NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Carson Yates is one of many Tennessee drivers frustrated with traffic.
“Traffic is unbelievably bad for the population,” he said. “I’ve lived in Boston, I’ve lived in D.C. It seems like traffic here is managed less efficiently than even these larger cities.”
But soon, that congestion could change. The Tennessee Department of Transportation released its ‘Build With Us’ plan—a complete overhaul of how it operates.
“It basically boils down to congestion, to delivery, and to workforce,” TDOT Commissioner Butch Eley said.
It’s one piece of a larger infrastructure plan that Gov. Bill Lee (R-Tennessee) has endorsed as part of his re-election. With Tennessee’s rapid growth comes the need to accommodate for it.
“When Ford decided to come here, for example, a new interchange is needed on the interstate to make sure the traffic can get to that massive development,” Lee said. “That’s happening in multiple places across the state.”
The plan has one specific piece that all Tennesseans might be interested in. TDOT wants to potentially create a choice lane for interstates, though it’s still a long way out.
“All we’re doing right now is asking for the ability for this to be an option,” Eley said. “Right now, we can’t do this in Tennessee. So, what we’re doing is seeking the ability to do what other states are doing.”
That choice lane wouldn’t be free though—it would cost a few bucks and act as an express lane for drivers, though Eley said the department hadn’t done research on exactly what it would cost.
Wednesday’s announcement was simply a precursor to legislation that could come in next year’s General Assembly, not anything too specific on numbers. Eley said the department will begin asking for new possibilities to even exist—like choice lanes.
Just the thought of the lanes in the future leaves drivers, like Yates, a bit relieved.
“I think the express lane could be good, especially if it has the potential to divert through traffic around the more local traffic,” Yates said. “So, I think it’d be really encouraging if we could get, especially the traffic that’s not going to be pulling off anyway into a separate lane and de-clog some of the interstates.”