is standard afternoon volume traffic. People avoided the area which kept traffic volume down. And by the way, Chattanooga ranks #1 among all metropolitan cities in the volume of freight moving by truck!

East Brainerd Rd. traffic was moderate at best during peak drive times.

When you have a chance, check out an article in the Atlanta AJC, pinned by a veteran radio/tv traffic reporter earlier this month, which discusses a situation where proper advance warning was not in place. It speaks to the importance of proper advance warning. You can find that at http://bit.ly/3e0RE6W

By the way, shortly after 12:00 a.m. this morning, Monday, October 26, 2020, TDOT re-opened the new flyover ramp from I-75 North to I-24 West. They tell us they were able to re-open the ramp a few hours earlier than expected, and the first vehicle traveled the new flyover ramp around 12:30 a.m.

The ramp from I-24 Eastbound to I-75 North is also a new flyover ramp now. And for motorists who travel I-75 South to I-75 South, you will travel underneath the new flyover ramp….until the project completion in August, 2021.


We hope you will let us know how you found out about the interstate modification project closures, and if there is anything we can do better next time.

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Stay Alert And Stay Out Of The Ditch!

As Tennessee and the nation continue to open back following shutdowns from the coronavirus, drivers are reminded to be safe as they hit the roads again.

One major issue is the dangers of driving while drowsy.  Sleepiness can result in crashes any time of the day or night, but three factors are most commonly associated with drowsy-driving crashes.

Drowsy-driving crashes:

  1. Occur most frequently between midnight and 6 a.m., or in the late afternoon. At both times of the day, people experience dips in their circadian rhythm—the human body’s internal clock that regulates sleep;
  2. Often involve only a single driver (and no passengers) running off the road at a high rate of speed with no evidence of braking; and
  3. Frequently occur on rural roads and highways.

How to avoid driving drowsy:

  1. Getting adequate sleep on a daily basis is the only true way to protect yourself against the risks of driving when you’re drowsy. Experts urge consumers to make it a priority to get seven to eight hours of sleep per night. 
  2. Before the start of a long family car trip, get a good night’s sleep, or you could put your entire family and others at risk.
  3. Many teens do not get enough sleep at a stage in life when their biological need for sleep increases, which makes them vulnerable to the risk of drowsy-driving crashes, especially on longer trips. Advise your teens to delay driving until they’re well-rested.
  4. Avoid drinking any alcohol before driving. Consumption of alcohol interacts with sleepiness to increase drowsiness and impairment.
  5. Always check your prescription and over-the-counter medication labels to see if drowsiness could result from their use. 
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Look For New Traffic Pattern On I-75 Coming Up From Georgia

A new temporary traffic pattern on I-75 northbound at the 24 split has caused the location of I-75 North and the split of I-24 West to move about 1/4 mile to the south. The reconfiguration changed the physical layout of the split and now requires drivers wishing to remain on I-75 North to negotiate a new, earlier decision point using a recently constructed interstate ramp to the east of the I‑75 mainline.

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Watch Your Speed And Help Save Lives!

Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Florida and South Carolina will again join forces this year for the third annual ‘Operation Southern Shield,’ a week-long speed enforcement operation. Drivers breaking the law by traveling above the legal speed limit on interstates, major highways and local roads beginning next Monday will face police officers and state troopers.

According to the latest data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the number of traffic deaths reported in the state during last year’s Southern Shield was 29 percent lower than the past several years during the last two weeks of July.

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Traffic Advisory For This Weekend! 7/10-13

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – TDOT contract crews will make full‑depth concrete repairs this weekend in lane #2 (right/slow lane) on I-24 West near mile marker 174 in the Lookout Valley/Tiftonia area of Chattanooga, Hamilton County. Beginning at 8:00 p.m. EDT on Friday evening, July 10, 2020 and continuing until 6:00 a.m. EDT on Monday morning, July 13, 2020, the contractor will have the right lane closed on I-24 West near mile marker 174 to perform this work. One lane will remain open at all times during these repairs.

Major traffic impacts are expected. Motorists are advised to avoid this area during this weekend work. If they must travel through the area, they are encouraged to be patient and alert to the activities and personnel in the work zone.

All lanes on I-24 West will reopen by 6:00 a.m. EDT on Monday morning July 13, 2020.

This work is part of a resurfacing project currently underway on both directions of I-24 in Hamilton County from the Georgia state line at mile marker 171 to just west of the U.S. 27 split at mile marker 178. Most of the work on this project will take place at nighttime on Sundays through Thursdays between the hours of 8:00 p.m.and 6:00 a.m. EDT. However, the contractor is allowed up to three weekend lane closures to perform necessary full-depth concrete repairs on I-24 West. This weekend’s closure is the first of these.

The contractor for the 7-mile project is Talley Construction Company, Inc., and the project completion date is on or before October 31, 2020. The cost of the project is $6,179,177.64.

This work is weather dependent. Should weather or unforeseen circumstances postpone this work, it will be rescheduled to take place as soon as possible.

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TDOT Clears The Way For Independence Day Travelers

NASHVILLE – Road construction won’t slow motorists across Tennessee over the July 4thholiday.  The Tennessee Department of Transportation will suspend all construction-related lane closures on interstates and state routes beginning at 6:00 a.m. on Friday, July 3rdthrough 6:00 a.m. on Monday, July 6th to provide maximum roadway capacity for holiday travelers.

“The coronavirus has impacted travel plans for Tennesseans this July 4th holiday,” TDOT Commissioner Clay Bright said. “Although fewer motorists will be traveling through Tennessee, we are suspending lane closures during this holiday travel time to help motorists reach their destinations safely and without unnecessary delays.”

Motorists will still encounter some long term lane closures on construction projects.  While lane closure activity will be stopped, workers may be on site in construction zones and reduced speed limits in work zones will still be in effect.  Drivers convicted of speeding through work zones where workers are present face a fine of $250 to $500, plus court fees and possible increased insurance premiums.

This summer, AAA forecasts Americans will take 700 million trips based on economic indicators and state re-openings. That number is down nearly 15% compared to last July through September and is the first decline in summer travel since 2009.

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TDOT Projects Move Forward During COVID-19

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Despite altered work procedures designed to increase safety, the Tennessee Department of Transportation is pushing ahead on construction projects across the state. 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 26th completion date. In Jackson, a project to widen Interstate 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. 

Traffic volumes are beginning to increase to more normal levels. While TDOT does anticipate a reduction in state gas tax revenues for several months due to the reduced fuel usage, the department 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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Upcoming Road Closures And Updates 6/24

Wauhatchie Pike Reopened
Wauhatchie Pike at the Norfolk Southern / CSX grade crossing is now reopened for traffic.

Broad Street 
Broad Street between 11th Street and 12th Street will be closed beginning Friday, June 26thfrom 5:45PM until Sunday, June 28th at 9PM for TVA Building window replacement. Detours will be posted. 

Martin Luther King Blvd
Martin Luther King Blvd between Lindsey Street and Houston Street will be closed beginning Friday, June 26thfrom 9AM until Saturday, June 27th at 6PM for an art installation by RISE Chattanooga. Detours will be posted. 

Station Street
Station Street will be closed Fridays beginning at 4 PM through Sundays at 10 PM to allow for outdoor dining by area restaurants.  CDOT is working to help businesses comply with social distancing requirements by providing the extra room in our public space.  

Reggie White Boulevard
Reggie White Boulevard will be closed Sundays from 6AM until 6PM for the Chattanooga Essentials Market to enhance social distancing measures.  CDOT is working to help businesses comply with social distancing requirements by providing the extra room in our public space. 

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