Alcoa Highway widening among road projects funded by gas tax increase

NASHVILLE (WATE) – The Tennessee Department of Transportation released its three-year Transportation Improvement Plan, which uses funds from the recent passage of the IMPROVE Act and other one-time funding to fund a number of backlogged projects.

One of those is the long planned widening of Alcoa Highway in Knox and Blount counties. The first is the Alcoa Highway improvements project which is already underway from Maloney Road to Woodson Drive. This project aims to widen the highway by making it two lanes in each direction instead of one and eliminating turns against traffic. It will be completed in four sections.

The Maloney Road to Woodson Drive section is expected to be completed in November 2019.

Michael Powers of Star Power Sports says off of Alcoa Highway says his drive to work sometime seemed dangerous.

“Very fast moving vehicles, difficult to turn in and out of the businesses in this stretch and I understand there were several accidents,” said Powers.

Powers says he looks forward to the finished product despite the decrease in business since construction started.

“I think the businesses in this area will grow and prosper,” said Powers. “I think the three bridges and the side roads will assist in helping customers be able to navigate these areas much easier

Construction for the other project, the relocated Alcoa Highway Project, is not underway yet. It will create a corridor near the airport that would serve commuters to and from Knoxville and those going to and from the airport. This project will be completed in three phases.

Mark Nagi with the Tennessee Department of Transportation says the point of these projects is to make the road safer for drivers.

“Anybody who drives on Alcoa Highway recognizes the heave traffic volumes that you get there,” said Nagi. “People going to and from work, people going to and from the airport, so when these projects are complete, it’s going to be a safer and more efficient roadway for motorists.”

All sections of both projects will take a few years to complete.

Other major projects on the list are pavement rehabilitation and safety improvements on Interstate 440 in Davidson County, the reconstruction of the I-75/I-24 interchange in Hamilton County, and the widening of U.S. 78 in Shelby County.

The IMPROVE Act is expected to raise around $150 million for infrastructure needs in fiscal year 2018.

More online: Read the full list of road projects

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