A road work project that will eventually pave the way for new development of the city’s South Broad District is getting started soon.
Tennessee Department of Transportation crews recently began the first phase of work on the Interstate 24 interchange coming from Nashville to Chattanooga.
Officials said the changes will allow for easier access to the former Wheland Foundry and U.S. Pipe sites, which are primed for new developments.
DYK: The South Broad District is bordered by the Tennessee River, I-24, and the Chattanooga Creek. It includes the former Wheland and US Pipe foundries, the Southside Gardens Neighborhood, and The Howard School.
So what’s happening with the roads?
- The 1.6-mile project will replace the loops and ramps that serve as exits/entrances (at Broad, Williams, and Market streets) on I-24 East and U.S. 27 with a one-way ramp + frontage road.
- The new frontage road will have signalized intersections at Broad, Williams, and Market streets.
- The new ramp and frontage road will exit I-24 — west of the I-24 and U.S. 27 interchange — between the old Wheland Foundry site and the Tennessee River, and will run parallel to I-24.
- You can watch this video for visuals.
What does this have to do with economic development?
- The changes will provide better access to the 141-acre property — now vacant except for big, old, empty shells of buildings — that had been the Wheland Foundry and U.S. Pipe sites.
- Owners of the property want to turn it into a mixed-use development, including homes, so the connectivity to downtown is ideal.
- A 2018 plan for the South Broad District will likely guide the development of the foundry land and nearby areas.
- In addition to more housing, the plan calls for commercial + retail space, infrastructure upgrades, and possibly an entertainment complex.
Why it matters
You’ll be noticing these road changes and — eventually — the redevelopment of the foundry sites will change the landscape of the South Broad District. Think about what new development on 141 acres at the entrance of the city will look like.
TDOT project fast facts
- A new bridge and retaining wall, along with new traffic signals, are also a part of the TDOT plan.
- The completion date is on or before Aug. 31, 2023.
- Construction signs have already been installed, and crews are in the beginning stages of relocating utilities. This work is expected to last several months.
- Most of the work will happen on the south side of I-24.
- A TDOT spokeswoman said motorists shouldn’t be heavily affected by the work.
- The project will cost $31.9 million and was included in the state’s 2017 IMPROVE Act legislation.