As preliminary work and field surveys continue for the Interstate 440 reconstruction project, the Tennessee Department of Transportation is working to solidify its incident response plan.
TDOT said it anticipates heavy congestion along the interstate when the major phase of the project begins in February of 2019.
The agency is in the process of anticipating congestion points and planning routes for best access.
Officials said they’re considering putting dedicated HELP truck operators on I-440, bringing in extra staff and using the grassy median to create a turnaround area for its HELP operators and emergency responders.
Lead TDOT HELP Operator, Todd Stepp, said in a two to three month period, his team responds to about 2,000 calls just on I-440.
“Half of those are disabled vehicles,” said Stepp. “So if you think, over three months that cars have flat tires or are out of gas, or overheating, some of those things can be avoided. Make sure you have gas in your cars. If you know something is wrong with your vehicle, don’t enter those construction areas without shoulders.”
Nightly, there are intermittent shoulder and lane closures for preliminary work from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.
When the second major phase of the project begins in February, traffic will be reduced to one lane.