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Truck Lane, Auxiliary Lane, Safety Upgrades Part Of I-40 Plan

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Truck Lane, Auxiliary Lane, Safety Upgrades Part Of I-40 Plan

The addition of a truck lane between Cookeville and Monterey as well as coming up from Buffalo Valley are suggested improvements in the Interstate 40 20-year plan.

T-DOT officials shared these ideas as part of a public meeting Monday night. The plan includes both current and future needs for the roadway. Consultant Jeanne Stevens said the projects are suggestions at this point, creating a pool of improvements that can be made as money becomes available.

“Probably the reason something hasn’t been done so far is because we know it’s not going to be easy,” Stevens said. “But as traffic grows, the justification for doing it becomes greater and greater. There was like a seven mile stretch identified. I think that that would need to be looked at. And it isn’t necessarily that the truck lane would extend for that entire distance, but that is the stretch that needs to be looked at in more detail to figure out exactly where the right placement would be.”

In addition to a truck climbing lane, a truck runaway ramp was also suggested in the westbound lanes of I-40 between Monterey and Cookeville. The exact placement of the truck lanes and the runaway ramp are subject to further engineering.

“Part of that engineering would be looking at soils, the geological issues, because obviously any time you start blasting into a mountainside, you don’t know how stable necessarily it might be unless you’ve done the due diligence,” Stevens said.

Stevens said the dug diligence work on the truck lanes would be an important next step.

The addition of an auxiliary lane between Cookeville’s Willow Avenue and Highway 111 are also part of the plan. Stevens said that help residents traveling short distances on the Interstate, a big factor in the traffic counts in Cookeville. A similar lane would be added in Crossville between exits 317 and 322.

“The weaving movement between the interstate traffic and the traffic exiting to and or entering from an interchange is really the main issues in these areas,” Stevens said. “So therefore an axillary lane is really the best solution to address the interaction of traffic within an environment like this. Adding a lane on the interstate is really better suited when congestion is the issue at hand, which is not what we saw through our capacity analysis.”

The Baxter interchange would also be upgraded at exit 280 including the widening of State Route 56 under the interstate. In Monterey, the 20-year plan includes the construction of a deceleration lane on the westbound side of Exit 301.

Safety improvements for the corridor are also suggested, in particular the installation of more cable-median barriers. In addition, the plan suggest upgrades to Interstate detour routes in the two counties. That includes Highway 70B between Cookeville and Monterey, Old Baxter Road from Gainesboro Grade to I-40, and Cookeville’s US 70 between Market Street and the Roane County line.

Smartway cameras, radar detection, weather sensors and highway signage are already in the plans for the corridor between Cookeville and Crossville. The study also suggested adding limited help service in the Cookeville-Crossville area where T-DOT service personnel will be on-call to help with flat tires, broken down vehicles and other slowdowns.

Stevens said Cookeville and Crossville’s growth makes this portion of I-40 an important part of the statewide approach.


The post Truck Lane, Auxiliary Lane, Safety Upgrades Part Of I-40 Plan appeared first on News Talk 94.1/AM 1600.