The I-24 SMART Corridor is starting to take shape along one of Middle Tennessee’s busiest roads.
Robert Jackson drives to and from Rutherford County often.
“It’s a mess right now,” said Jackson.
Add a crash and Jackson said get ready to wait.
“Guaranteed an extra 30 minutes or 45 minutes in traffic or maybe even longer,” said Jackson.
The Tennessee Department of Transportation’s fix — an $80 million SMART Corridor, the first in the state.
Some of the work you can start to see, like ramp extensions and emergency pull-offs at I-24 eastbound and Harding Place.
others are hidden from drivers.
Will Reid is the Assistant Chief Engineer of Operations at TDOT.
“Some of the things that are going on – our connecting sections of fiber communication line that were already out on the corridor – basically connecting some of the dots,” said Reid.
Reid said that communication will intake real-time traffic issues, like crashes and rush hour backups, project that information and the best alternates for drivers through overhead signs and travel information boards.
“What we are aiming to do here is to provide information to the driver such that they have more reliability in their commute, also clearing incidents quicker,” said Reid.
Jackson said he can already see the benefits.
“If there’s a sign and it’s already lit up and people start to see other people go the other way, they will know so, too,” said Jackson.
Reid described the ultimate impact.
“We think it’s going to be a big change because we don’t have the resources to build our way out of congestion,” said Reid. “So we are using technology to manage congestion.”
Technology that could pave the way for the rest of the state.
“We’re excited about it,” said Reid. “We think we’re going to have some best practices that lead to improvements on other corridors.”
The SMART corridor is scheduled to be completed in the winter of 2023.