In Chattanooga, Tenn., construction crews continue their work on the $32 million I-24 interchange project at Broad and Market Streets.
(Wright Brothers photo)
In Chattanooga, Tenn., construction crews continue their work on the $32 million I-24 interchange project at Broad and Market streets. The goal is to enhance the safety and operation of the interstate, while improving access to U.S. 27, Broad and Market streets and other points on the south side of the city.
"The area around I-24 near Exit 178 is often seen as the gateway to Chattanooga from the west," said Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) spokesperson Rae-Anne Bradley. "The loops and ramps that serve as exits and entrances of I-24 East and U.S. 27 to areas south of the city are outdated. This project will eliminate the loop ramps between Market Street and Broad Street, which should ease congestion on I-24 in this area. It also provides better access by eliminating quick lane changes previously necessary for U.S. 27 to access downtown at the Broad Street exit.
"Additionally, the south side of Chattanooga has been blighted since the closure of the U.S. Pipe/Wheland Foundry site. Currently, the county and city are working with developers to revitalize the area, which would increase traffic flow to the area."
As with most construction projects, motorists will be somewhat inconvenienced until all work is complete.
"I-24 in both directions is currently affected by temporary barrier rail in the median at four locations between LM 177.4 and 178.4," said Bradley. "Chestnut Street is currently closed to through traffic. Williams Street also is closed to through traffic, but the I-24 West on-ramp remains open."
Currently, 72 percent of the work on the project is completed. Construction includes creating a new frontage road for approximately 1.6 mi. in Chattanooga, Hamilton County.
"The existing I-24 off-ramp at Broad Street will be removed to allow for the frontage road to be constructed from Broad Street to Market Street," said Bradley, who explained that seven walls and two bridges are included as part of the work.
"One bridge and six of the walls are complete. The final wall and the small remaining portion of the second bridge will be completed when the contractor begins work on the addition of U.S. 27 off-ramp to Broad Street and the frontage road."
Wright Brothers Construction Company serves as the general contractor of the undertaking, which includes grading, drainage and paving throughout the project limits, as well as the addition of bridges, retaining walls, signals and lighting.
Bradley explained that good weather is imperative for crews to work efficiently and make progress, while it's easier for the contractor to work through differing weather elements when performing structural work.
Completion of Phase 1 is taking place currently, which includes the new exit off-ramp (frontage road) from I-24 East to Broad Street. Demolition also has been required. At issue, several existing storm drain CBs and pipe, a number of off-ramps and an existing bridge demo over Chestnut Street.
Crews still have to finish Phase 2, the remaining frontage road from Broad Street to Market Street, bridge demo work and the new alignment from U.S.-27 to Broad Street.
A variety of equipment is being used at the job site. Heavy machinery includes Cat 328 and 336 excavators; Cat D6T and D6K dozers; a Cat 420 backhoe; a Cat 299 compact track loader; a Cat 740 haul truck; Cat 308 and 305 mini-excavators; a Cat 930 wheel loader; a Cat D8R II dozer with a Broce Broom; a Sakai roller; a Link-Belt 218 crawler crane; a Genie manlift; and Miller welders.
According to TDOT's website, when work is complete, the project will not only accommodate current and future traffic demands, but also promote economic growth and support area redevelopment. CEG
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