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LoJac Attacks Nashville Traffic Nightmare, Gets Tough on I-24

Wed May 31, 2000 - Southeast Edition
Angela B. Hurni


The Tennessee Department of Transportation has awarded a $22.5-million contract to LoJac Enterprises Inc., for the widening of Interstate 24 between Interstate 440 and Haywood Lane in the South Nashville area of Davidson County. Work on the project, which includes widening and replacing several bridges, began in March 2000.

The contract includes the grading, drainage and construction of four bridges and eight retaining walls, widening of four existing bridges and paving on I-24, beginning east of I-440 and extending to east of Haywood Lane along approximately 7 kilometers (4.4 mi.). An additional lane will be added in each direction between Harding Place and I-440, creating four lanes both eastbound and westbound. In order to make merging easier for motorists, additional lanes will be constructed between Harding Place and Haywood Lane as well.

Several bridges will be either widened or replaced to ease traffic problems, including the bridge at Briley Parkway and the Thompson Lane overpass, which will be demolished and replaced. Also included in the contract are the bridges at Harding Place and Haywood Lane, which will be repaired and widened.

Don Chambers, president of LoJac Enterprises, acknowledges that one of the most challenging aspects of the project is the demolition of the bridges. The company generally demolishes bridges on weekends, usually on a Sunday morning, in order to avoid peak traffic times.

“When we drop those bridges on the interstate and have to have them out of the way by 6 a.m. Monday morning, is probably the toughest part of the job,” said Chambers.

LoJac Enterprises, based in Lebanon, TN, also will be upgrading lane widths on I-24 and bringing the roadway up to safety standards. Likewise, the company will add median barrier walls as a safety upgrade.

Work on I-24 comes as a result of the explosion of growth in southern Davidson County and Rutherford County. A tremendous increase in the number of motorists on I-24 has created many traffic headaches, including a bottleneck at Harding Place as inbound motorists are forced from four lanes to three lanes. More than 114,000 vehicles travel I-24 daily, while a steady increase in this traffic causes backups each morning and afternoon. When complete, I-24 will be eight lanes from I-440 to state route 840 near Murfreesboro. The widening of I-24 will help alleviate the traffic problems because the additional lanes will be used as HOV lanes from I-440 to state route 840.

According to TDOT, traffic disruptions will be minimized as much as possible during construction. Since the interstate is being widened on the outside, lanes will be shifted toward the median. Three lanes will be open to vehicles at all times during the workweek, limiting lane closures to weekend and evening hours. Speed restrictions will be posted in all work zones as well.

The scheduled completion date for the project is June 2002.




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