The contractor on the $32 million Interstate 24 interchange improvement project near Broad and Market streets will shift the flow of motorists to a new traffic pattern that will go into effect at 9 a.m. Monday, according to the Tennessee Department of Transportation.
"Currently northbound Broad Street traffic accesses I-24 east via 25th Street and Long Street," TDOT spokesperson Jennifer Flynn said. "After the contractor completes the traffic pattern modification, the Long Street ramp will be closed."
She said drivers will be directed to use 26th Street and Market Street to get to eastbound I-24 from northbound Broad Street.
Access to eastbound I-24 from southbound Market Street will also be affected with the closure of the existing loop ramp to eastbound I-24, according to officials. Traffic will access I-24 east at a temporary signal on Market Street just south of the I-24 underpass.
Drivers are urged to be alert and follow the signs as they adjust to the new traffic pattern, Flynn said in the statement.
Wright Brothers Construction Co. Inc. is the contractor on the 1.6-mile project. The contractor will replace the loops and ramps that serve as exits and entrances of I-24 east and U.S. 27 to Broad Street, Williams Street and Market Street with a new, one-way ramp and frontage road, Flynn said.
The new ramp and frontage road will exit I-24 west at the I-24 and U.S. 27 interchange between the old Wheland Foundry site and the Tennessee River and run parallel to I24, according to officials. The project will also include bridge and retaining wall construction and installation of new traffic signals and lighting.
In 2013, TDOT said it was doing preliminary engineering and design work and some $3.7 million had been approved and the rest of the work would need funding. The agency then estimated $28 million for interstate widening and $9 million for the interchange work.
The road work is considered the biggest change in decades for motorists exiting I-24 to Chattanooga's Southside and Lookout Mountain.
The South Broad District Plan, developed in 2018 by the city, is expected to guide future development in the area bounded by the foundry land, Howard School, I-24 and Chattanooga Creek, the Times Free Press previously reported.
The plan foresees an array of new housing along with commercial and retail space, upgraded parks, streets, sidewalks and other infrastructure, according to officials.
County Mayor Jim Coppinger praised the work last October as Wright Brothers was preparing to start the work.
"This new interchange will help lead to the revitalization of this part of Hamilton County," Coppinger said.
The completion target is on or before Aug. 31, 2023, according to TDOT.
Contact Ben Benton at email@example.com or 423-757-6569. Follow him on Twitter @BenBenton.