NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Good news for some 100,000 drivers that commute on Interstate 440 every day. Construction is finally complete.
Contract crews will start removing cones and construction signs Wednesday night on the newly constructed I-440, and although it seems like a lengthy project, they are actually a month ahead of schedule.
“It feels so good! We couldn’t be more thrilled that we are about to start opening lanes on 440,” proclaimed TDOT Community Relations Officer Kathryn Schulte.
For nearly a year and a half it’s been a traffic headache, with lane closures and weekend shutdowns.
“Now we’ve got three continuous lanes throughout the corridor where previously some areas only had 2 like the bridges over I-65, that was only 2 lanes. So a lot of our time was spent over there. We connected those bridges to have their lanes in each direction that just helps eliminate some of the choke points,” said Schulte.
It took years to find funding for it, but now the massive $154.8 million dollar project is complete.
“We say largest, it’s definitely the most expensive project, but it’s also the most ambitious project we’ve ever done. We are talking about seven miles, two lanes in each direction where we had to completely remove the concrete that was there and do it on a really short amount of time because we’ve got people that live on the corridor. We’ve got a hundred thousand people a day that drive on the corridor and we knew we were going to have lane closures and we knew we could not drag this out forever so it was a very ambitious project for us.”
The largest project in TDOT history not only includes new lanes but new lighting, new color overhead message boards, new landscaping, and ramp safety improvements.
“We’ve got 6 new color DMS message boards they are kind of the first for the Nashville area that we’ve seen. We’ve got new lighting, our previous lighting wasn’t meeting safety standards so we did have to install some additional lighting to get it to meet the current standards. The 21st Ave exit has a new traffic signal there, we added another lane for people to queue up in there and Murphy Road, so we’ve just kind of got improvements all around.”
The improvements can already be felt and seen by drivers.
“Nashville is such a pretty city so having the roadways looking nice is a big deal,” said John Cannon who travels the interstate.
Instead of holding a ribbon-cutting, TDOT will be holding a caravan to celebrate the completion on July 2.