The Tennessee Department of Transportation’s SmartFIX40 project is being recognized as one of the top transportation projects in the nation.
The American Association of State and Highway Transportation Officials announced Aug. 12 that it had selected the SmartFIX40 project for an “America’s Transportation Award” for the Southeast Region. The annual transportation awards identify achievement in the development and construction of transportation projects.
“This project has been a monumental undertaking and employees at the Tennessee Department of Transportation have done an excellent job at minimizing the impact to motorists,” said Gov. Phil Bredesen. “I’m pleased to see TDOT honored with this prestigious award. It is a testament to the years of planning and preparation that went into such a complex project.”
Contract No. 1 of the SmartFIX40 project in downtown Knoxville was chosen in the “On Time” category for completing phases one and two ahead of schedule, using creative transportation and management solutions and inviting community input to enhance transportation efficiency, safety and the quality of life.
AASHTO Executive Director John Horsley said, “Transportation projects such as SmartFIX40 in Tennessee set great examples in how to properly manage, communicate and deliver needed infrastructure improvements.”
“We are pleased to be selected for an America’s Transportation Award,” said TDOT Commissioner Gerald Nicely. “SmartFIX40 is one of the most challenging projects in TDOT history and our goal is to maintain a safe and efficient traffic flow of traffic throughout the life of the project. We have worked extensively with local and state elected officials and local civic organizations to ensure that we are aware of their concerns during construction.”
In a departure from traditional roadway construction projects, community representatives and local city and other elected officials participated in planning and design meetings to make suggestions and observations. Additionally, multiple public meetings were conducted to educate the general public and other stakeholders about the project. As a result of this process, 14 significant design changes were incorporated into the final plan to accommodate suggestions made by the community.
Broken into two separate contracts, SmartFIX40 is a multi-year road construction project with a total price tag of $190 million. SmartFIX40 began in 2005 and the final contract will be completed in 2009. The first phase of the project ($85 million) included the reconstruction of two major city streets (James White Parkway and Hall of Fame Drive), 5.2 mi. (8.4 km) of roadway, six bridges, four ramps, 33 retaining walls, the improvement of 18 city streets, and the construction of bicycle lanes and a tunnel.
The second contract of SmartFIX40 currently underway involves the closure of a 1.5-mi. (2.4 km) portion of I-40 in downtown Knoxville. This accelerated construction process involves closing a primary roadway (I-40) to allow around-the-clock work that is uninterrupted by traffic. This will dramatically shorten the time required to complete the project, thereby enhancing safety and reducing long-term inconvenience to motorists.
For more information, visit www.americastransportationaward.org.