Interstate 24 marker

Interstate 24

I-24 highlighted in red
Route information
Length317.10 mi[1] (510.32 km)
Existed1962–present
Major junctions
West end I-57 in Pulleys Mill, IL
Major intersections
East end I-75 in East Ridge, TN
Location
CountryUnited States
States
Counties
Highway system
IL 23IL US 24
US 23KY US 25
SR 23 TN  SR 24
SR 23GA SR 24
SR 408GA SR 409 SR 410

Interstate 24 (I-24) is an Interstate Highway in the Midwestern and Southeastern United States. It runs diagonally from I-57, 10 miles (16 km) south of Marion, Illinois, to Chattanooga, Tennessee, at I-75. It travels through Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Georgia. As an even-numbered Interstate, it is signed as an east–west route, though the route follows a more southeast–northwest routing, passing through Nashville, Tennessee. The numbering deviates from the standard Interstate Highway System grid, lying further north than its number would indicate west of Nashville.

I-24 between Nashville and Chattanooga is part of a longer north–south freight corridor which runs between Chicago and Atlanta. The interstate has facilitated the rapid growth of the largest suburban corridor in the Nashville metropolitan area, which runs for more than 30 miles (48 km) southeast of the city and is considered the most congested stretch of highway in the state. The stretch through Chattanooga also experiences severe congestion, due to an unusually high volume of truck traffic.[2] The stretch of I-24 across the Cumberland Plateau, commonly known as "Monteagle Mountain", is considered one of the most hazardous stretches of highway in the United States, particularly for trucks, due to its steep descents, which measure a maximum of 6% grade.

As proposed by the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956, the western terminus of I-24 was originally located in Nashville. Most of the route between Nashville and Chattanooga was constructed in the 1960s, with the final section opening in 1971. After extensive lobbying from local politicians, the Bureau of Public Roads, the predecessor agency to the Federal Highway Administration, authorized an extension of I-24 to its present-day western terminus in Pulleys Mill, Illinois, in 1964. As a result, I-24 was the last mainline Interstate Highway in Tennessee and Kentucky to be completed, with the last sections in the two states opening in 1978 and 1980, respectively.

Route description

Lengths
  mi[1] km
IL 38.73 62.33
KY 93.37 150.26
TN 180.90 291.13
GA 4.10 6.60
Total 317.10 510.32

I-24 runs diagonally from I-57 south of Marion, Illinois to I-75 at Chattanooga, Tennessee. In Kentucky, the road passes through Paducah and Eddyville. Its length in Tennessee is longer than the other three states combined. There are two segments that are separated by the segment in Georgia. Through Georgia, it carries the unsigned State Route 409 (SR 409) designation for internal Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) purposes.[3]

Illinois

I-24 begins at exit 44 on I-57 in southern Williamson County, near the community of Pulleys Mill.[4] The highway heads southeast into rural Johnson County, bypassing Goreville to the east. It reaches an exit at Tunnel Hill Road, which serves Goreville and Tunnel Hill. The highway continues south to its next exit at U.S. Route 45 (US 45) north of Vienna. It reaches its next exit at Illinois Route 146 (IL 146) in eastern Vienna. I-24 heads southeast from Vienna into Massac County.[5] Its first exit in Massac County is at Big Bay Road, which serves the communities of Big Bay and New Columbia. I-24 continues southward, bypassing the community of Round Knob before entering Metropolis. The highway meets US 45 again in Metropolis and passes west of Fort Massac State Park. It leaves Metropolis and crosses the Interstate 24 Bridge over the Ohio River. After that, it continues into Kentucky.[6]

Kentucky

Whitehaven, the only historic house used as a rest area in the United States
Whitehaven, the only historic house used as a rest area in the United States

I-24 enters the Jackson Purchase region of western Kentucky on a north-south alignment. Immediately within McCracken County, the route begins gradually veering southeast, and enters the western fringes of Paducah a few miles later. The welcome center in Paducah utilizes Whitehaven, the only historic house in the United States used as a rest area. In Paducah, the interstate continues to shift southeast, and has interchanges with US 60, US 62, and US 45. Passing through the Hendron and Farley communities adjacent to Paducah, the highway shifts into a direct east-west alignment several miles later, and has an interchange with US 68 in Reidland. The route then enters Marshall County, and about seven miles (11 km) later reaches an interchange with I-69 and a connector road to US 62 and Calvert City to the north. Here, it begins a concurrency with the former. The two interstates then shift northeast and have an interchange with US 62 about one mile (1.6 km) later. A short distance later, the interstates cross the Tennessee River onto the Pennyroyal Plateau and Livingston County just north of Kentucky Dam and its Kentucky Lake impoundment. The highways then have an interchange with Route 453 north of Lake City and the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area. They then cross the Cumberland River about three miles (4.8 km) later into Lyon County a few miles north of Barkley Dam and Lake Barkley.[7]

Gradually veering eastward, the two interstates reach US 62 again near Kuttawa and Eddyville. Less than two miles (3.2 km) later, I-69 splits off to the northeast at a trumpet interchange, and I-24 passes through Mineral Mound State Park, veering southeast a few miles later. Passing through a mostly wooded area, the interstate crosses Route 93 without an interchange, and then has an interchange with Route 293 near the Kentucky State Penitentiary. It then crosses an inlet of Lake Barkley a few miles later. Some distance later, the freeway enters a landscape consisting mostly of farmland, and dips briefly into the southern tip of Caldwell County, where it has an interchange with Route 139. The interstate then enters Trigg County, and crosses the Muddy Fork Little River a short distance later. About five miles (8.0 km) later, the interstate has an interchange with US 68 and Route 80 between Cadiz and Hopkinsville. The highway then crosses into Christian County a few miles later. Passing over the next several miles through additional farmland and bypassing Hopkinsville to the southwest, the interstate reaches the southern terminus of I-169 at a trumpet interchange. About four miles (6.4 km) later, the interstate has a partial cloverleaf interchange with US 41 Alternate, which provides access to Hopkinsville to the north and Fort Campbell and Clarksville, Tennessee, to the south. I-24 then crosses into Tennessee about five miles (8.0 km) later.[7]

Tennessee

Clarksville and Western Highland Rim

I-24 crosses into Tennessee from Kentucky traveling in a southeasterly-to-northwesterly direction into Montgomery County, and serving as a major means of access to St. Louis and Chicago to the northwest. Immediately within the eastern outskirts of Clarksville, the fifth-largest city in Tennessee, the interstate reaches an interchange with State Route 48 (SR 48), less than one mile (1.6 km) later, which provides access to Fort Campbell. About three miles (4.8 km) later the interstate reaches US 79, which also provides access to Guthrie and Russellville in Kentucky to the northeast. Bypassing Clarksville to the east, the interstate next reaches SR 237. The highway then begins a steep descent, with the westbound lanes utilizing a truck climbing lane to ascend the grade from the east. It then crosses the Red River before reaching SR 76.

Leaving Clarksville, the highway enters a long straight section with several steep grades and crosses into Robertson County a short distance later. Several miles later, the interstate reaches an interchange with SR 49 near Pleasant View and Coopertown, which provides access to Springfield to the northeast and Ashland City to the southwest. The route then descends, utilizing another westbound truck lane, before briefly entering Cheatham County. The interstate then crosses another steep hill over the next several miles, utilizing an eastbound truck lane, before crossing into Davidson County. It then has an interchange with US 431 near the Joelton community, and begins a gradual descent into the Nashville Basin, containing a westbound truck lane. Passing over the next few miles through dense woodlands, the highway the highway reaches SR 45 (Old Hickory Boulevard) about five miles (8.0 km) later. Over the next three miles (4.8 km) beyond this point, the interstate crosses over another steep hill, utilizing truck lanes on both the eastbound and westbound ascent, before reaching Nashville at SR 155 (Briley Parkway).

Nashville metropolitan area

I-24 eastbound in Nashville concurrent with I-65
I-24 eastbound in Nashville concurrent with I-65

Entering Nashville, I-24 has a cloverleaf interchange with SR-155 (Briley Parkway), a northern controlled-access beltway around Nashville. Less than one mile (1.6 km) later, the interstate joins a concurrency with I-65, where the combined routes carry eight through lanes, and travel due south. About one mile (1.6 km) later is an interchange with U.S. Route 41 Alternate (US 41A)/US 431 (Trinity Lane). About one mile (1.6 km) beyond this point, I-65 splits off and I-24 passes along the east side of downtown Nashville, where it reduces to six lanes and has interchanges with US 41, US 431, and US 31E, and passes near Nissan Stadium. The interstate then crosses the Cumberland River on the Silliman Evans Bridge, and joins in a concurrency with I-40, travelling southeast-to-northwest with eight through lanes. Two miles (3.2 km) later, I-40 splits off eastwardly, heading toward Knoxville. Located at this interchange is also a partial interchange with US 41/US 70S.[8]

Less than one mi (1.6 km) later is an interchange with the eastern terminus of I-440, which is also accessible from I-40 nearby. Between I-40 and I-440, I-24's eastbound lanes are split into two barrier-separated carriageways to prevent weaving of traffic destined from I-40 to I-440. A short distance later is once again an interchange with SR 155 (Briley Parkway/Thompson Lane) near the Nashville International Airport. Beginning at the next exit, SR 255 (Harding Place), the left lanes operate as HOV lanes during rush hour. Over the next few miles, I-24 passes through the Antioch neighborhood, where it has interchanges with Haywood Lane and SR 254 (Bell Road), and crosses Mill Creek. I-24 then continues through southeast Nashville, reaching interchanges with Hickory Hollow Parkway and SR 171 (Old Hickory Boulevard).[8]

Continuing through the southeastern suburbs of Nashville, I-24 crosses into Rutherford County about two miles (3.2 km) beyond. Immediately within the city of LaVergne, the interstate has an exit with a connector road to that city. It then enters Smyrna where it first has an interchange with SR 266 (Sam Ridley Pkwy.). The interstate then enters a long straightaway, and reaches an interchange with SR 102 (Almaville Road), which also serves Smyrna and the Nissan Smyrna Assembly Plant. Leaving Smyrna, the route enters an unincorporated urban area, before reaching a three-level interchange with I-840, the outer southern beltway around Nashville. I-24 then enters Murfreesboro, the largest suburb of Nashville and sixth-largest city in Tennessee. The interstate first has an interchange with a local thoroughfare(Medical Center Parkway/Fortress Blvd), before reaching SR 96, which also connects to Franklin. A short distance later, the interstate crosses the west fork of the Stones River, and reaches SR 99 (New Salem Highway). A short distance later, the highway reaches US  231, which also connects to Lebanon and Shelbyville. Here, the HOV lane restriction terminates, and the interstate reduces from eight to four lanes. Leaving Murfreesboro, the interstate three miles (4.8 km) later has an interchange with the Joe B. Jackson Parkway, which serves as an outer beltway around southeast Murfreesboro.

Eastern Nashville Basin and Eastern Highland Rim

Upon leaving Murfreesboro, I-24 enters a rural area, passing through a mix of farmland and woodlands, and maintaining a straight alignment Several miles later, the interstate begins a gradual, largely unnoticeable, ascent out of the Nashville Basin onto the Eastern Highland Rim. A few miles later, the interstate briefly enters Bedford County, and then has an interchange with SR 64, which connects to Shelbyville, near the Bedford-Coffee County line. I-24 then briefly descends, curves to the south, then the east, before once again resuming its gradual ascent, where it surpasses an elevation of 1,000 feet (300 m) for the first time in Tennessee.[9] Upon reaching the top of the rim several miles later, the interstate has an interchange with US 41. Five miles (8.0 km) later, the highway enters Manchester, where it crosses the Little Duck River and then has interchanges with SR 53 and SR 55 in short proximity. A short distance later, the highway reaches an interchange with US 41 once again. Leaving Manchester, the interstate maintains its relatively straight trajectory and passes through the northeastern corner of Arnold Air Force Base over a distance of about three miles (4.8 km). The interstate then travels over the next ten miles (16 km) through a wide swath of mostly farmland, before entering Grundy County and reaching an interchange with US 64 and SR 50 near the town of Pelham, where it begins a concurrency with the former route that is largely unsigned. A short distance later, I-24 crosses the Elk River, before reaching the base of the Cumberland Plateau.

Monteagle Mountain and Cumberland Plateau gorge

See also: Monteagle Mountain

One of the most hazardous stretches of Interstate Highway in the United States is located where I-24 crosses the Cumberland Plateau on steep grades in Grundy and Marion County near the town of Monteagle, and is commonly known as "Monteagle Mountain" or "Monteagle". While all motorists are advised to exercise caution along this stretch, truckers are particularly vexed by Monteagle, and many have died in accidents along this stretch. The eastbound grade is particularly hazardous, with a protracted 4–6% grade over several miles. On this stretch, I-24 is three lanes in each direction, and contains two runaway truck ramps. Owing to geography, these two ramps are on the left side of the grade. The westbound downgrade of the plateau is also extremely hazardous and contains several sharp curves. Portions of this downgrade also feature offramp approach style lane dividers in order to slow motorists. Throughout the entire stretch across the Cumberland Plateau, the speed limit reduces to a maximum of 55 mph (89 km/h) and 45 mph (72 km/h) for trucks on both downgrades. At top of the Plateau, the interstate surpasses 2,000 feet (610 m) in elevation, has interchanges with US 41A and US 41, respectively, and crosses into East Tennessee at the Grundy-Marion County line.

The eastern Monteagle grade also has one of the three widest medians of any Interstate Highway; the others are I-8 through the In-Ko-Pah grade in California and I-84 through the Cabbage Hill grade east of Pendleton, Oregon. There is more than one mile (1.6 km) between the eastbound and westbound lanes at one point. The eastbound lanes descend the hill on one side of Monteagle Mountain as part of the original three-lane (two ascending, one descending) US 64 alignment, while the westbound lanes ascend the other side of the hill on new roadbed built for that purpose.

Westbound I-24 at the US 72 interchange
Westbound I-24 at the US 72 interchange

After descending Monteagle, I-24 travels for several miles through a vast flat gorge within the plateau characterized by long straightaways and few curves before reaching an interchange with US 72 near Kimball and South Pittsburg, where US 64 splits off. This exit is the primary means of access to Huntsville, Alabama, for motorists in East Tennessee. About three miles (4.8 km) later, the interstate has an interchange with SR 28 in Jasper, and crosses the Sequatchie River. Beyond this point, the east and westbound lanes split more than one-half mile (800 m) apart over a few miles, encompassing farms, homes, and a few businesses in between. The route then crosses a large mountain ridge, has an interchange with SR 27, and, about one mile (1.6 km) later, crosses the Nickajack Lake impoundment of the Tennessee River. Beyond this point, the highway travels through a narrow gorge over several miles, crossing the Running Water Creek and traveling under its namesake trestle. This stretch is extremely crooked, and can experience potentially strong crosswind. The interstate then enters Hamilton County and Eastern Time Zone, and then crosses into Georgia less than one-quarter mile (400 m) later.

Georgia and Chattanooga

Westbound I-24 in northwest Georgia at the interchange with I-59
Westbound I-24 in northwest Georgia at the interchange with I-59

In the state of Georgia, I-24 travels for four miles (6.4 km) in Dade County along the southern flank of Raccoon Mountain. Along this stretch, exits remain numbered according to Tennessee's mileage; however, the roadway mileposts are numbered according to Georgia's mileage.[10] This segment also carries the unsigned SR 409 designation for internal Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) purposes.[3] About 1.5 miles (2.4 km) after entering the state, the interstate has an interchange with the northern terminus of I-59, which provides access to Birmingham, Alabama, to the south. The route then shifts north, and has an interchange with Georgia State Route 299 (SR 299) in Wildwood about one mile (1.6 km) later before turning back north and reentering Tennessee about 34 mile (1.2 km) later.

Upon reentering Tennessee and Hamilton County, I-24 travels through Lookout Valley for several miles, and has an interchange with US 11/US 41/US 72 (Lee Highway) about three miles (4.8 km) later near the Tiftonia neighborhood. About two miles (3.2 km) later, the interstate curves sharply to the east, traveling on a narrow artificial causeway between the Tennessee River to the north and the northern tip of Lookout Mountain to the south. A short distance later, the interstate gradually curves 90 degrees to the north, entering Chattanooga. Less than one mile (1.6 km) later is a three-way interchange with US 27 (unsigned I-124 northbound) northbound, which provides access to downtown Chattanooga directly to the north. Forming an unsigned concurrency with US 27, the highways sharply curve 90 degrees to the east, before widening to eight lanes. I-24 then briefly dips to the south, where it has a trumpet interchange with a connector to SR 8. A short distance later, US 27 splits off to the south at a near-cloverleaf interchange as Rossville Boulevard, where the interstate reduces to six lanes. It then travels through the south side of Chattanooga before reaching a partial interchange with US 41/US 76. Here I-24 reaches the "Ridge Cut", a one-quarter-mile (400 m)[clarification needed] stretch where the interstate ascends Missionary Ridge on a steep grade, first curving sharply to the north at the bottom of the ascent and then to the east again at the top. This stretch is notorious for severe congestion, and is especially hazardous to truckers. At the top of the Ridge Cut, the interstate enters a straight section and begins a gradual descent over a short distance. Traveling roughly along the boundary between Chattanooga and East Ridge, the interstate has interchanges with multiple local thoroughfares over the next several miles. It then reaches its western terminus with I-75 at a directional-T interchange, known locally as the "I-75/24 Split" or simply "The Split".

History

Planning

The stretch of I-24 between Nashville and Chattanooga was authorized by the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956, commonly known as the Interstate Highway Act.[11] The numbering was approved by the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO) on August 14, 1957.[12]

1955 Bureau of Public Roads highway plan for Nashville, showing the highway that became I-24 terminating there
1955 Bureau of Public Roads highway plan for Nashville, showing the highway that became I-24 terminating there

In 1957, officials in Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, and Missouri began an effort to extend I-24 west of its allocated western terminus in Nashville to St. Louis; however, each of the states had difficulty reaching an agreement on the proposed routing.[13] Eventually, the debate evolved into two proposed alignments for the extension in Tennessee. The first alignment extended I-24 west of Nashville into Kentucky near Clarksville, and the second would have had I-24 run concurrent with I-40 west of Nashville for about 40 mi (64 km) to near Dickson, before splitting off to the northwest and crossing the Kentucky Lake impoundment of the Tennessee River a few miles before entering Kentucky.[13] This latter alignment was favored by many officials in Tennessee and Western Kentucky, but the federal government preferred the former, due to its proximitiy to Fort Campbell.

On September 17, 1963, the governors of the four states in a meeting with President John F. Kennedy reached an agreement on the alignment, which included the Nashville-to-Clarksville alignment in Tennessee and extended the route's western terminus to Pulleys Mill, Illinois.[14] The four governors also urged the approval of a new east–west interstate highway to run between Hayti, Missouri and Jackson, Tennessee, incorporating a then-unbuilt bridge across the Mississippi River that had been proposed since the early 1940s.[15] On August 18, 1964, the Bureau of Public Roads, the predecessor agency to the Federal Highway Administration, approved the I-24 extension; however, they only authorized the westernmost 27 mi (43 km) of the route between Missouri and Tennessee, which was designated as I-155 and terminates in Dyersburg, Tennessee.[16][17]

Initial construction

The first contract for the construction of I-24 in Tennessee was awarded on September 18, 1957, for a short segment in Chattanooga.[18] The first section to be completed was the western ascent of Monteagle Mountain, which stretched from US 64 near Pelham to US 41 in Monteagle, and eliminated a stretch of US 41 with several hazardous hairpin curves.[19] Work began in September 1958,[20] and the stretch opened to traffic on February 6, 1962.[21] In Nashville a short segment of the concurrent segment with I-40, located between Fesslers Lane and the eastern interchange with that route, was declared complete on January 11, 1965.[22] The section between the southern interchange with I-65 (then I-265) and Fesslers Lane was partially opened in late December 1963,[23] and fully opened on April 19, 1965.[24] The Silliman Evans Bridge along this stretch was dedicated on January 14, 1964.[25] On July 27, 1965, the short section between the southern interchange with I-65 (then I-265) and US 431 (Trinity Lane) was opened.[26] The Ridge Cut section in Chattanooga, which spanned between Fourth Avenue and Germantown Road, was dedicated on December 1, 1965.[27]

To construct the segment at the foot of Lookout Mountain west of downtown Chattanooga, engineers shifted the river channel to the north in order to avoid impeding the flow. This was accomplished by dredging out the north bank, and filling in along the south bank with approximately 250,000 tons of rock from a nearby quarry.[28] This stretch of I-24, which spanned from US 41 in Lookout Valley to 23rd Street near downtown Chattanooga, was completed on December 16, 1966, at a cost of approximately $15 million (equivalent to $97.1 million in 2021[29]), making it one of the most expensive highway projects, per mile, at the time.[30] I-24 was complete in Marion County to Monteagle Mountain in late 1966 and between US 41 in Manchester and US 64 near Pelham on July 27, 1967.[31] The short segment between SR 27 and SR 156 in Marion County, including the bridge over Nickajack Lake, opened on December 18, 1967.[32] The stretch between US 41 in Lookout Valley and the interchange with I-59 in Dade County, Georgia, was jointly opened to traffic by both states on September 10, 1968, along with the eight-northernmost-miles (13 km) of I-59.[33]

In Nashville, the short section between US 431 and the northern interchange with I-65, along with a short stretch of I-65 north of this section, opened to traffic on December 23, 1968.[34] On December 9, 1970, I-24 opened between US 231 in Murfreesboro and SR 64 near Beechgrove.[35] The route was opened between SR 171 in Nashville and US 231 in Murfreesboro on December 31, 1970.[36] The last segment of I-24 between Nashville and Chattanooga, the segment located between SR 64 near Beechgrove and US 41 northwest of Manchester, was opened and dedicated on December 16, 1971.[37]

Western extension

Work began on I-24 from the Kentucky line through Clarksville in 1970, and construction on the entirety of I-24 between Clarksville and Nashville was underway by 1972, with an estimated completion date of late 1974 or early 1975.[38] Construction on this approximately 44-mile (71 km) segment, the last segment of mainline Interstate Highway completed in Tennessee, proved to be difficult due to the rugged and hilly terrain.[39] The approximately 32-mile (51 km) segment between US 68 in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, and US 79 in Clarksville, Tennessee, was jointly opened to traffic by both states on September 12, 1975.[40][41] The 15-mile (24 km) section between US 79 and SR 49 in Robertson County was completed in September 1976.[42] The last segment of I-24 in Tennessee, between SR 49 and I-65 in Nashville, was opened to traffic on January 5, 1978, more than two years behind schedule.[38][43]

I-24 Bridge connecting Illinois with Kentucky across the Ohio River
I-24 Bridge connecting Illinois with Kentucky across the Ohio River

A groundbreaking ceremony for the first stretch of I-24 in Kentucky was held on December 6, 1967, in Lyon County.[44][45] The section of I-24 in Illinois was authorized for engineering by 1966 and authorized for construction by 1968.[46][47] The first section of I-24 in Illinois, located between US 45 in Vienna and US 45 in Metropolis, was dedicated and opened by then-Governor Dan Walker on January 15, 1974.[48] On October 18, 1974, the stretch between US 45 in Metropolis and US 60 in Paducah, including the Ohio River bridge, opened to traffic.[49] This was also the first stretch of I-24 to open in Kentucky.[50] The final segment of I-24 in Illinois, located between I-57 and US 45 in Vienna, was dedicated and opened to traffic by Governor Walker on January 24, 1976.[51] In October 1977, the stretch between US 68 in Reidland and US 62 east of Calvert City was completed.[50]

The 2.5 miles (4.0 km) section between US 62 near Calvert City and Route 453, including the Tennessee River Bridge, which had been completed approximately five years prior, was opened to traffic on October 25, 1979.[52] The section between US 60 in Paducah and US 68 in Reidland was opened and dedicated by then-governor Julian Carroll on December 15, 1978.[53] The stretch between US 62 On December 10, 1979, the stretch between Route 453 and US 60/641 in Eddyville, including the Cumberland River Bridge, was opened.[54] Construction on the bridge began in 1972, but issues caused by unusual rock formations at the site, believed to have been formed by the 1811–1812 New Madrid earthquakes or earlier quakes, delayed completion and resulted in the cost nearly tripling.[55] On March 20, 1980, the 2.7-mile (4.3 km) stretch in Eddyville between US 62/641 and the Western Kentucky Parkway (now I-69), along with the westernmost 3.4 miles (5.5 km) of the latter route, was opened.[56] I-24 was completed when the 23-mile (37 km) section opened to traffic from what is now I-69 to US 68 east of Cadiz on May 23, 1980.[57][50]

Major projects and expansions

Monteagle Mountain reconstruction

A project began in April 1985 that extensively straightened and rebuilt the eastbound lanes of I-24 on the eastern downgrade of Monteagle Mountain, and reduced the grade.[58] The project also added left shoulders and an additional runaway truck ramp, the latter of which was not originally planned.[59] This work was completed in 1989, and the lanes were reopened on July 11 of that year in a ceremony officiated by then-governor Ned McWherter.[58] The project experienced many setbacks including geological problems, which caused extensive delays.[60] Originally targeted for completion in December 1987 at a cost of $17 million (equivalent to $35.3 million in 2021[29]), the final cost was $29.5 million (equivalent to $56.9 million in 2021[29]).[58] During this project both directions of traffic were routed to the westbound lanes of I-24, which were separated by a jersey barrier, and a temporary runaway truck ramp for eastbound traffic was also provided along this alignment.[60] A truck station to allow for the adjustment of brakes opened in January 1992.[61] After the safety improvements were completed, accidents in the eastbound lanes of this stretch dropped from 54 in 1983 to 3 in 1991.[61]

Nashville

The Silliman Evans Bridge was widened from six to eight lanes in a project that completely closed the northbound span between January 20, 1974, and April 6, 1975, and the southbound span from April 6, 1975, to November 16, 1975.[62][63][64] This project also added shoulders to the bridge and removed railings that had been deemed unsafe and were believed to have played a role in multiple fatal accidents on the bridge.[62]

In November 1977, TDOT installed a system to detect tailgating vehicles in the westbound lanes of the concurrent segment with I-40, which consisted of sensors embedded in the roadway connected to overhead warning signs with flashing lights and horns.[65][66] The system was the first of its kind in the country, but experienced technical problems and was criticized as ineffective, leading to its decommission in July 1980.[67] This segment was widened from six to eight lanes between July 1979 and January 1980 by removing the right shoulders, narrowing the lanes by one foot (0.30 m), and shifting traffic slightly to the left.[68][69]

The 4.7-mile (7.6 km) stretch between near SR 255 (Harding Place) and near SR 254 (Bell Road) was widened to six lanes between April 1989 and November 1990.[70][71] Between November 1994 and November 1995, TDOT made safety modifications to I-24 through the eastern terminus with I-440 and the nearby split with I-40, which reconfigured the routes to provide direct access to I-440 westbound from I-40 westbound, splitting I-24's eastbound lanes into two barrier-separated carriageways.[72][73]

The approximately 9.3-mile (15.0 km) segment between Haywood Lane in Nashville and SR 266 in Smyrna was widened from four to eight lanes between June 1997 and December 1998, installing the first HOV lanes on I-24.[74] The 8.2-mile (13.2 km) portion between SR 266 and I-840 was widened from four to eight lanes between August 1998 and November 2000. The four-mile (6.4 km) segment between I-440 and Haywood Lane was widened from three to four lanes in each direction between March 2000 and May 2002 in a project that also improved the interchanges on this segment.[75] Widening of the segment between I-840 and SR 96 began in early 2004 and was completed in the summer of 2005.[76] This project added a new interchange at Medical Center Parkway. A project that widened I-24 from four to eight lanes between SR 96 and US 231, and also added a new interchange with SR 99, began in April 2006 and was completed on January 28, 2008.[77]

Chattanooga

In Chattanooga, the stretch between the bottom of the Ridge Cut and east of the Big Scramble was widened from four to six lanes in the mid to latter 1980s. Between May 1989 and November 1991, the Big Scramble was modified in a project that eliminated left-hand entrance and exit ramps, widened parts of the main carriageway, and converted the westbound lanes of I-24 into the ramp carrying I-24 westbound traffic to US 27 northbound.[71]

The original interchange with I-75, which was a simple directional-T design, had repeatedly been ranked as one of the top ten worst freight bottlenecks in the United States by the American Transportation Research Institute, and contained several sharp curves and other safety hazards. In December 2018, a contract was awarded to rebuild the interchange, with preliminary work beginning in May 2019.[78][79] The project consisted of eliminating left-hand entrance and exit ramps from I-75 onto I-24, straightening curves, widening I-75 to six lanes through the interchange, widening two ramps from I-75 to I-24 to three lanes, replacing two overpass bridges, and construction of a collector-distributor facility that carries traffic directly from US 41 and the Tennessee Welcome Center along I-75 northbound, providing direct access to both I-75 northbound and I-24 westbound. Additional space was also provided to widen the remaining ramps between I-75 and I-24 to three lanes, which will be done in the second phase.[80] The project was completed on August 19, 2021, at a cost of $133.5 million, making it the second-most expensive individual contract in state history at the time.[81] The second phase will widen the adjacent segment of I-24 west of the interchange, and lengthen auxiliary lanes on I-75 about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) north of the interchange.[81] In preparation for the second phase, the Belvoir Avenue overpass and Germantown Road underpass were replaced between May 2020 and August 2021; the latter replacement utilized accelerated bridge construction by shifting I-24 traffic onto the Germantown Road entrance and exit ramp and adjacent frontage roads.[82]

I-24 SMART Corridor

The 28-mile (45 km) stretch of I-24 between I-440 (Exit 53) in Nashville and US 231 (Exit 81) in Murfreesboro is currently in the process of being developed into the "I-24 SMART Corridor" in an effort to address congestion and mobility issues.[83] In recent years this stretch of I-24 has become the most congested highway corridor in the state, due to the rapid growth of the region. The project pairs this stretch with the adjacent paralleling stretch of US 41/70S (Murfreesboro Road), and all connecting roads in between. The first phase, which ran from October 2018 to December 2021 included the construction of emergency pull-offs, improvements to multiple entrance and exit ramps, the erection of additional roadside dynamic message signs, and upgrades to traffic signals along the corridor.[84] The second phase, which began in March 2022, includes the erection of 67 overhead gantries with signs between mileposts 53 and 70 that will display recommended variable speed limits and variable lane control signs for each lane.[85][86] The final phase will include the installation of ramp meters on certain on-ramps and the installation of additional CCTV cameras and DMS boards and ADA improvements along connecting arterials.[84]

Major incidents

On July 27, 1973, a station wagon traveling on the northbound span of the Silliman Evans Bridge in Nashville crashed through the bridge's guardrails, exited the roadway, and landed on the ground about 100 feet (30 m) below, killing eight of the nine occupants and injuring the other.[87] The accident was investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), which named a number of unsafe design features of the bridge as contributors to the crash. The report also concluded that the state had been aware of the safety hazards of the bridge's rails prior to the accident, which had played a role in previous fatal accidents on the bridge.[88][89] This accident was cited as the primary event that led to the widening project on the bridge months later.

In 1979, structural problems were discovered on the Ohio River Bridge, including 119 cracks as a result of defective welding in the tie girders.[90] The bridge was closed on August 3, 1979, and remained closed to all traffic through October 1980 and all truck traffic until the summer of 1981.[91]

On May 18, 2010, it was announced that a sinkhole was found in the eastbound lanes of I-24 in Grundy County near the exit to US 64/SR 50 (exit 127). TDOT officials stated that the hole was growing and diverted traffic onto the westbound lanes.[92] Following emergency repairs, the highway was reopened several days later.[93]

Future

TDOT and GDOT are jointly making preparations to widen the 10-mile (16 km) stretch of I-24 from I-59 to US 27 in Chattanooga to six lanes. This project is expected to be split into three phases, due to its location within two states and the difficulties of expanding the stretch which is located on a narrow artificial causeway between Lookout Mountain and the Tennessee River. This stretch has long experienced severe congestion issues, and is considered a major bottleneck, particularly for trucks.[94]

Other stretches of I-24 planned to be widened in the near future include the stretch through Clarksville, the stretch between SR 45 and I-65 northwest of Nashville, and the eastern leg of the downtown loop in Nashville between I-65 and I-40.[95][96]

Exit list

StateCountyLocationmi[97][98]kmExit[99]DestinationsNotes
IllinoisWilliamsonSouthern Precinct0.000.00
I-57 to I-64 – Memphis, Chicago, St. Louis
Western terminus; I-57 exit 44
JohnsonTunnel Hill Precinct7.2211.627 CR 12 (Tunnel Hill Road) – Tunnel Hill, Goreville
Bloomfield Precinct13.6421.9514 US 45 – Vienna, Harrisburg
Vienna16.0025.7516 IL 146 – Vienna, Golconda
MassacGeorges Creek Precinct26.5542.7327 CR 10 (Big Bay Road) – New Columbia, Big BayNo services
Metropolis37.1659.8037 US 45 – Metropolis, BrookportTo the Illinois Welcome Center/ Rest Area
Ohio River38.73
0.000
62.33
0.000
Interstate 24 Bridge; Illinois–Kentucky state line
KentuckyMcCrackenPaducah2.9584.7603 KY 305 – Paducah
4.3286.9654
I-24 BL east / US 60 – Paducah, Wickliffe
Western terminus of I-24 Bus.; access to Kentucky Oaks Mall
6.387–
6.865
10.279–
11.048
7 US 45 / US 62 – Bardwell, Mayfield
11.03517.75911
I-24 BL west / KY 1954 (Husband Road) – Paducah
Eastern terminus of I-24 Bus.
16.15325.99616 US 68 – Paducah
Marshall24.96140.17125
I-69 south – Fulton, Calvert City
Western end of I-69 concurrency; signed as exits 25A (south) and 25B (north)
Calvert City26.56542.75227 US 62 – Calvert City, GilbertsvilleAccess to Kentucky Dam, Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park, and Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area
Livingston30.72949.45431 KY 453 – Smithland, Grand Rivers, The Trace (Land Between the Lakes)Serves Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area
LyonKuttawa39.55363.65440 KY 93 / US 62 / US 641 – Eddyville, Kuttawa
Eddyville41.64767.02442

I-69 north to Western Kentucky Parkway – Princeton, Elizabethtown
Eastern end of I-69 concurrency; I-69 exit 68
44.73271.98945
KY 293 to KY 93 – Princeton, Kentucky State Penitentiary
Caldwell55.63289.53156 KY 139 – Princeton, Cadiz
TriggCadiz65.313105.11165 US 68 / KY 80 – Cadiz, HopkinsvilleServes Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area
Christian72.692116.98673 KY 117 – Newstead, Gracey
81.243130.74881
I-169 north – Hopkinsville
Southern terminus of I-169, formerly known as the Pennyrile Parkway; exit 1 on I-169
HopkinsvilleOak Grove line85.608137.77386
US 41 Alt. – Hopkinsville, Fort Campbell
Oak Grove88.761142.84789 KY 115 – Oak Grove, PembrokeServes the Jefferson Davis Monument State Historic Site
 93.373
0.0
150.269
0.0
Kentucky–Tennessee state line
TennesseeMontgomeryClarksville1.52.41 SR 48 – Clarksville, Trenton
4.36.94 US 79 / SR 13 (Wilma Rudolph Blvd / LG Hwy) – Clarksville, GuthrieAccess to Robert Penn Warren Birthplace Museum, Fort Campbell Army Post, Paris Landing State Park, Austin Peay State University, Land Between the Lakes, Kentucky Lake, Lake Barkley, and Tennessee College of Applied Technology at Clarksville
7.912.78 SR 237 (Hankook Road / Rossview Road)Access to Dunbar Cave State Park
10.617.111 SR 76 (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway) – Adams, ClarksvilleAccess to Port Royal State Park
Robertson19.230.919 SR 256 (Maxey Road) – Adams
Pleasant ViewCoopertown line24.539.424 SR 49 – Pleasant View, Coopertown, Springfield, Ashland City
Cheatham31.150.131 SR 249 (New Hope Road)
DavidsonNashville35.156.535 US 431 (SR 65) / Union Hill Road – Springfield, Joelton
40.765.540 SR 45 (Old Hickory Boulevard)
43.670.243 SR 155 (Briley Parkway) – OprylandSR 155 exits 18A-B; access to Nashville International Airport
45.072.444 I-65 – Louisville, NashvilleWestern end of I-65 concurrency; signed as exits 44A (south) and exit 44B (north) eastbound; I-65 exit 88
46.374.587 US 431 (Trinity Lane / SR 65)Exit number follows I-65.
47.376.146B


I-65 south to I-40 west – Memphis, Huntsville
Southern end of I-65 concurrency; I-65 exit 86 southbound; signed as exits 46A (I-24 west/I-65 north) and 46B (I-65 south) westbound
47.476.347Jefferson Street
47.977.147A

US 41 (Ellington Parkway / SR 6) / US 431 / SR 11 to US 31E north / Spring Street
48.077.248James Robertson Parkway (US 31 / US 41 / US 431 / SR 6 / SR 11) – State Capitol
48.778.449Korean Vets Boulevard / Shelby Avenue – Nissan Stadium
49.479.550


I-40 west to I-65 south – Memphis, Huntsville
Western end of I-40 concurrency; signed as I-40 exit 211 westbound; signed as exits 50A (I-40 east/I-24 east) and 50B (I-40 west to I-65 south) eastbound
50.080.5212Hermitage Avenue (US 70/SR 24)Westbound signage; exit number follows I-40
50.481.1Fesslers LaneEastbound signage
51.482.752B
I-40 east – Knoxville
Eastern end of I-40 concurrency; I-40 exit 213A; access to Nashville International Airport
51.883.452 US 41 (Murfreesboro Road / US 70S / SR 1)
52.684.753
I-440 west – Memphis
Eastern terminus of I-440
53.485.954 SR 155 (Briley Parkway)SR 155 exits 3A-B
55.789.656 SR 255 (Harding Place)Access to Nashville International Airport
56.891.457Haywood Lane – AntiochSigned as exits 57A (west) and 57B (east) eastbound
59.495.659 SR 254 (Bell Road)
60.397.060Hickory Hollow Parkway
62.3100.362 SR 171 (Old Hickory Boulevard)
RutherfordLa Vergne64.5103.864Waldron Road – La Vergne
Smyrna66.1106.466
SR 266 east (Sam Ridley Parkway) – Smyrna
Signed as exits 66A (west) and 66B (east) eastbound
69.7112.270 SR 102 (Lee Victory Parkway / Almaville Road) – Smyrna
74.3119.674 I-840 – Memphis, Franklin, Knoxville, LebanonSigned as exits 74A (west) and 74B (east); I-840 exit 53 eastbound, 53A-B westbound
Murfreesboro75.9122.176Fortress Boulevard / Medical Center Parkway
77.7125.078 SR 96 – Franklin, MurfreesboroSigned as exits 78A (west) and 78B (east)
79.6128.180 SR 99 – Murfreesboro
80.9130.281 US 231 (SR 10) – Shelbyville, MurfreesboroSigned as exits 81A (south) and 81B (north) eastbound
83.4134.284Joe B. Jackson ParkwaySigned as exits 84A (south) and 84B (north) eastbound
88.7142.789Buchanan Road / Epps Mill Road
CoffeeBedford
county line
96.8155.897 SR 64 (Beechgrove Road) – Shelbyville
Coffee105.1169.1105 US 41 (SR 2) – Manchester
Manchester110.1177.2110 SR 53 – Manchester, Woodbury
111.0178.6111 SR 55 – Manchester, McMinnvilleSigned as exits 111A (south) and 111B (north) eastbound
113.6182.8114 US 41 (SR 2) – Manchester, Hillsboro
Arnold Air Force Base117.1188.5117Arnold Air Force Base – Tullahoma
Grundy127.5205.2127
US 64 west / SR 50 – Pelham, Winchester
West end of US 64 concurrency
MarionGrundy
county line
Monteagle134.4216.3134 US 41A (SR 15 / SR 56) – Monteagle, Sewanee
Marion135.5218.1135

To US 41 north (SR 2 west) – Monteagle, Tracy City
Western end of SR 2 concurrency
142.6229.5143
SR 2 east (Martin Springs Road)
Eastern end of SR 2 concurrency
Kimball151.7244.1152

US 64 east / US 72 (SR 27 west) to US 41 – Kimball, South Pittsburg
Eastern end of US 64 concurrency; western end of SR 27 concurrency
Jasper155.2249.8155 SR 28 – Jasper, Dunlap
158.1254.4158
SR 27 east – Nickajack Dam, Powells Crossroads
Eastern end of SR 27 concurrency
159.7257.0Interstate 24 Bridge over the Nickajack Lake
Haletown160.9258.9161 SR 156 – Haletown, New Hope
Hamilton
No major junctions
 166.9
0.00
268.6
0.00
Tennessee–Georgia state line
GeorgiaDade0.71.1167
I-59 south (SR 406) – Birmingham
Left exit and entrance westbound; exit numbers continue from Tennessee numbering; northern terminus of I-59
3.35.3169
SR 299 to US 11 – Wildwood
 4.13
171.0
6.65
275.2
Georgia–Tennessee state line
TennesseeHamiltonChattanooga173.7279.5174
US 41 / US 64 (US 72 / SR 2) to US 11 – Lookout Valley, Lookout Mountain
175.0281.6175Browns Ferry Road – Lookout Mountain
178.8–
179.3
287.8–
288.6
178
US 27 north (I-124 north) / US 11 / US 41 / US 64 (Broad Street / US 72 / SR 2) / SR 58 (Market Street) – Downtown Chattanooga, Lookout Mountain
Western end of US 27 concurrency; southern terminus of unsigned I-124
180.0289.7180


US 27 south (Rossville Boulevard) to SR 8 north / Central Avenue
Eastern end of US 27 concurrency; signed as exits 180A (north) and 180B (south)
180.9291.11814th Avenue
181.4291.9181A
US 41 south (US 76 east / SR 8 south) – East Ridge
Eastbound exit and westbound entrance
182.0292.9Missionary Ridge crossing
ChattanoogaEast Ridge line183.0294.5183Germantown Road / Belvoir AvenueSigned as exit 183A westbound
East Ridge184.0296.1184Moore Road
185.2298.1185A
I-75 south – Atlanta
I-75 exit 2
185B
I-75 north (US 74 east) – Knoxville
Eastern terminus; western terminus of US 74; I-75 exit 2; left exit
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

Related routes

Interstate 124

Main article: Interstate 124

Interstate 124 marker

Interstate 124

LocationChattanooga, Tennessee
Length1.97 mi[100] (3.17 km)
Existed1960–present

Interstate 124 (I-124) is an unsigned designation for a short segment of a four-lane controlled-access highway located in Chattanooga, Tennessee. During periods where this two-mile-long (3.2 km) segment of U.S. Route 27 (US 27) has been signed as I-124, it has served as a spur route of I-24 to downtown Chattanooga. The road segment has not been signed as I-124 since the late 1980s (it is marked on overhead signs and milemarkers as US 27),[101] and the Tennessee Department of Transportation official map no longer designates it as I-124, but some DOT publications still make reference to the designation.[102]

Paducah business loop

Interstate 24 Business marker

Interstate 24 Business

LocationPaducah, Kentucky
Length11.2 mi[103] (18.0 km)

Interstate 24 Business Loop (I-24 Bus.) is an 11-mile (18 km) business loop of I-24 that travels through downtown Paducah, Kentucky, that begins at I-24 and US 60 at exit 4 and ends at I-24 and Kentucky Route 1954 (KY 1954) at exit 11. Originally designated as the I-24 Downtown Loop (I-24 Dwtn.), the route was repurposed as I-24 Bus. in 2002. The highway follows US 60, Business U.S. Route 60 (Bus. US 60), and KY 1954.

Major Intersections

The entire route is in McCracken County.

Locationmi[103]kmDestinationsNotes
Paducah0.00.0
US 60 west (Hinkleville Road west) / I-24
Western terminus; western end of US 60 concurrency; I-24 exit 4
1.93.1
KY 731 south (32nd Street)
Northern terminus of KY 731
2.43.9
US 60 east (Joe Clifton Drive)


US 60 Bus. east
Eastern end of US 60 concurrency; I-24 Bus. east follows US 60 Bus. east; US 60 east serves Baptist Health Paducah
2.64.2 US 45 (H.C. Mathis Drive)
4.47.1

US 45 Bus. north (8th Street)
Western end of US 45 Bus. concurrency
5.28.4

US 45 Bus. south (Kentucky Avenue)
Eastern end of US 45 Bus. concurrency
8.213.2

US 60 Bus. west
US 60 / US 62

KY 1954 east
I-24 Bus. west follows US 60 Bus. west; I-24 Bus. east follows KY 1954 east
Woodlawn-Oakdale8.814.2 KY 450
10.917.5
KY 2187 north (Husband Road north)
Southern terminus of KY 2187
11.218.0
KY 1954 east (Husband Road) / I-24 – Kentucky Dam, Nashville, St. Louis
Eastern terminus; eastern end of KY 1954 concurrency; I-24 exit 11
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

See also

References

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  39. ^ "Interstate Completion by New Year? Maybe". Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle. December 28, 1977. Retrieved April 27, 2019 – via Newspapers.com.
  40. ^ "Carroll to Open Section of Interstate 24 Friday". Kentucky New Era. September 11, 1975.[page needed]
  41. ^ "First I-24 Section Opens". Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle. September 14, 1975. Retrieved April 27, 2019 – via Newspapers.com.
  42. ^ "Local News Notes". Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle. December 8, 1976. Retrieved April 27, 2019 – via Newspapers.com.
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  44. ^ Powell, Bill (December 4, 1967). "Breathitt to Break Ground for Well-Advanced Interstate 24". Sun-Democrat. Paducah, Kentucky. pp. 1, 2. Retrieved June 1, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
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  49. ^ "Traffic Flow Is Improved as I-24 Bridge in Operation". Sun-Democrat. Paducah, Kentucky. October 18, 1974. p. 1A. Retrieved June 1, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  50. ^ a b c Bartleman, Bill (May 22, 1980). "At Last, an Unbroken I-24 from Here South". The Paducah Sun. pp. 1A, 12A. Retrieved June 1, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  51. ^ "Interstate 24 Opened at Pulleys Mill". Southern Illinoisan. Carbondale, Illinois. January 25, 1976. p. 1. Retrieved June 1, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  52. ^ Powell, Bill (June 27, 1979). "New Portion of I-24 Allows Use of Bridge over Tennessee River". The Courier-Journal. Louisville, Kentucky. p. B1. Retrieved June 1, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  53. ^ Matlock, Bill (December 17, 1978). "Carroll Aiming for I-24 Wrap-Up Before He's Out". The Paducah Sun. p. 2A. Retrieved June 1, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  54. ^ Powell, Bill (December 11, 1979). "Carroll Spends Last Day Spreading Good News". The Courier-Journal. Louisville, Kentucky. p. B5. Retrieved June 1, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  55. ^ Powell, Bill (September 20, 1979). "A Shock to the Budget: Unexplained Quake Damage Shot Bridge's Cost Sky-High". The Courier-Journal. Louisville, Kentucky. pp. A1, A12. Retrieved June 1, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
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Route map:

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