6-month road project begins on Interstate 40 in Cocke County

NEWPORT, Tenn. (WATE) - Travelers on Interstate 40 will experience a slowdown in Cocke County, with a six-month bridge repair project reducing parts of the highway to one lane in each direction.

“It’s going to be rough,” Steve Moor said. “Because with just one lane on each side, it’s going to be backed up.”

The concern for people living in the area is traffic backups, with travelers already noticing delays on the first day of construction.

“It already took me around ten minutes longer to get here,” Jessica Booth said. “I drove through the construction for the first time today and I travel this route daily, especially in the summer time and that’s the busy season, so it’s going to make getting to work difficult.”

The project stretches eight miles between State Route 52 and Foothills Parkway, from mile marker 435 and 443. The repairs will focus on five bridge sites along the interstate and will also include a paving operation once those repairs are complete.

“We do understand there’s going to be the possibility of backups for folks who are traveling in that area, so we suggest that folks give themselves extra time, especially during peak travel hours,” TDOT spokesperson Mark Nagi said.

The road work is expected to run around the clock during the spring and summer months, and while the project will likely affect traffic, Nagi said the finished product will improve safety and road conditions in the area.

“This is one of those things where it’s short term pain for long term gain,” Nagi said. “We understand that it’s going to be an inconvenience for the next few months, but it’s going to make for a safer and more efficient roadway for years to come.”

TDOT is asking drivers to slow down and use caution in these construction zones. Drivers are also encouraged to be mindful of road crews, who will be working close to open lane of traffic.

The construction is expected to end Aug. 31.

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