KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE)- The Tennessee Department of Transportation will soon begin a multimillion dollar reconstruction project of Interstate 640 in Knoxville, specifically between Broadway and the I-40 interchange on the east end.
Interstate 640 was originally constructed in 1970 and completed in 1982. On average, more than 90,000 travel on that busy stretch of road each day.
It was an important roadway to bring people into Knoxville for the World’s Fair. For the past decade, TDOT has been working to give it a facelift.
“The section we’re talking about and doing the rehabilitation on, it’s a concrete section originally,” TDOT Region 1 Director Steve Borden said. “It’s got 15 inches on concrete total, but it’s been a vital corridor for us in Knoxville for over the years.”
TDOT has already finished the resurfacing of the west portion of I-640. Now it’s time for the rehabilitation of the east side.
“Last year from I-275 to I-40 we were able to complete that resurfacing project and now we’re at a point where we can do the east side,” Borden said.
The east side portion is going to be a more extensive project since they are rehabilitating the substandard pavement sections through a process called rubblization.
John Niebel is the General Manager of Construction for Rogers Group, Inc., which is the group that won the construction contract bid.
“We’re going to work as diligently as possible to get the project done as quickly as possible, efficiently as possible, and of the best quality as we can,” he said.
TDOT was able to get extra funding for the project. The estimated cost is around 21 million dollars.
Borden said, “typically on the interstates in East Tennessee, I get about $25 million dollars a year for resurfacing our interstates.”
Borden adds, “it’s going to be a lot more work, it’s a lot more intensive, it’s reconstructing the base.”
Niebel estimates that there will be around 40 workers out on the road daily.
He said, “predominately most of our workforce is locally here. We do have state specialty contractors that we employ.”
State Troopers are also asking drivers to be cautious.
TDOT is estimating that this project will be completed in November of 2023. Construction will begin next week.
According to TDOT spokesperson Mark Nagi, traffic on I-640 will be reduced to two lanes between the Broadway exit and I-40 beginning Sunday, July 10, at 7 p.m.
The speed limit will be reduced to 55 miles per hour. A reminder, traffic fines double in work zones.