Drivers who end up sitting on Interstate 440 waiting to exit may soon get relief due to upgrades from the Tennessee Department of Transportation.
TDOT studied the most congested exits to find out where lane expansions, new signals and other traffic upgrades could help.
More than 106,000 vehicles travel on I-440 every day.
At Murphy Road and Hillsboro Road, cars often end up backing onto the interstate waiting to exit because the exit ramp can't accommodate the volume of cars exiting.
"Anytime we have some cars sitting still and other cars moving on the main line that is a problem," TDOT Spokeswoman Deanna Lambert said. "That becomes an area prone for accidents."
The department just finished Phase I of the Ramp Queue Program, which studied the traffic flows.
Phase II will involve environmental studies and design work to elevate the ramp congestion.
Similar work is underway in Concord Road in Williamson County.
"TDOT is definitely looking at doing whatever we can do to make sure it's a safer environment for everybody," Lambert said. "Some of the safety improvements could be widening or lengthening the on ramp to allow more vehicles to get on to the main line."
She continued, "We could also do something as simple as adding a traffic signal or even signs to the area."
TDOT has not said when the types of upgrades will be finalized or when construction could begin.
It is also unclear what type of road closures or detours may be required to complete the upgrades to the off ramps.
Drivers who use the Hillsboro Road and Murphy Road exit are glad to see improvements in the works for the exits.
"It is frustrating," Peggy Crawford said. "I had a good friend that had a wreck here."
Gerald Gregory said he has been left waiting on the interstate to exit I-440.
"I get nervous sitting out there in traffic like that," he said
The department's goal is to have all of the upgrades completed by 2015.
The Federal Highway Administration funds the Ramp Queue Program.
TDOT has not said how much money the upgrades will ultimately cost.
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