Pilot Flying J is America's largest operator of travel centers and plazas with more than 550 gas stations and truck stops in 47 states.
But south of its home base in Knox County, Pilot doesn't have an outlet along Interstate 75 until motorists reach Dalton, Ga.
By June, however, Pilot plans to fill the void with a new travel center at Exit 20 on I-75 in Cleveland, Tenn. The $4 million facility -- a former BP station which Pilot bought and is expanding -- will add a McDonald's franchise along with a combined Cinnabon and Subway outlet in the Pilot store.
"We think this is a great location, just on the outskirts of Chattanooga, and it fits right into our network," said Mike Mulligan, vice president of development for Pilot.
The interchange of APD-40 and Interstate 75 at exit 20 is the road to a proposed new industrial park in southern Bradley County, Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis said.
The new Pilot travel center will include seven showers and a parking lot for semi-trailers. But like most such Pilot stations, four out of five of those visiting Pilot are car travelers, Mulligan said.
"We cater to both the locals and transients and we serve both the 4-wheel and the 18-wheel traveler," he said.
The new station will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and employ more than 80 employees, officials said.