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Photo contributed by Tennessee Department of Transportation / An architect's rendering shows the off-ramp from U.S. Highway 27 North to Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. The rendering by Ragan-Smith Associates shows the general concept of extensive landscaping plans that use more than 1,000 trees, 1,300 daylilies, 1,200 blue iris and four acres of wildflowers on two downtown interchanges. The Tennessee Interstate Conservancy joined designers, private and public stakeholders and state and local governments in an effort planners say will make Chattanooga a model for similar projects across the state.

The U.S. 27 southbound on and off ramps at Martin Luther King Blvd. will be closed this weekend as contract crews continue working on the reconstruction project in downtown Chattanooga, according to a news release from the Tennessee Department of Transportation.

The closures will be in place from 7 p.m. on Friday to 6 a.m. Monday.

Drivers should travel cautiously through the construction area and pay attention to posted detours and signs, the release states.

If inclement weather or unforeseen circumstances occur, work will be rescheduled to take place at a later date. 

When the U.S. Highway 27 reconstruction project is finished, two landscaping projects — one at the Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard interchange and the other at the Fourth Street interchange — will transform the open spaces into lush plantings with species that provide visual interest most of the season. Planners call it the "Gateway to Chattanooga" project.

More than $1 billion has gone into interstate and other road work in Hamilton County since 2011, including on U.S. 27/I-24 and the massive ongoing spending at the I-75/I-24 split, according to the Tennessee Department of Transportation.

As work continues, both interchanges were cited this year as among the 100 worst traffic bottlenecks in America, according to a national trucking institute.

Motorists are encouraged to check travel conditions before leaving for their destination. They can also dial 511 from any phone to receive travel information from TDOT.

- Compiled by Kim Sebring

 

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