NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Frustrated drivers continue to be caught in congestion as traffic to Nashville International Airport (BNA) backs up onto Interstate 40 night after night.
Airport and state transportation leaders are working to address the issue.
It’s a common sight and a headache for drivers – backups on I-40 as cars line up to get to the airport.
The airport has three entrances: Exit 216A, Exit 216B, and access via Murfreesboro Pike to Donelson Pike. The first exit on I-40 East often backs up to the interstate, with some people apparently unaware of the other options. However, there are other contributing factors fueling the backups.
In a statement to News 2, BNA representatives said in part:
“Drivers arriving earlier than necessary or idling on the curbs for an extended period of time add to the congestion at the airport and should consider using the cell phone lot conveniently located just three miles from the airport at 1415 Murfreesboro Pike. As part of our commitment to serving the growth of Middle Tennessee, both the Tennessee Department of Transportation and the Airport Authority are working to increase roadway capacity.
“I know that the airport is looking at various options. The Airport Authority, what they’re doing on that property is under their control and they’re looking at different solutions,” said Butch Eley, commissioner of transportation for the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT).
At a recent press conference, News 2 spoke with Eley about the long-term solutions. The commissioner also pointed to the I-40 interchange under construction as a possible solution to congestion.
“So, that project out there is an example of what we’re doing from the state standpoint on the interchange, which will aid being able to get people in and out of the airport more quickly. I think it’s a great example of why we needed this modernization act,” said Eley.
The project along I-40 at the Donelson Pike interchange southeast of downtown Nashville involves the relocation of the interchange and the existing state route.
TDOT officials said the current configuration cannot accommodate the current and future traffic demands of Donelson Pike and BNA.
The interchange is expected to be complete in 2027. Until then, for some flyers, their wait will start long before they reach their terminal.