The head of the Tennessee Department of Transportation said he understands congestion continues to increase on Upper Cumberland stretches of Interstate 40.
Commissioner Butch Eley joined other T-DOT leaders at a press conference Thursday to address the state’s new “Build With Us” plan. Eley said Monterey mountain and the Baxter interchange examples of where the state needs to get to work.
“It’s certainly an issue but it’s all over the state,” Eley said. “Anybody that drives our state understands that we need three lanes in many parts of the state throughout the state.”
Eley said the “Build With Us” plan hopes to accomplish this by utilizing Public-Private Partnerships. He said by having private entities invest, construct, and bear the cost of interstate expansion in urban areas, the state can then use that funding to invest in rural communities.
Eley said when it comes to Tennessee and its infrastructure, we are at a “critical junction.” He said Governor Bill Lee is leaning into the issue and making sure transportation and infrastructure as part of his agenda this term.
“And we’ve got some things that are definitely part of the tools to be able to expedite what we’re doing and be able to do more as the future comes,” Eley said. “Just to clarify, some of you have probably heard some of the Governor’s remarks from the Rural Summit on Tuesday (…) He is not proposing what you would think of with traditional toll roads or toll booths from point A to point B.”
Eley said they are looking at a modern approach to utilize what’s called “choice lanes.” He said drivers would be able to choose an express lane option, in hopes of getting people to move more quickly.