published Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

New I-75 ramp opens in Ooltewah

A new ramp onto Interstate 75 was opened today in Ooltewah.

Drivers traveling west on Lee Highway now have their own ramp onto I-75, according to the Tennessee Department of Transportation. Traffic coming from Hunter and Mountain View roads will continue to use the current on-ramp, but there will no longer be a conflict with traffic getting onto the interstate from the other direction, TDOT says.

In addition, as the project to widen I-75 and reconstruct the interchange at Ooltewah nears completion, the temporary ramp accessing I-75 South from Hilltop Drive has been closed.

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HowBoutThemVols said...

The new ramp for westbound Lee Hwy travelers who want to go south on I-75 at the Ooltewah exit 11 is great! The road planners got this one right and it works great. Certainly this will help with traffic entering I-75 south at Ooltewah.

But... it appears road planners have given us one good thing and taken away another. The closing of the temporary ramp installed on Hilltop Dr. (near Miller Industries) during interstate construction primarily for Ooltewah's Hunter Road area travelers wanting to enter I-75 southbound is a bad thing! Moving the traffic that has been using the temporary ramp back to the exit 11 interchange is a mistake.

Two problems here:

First, traffic from Hunter Road and Mountain View Road (and Snow Hill, etc.) now have to take turns behind the Kangaroo Mart and the Super 8 Motel at the traffic light to even get onto Lee Hwy eastbound (or is it northbound?) to then have a chance to share two lanes headed for the I-75 southbound ramp. This will create backups on Hunter Road and Mountain View Road which are unnecessary.

Second, to add insult to traffic backup injury, once this two-lane traffic has negotiated the turn toward the I-75 ramp, we will have to instantly merge from two lanes down to one lane while accelerating to highway speeds. Here we go again; another bottleneck!

It's as if planners (or the politicians who appropriate for them) are insuring their job security by only building enough to barely handle existing capacity. There appears to be no desire to plan AHEAD! We (the taxpayers) have just spent a large fortune for all this construction and beautiful wide interstate lanes in the Ooltewah area, only to barely meet existing capacity. None of us has to be a planner to see that this as a problem.

If we can have our Hilltop Dr. southbound I-75 on-ramp back again, much of the coming congestion at the exit 11 interchange will be eliminated. And how much worse will this congestion be when school starts up again! School traffic is a large amount of additional traffic that will have to go through this same interchange when school starts back again. Why not divert as much traffic away from this interchange as possible so that the improvements can serve us for years into the future?

And another thing - if the Chattanooga City Council votes to re-zone a parcel of land just one mile north of this interchange on Hunter Road at the July 13 City Council meeting to R3, developers from Florida will soon build a 254 unit apartment complex that will deliver another 500 to 1000 cars to this interchange each morning and each afternoon. At least this problem can be averted by the Chattanooga City Council doing the right thing and denying this R3 re-zoning request. Not only will that help with the traffic at the exit 11 interchange, but it will avoid creating a new major traffic safety concern on Hunter Road.

July 6, 2010 at 1:37 a.m.
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