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I-26 interchange at Highway 75 to be widened in $12M project

A portion of the Tenn. Highway 75 bridge over Interstate 26 will be widened from two to four lanes in a $12 million project, according to the Tennessee Department of Transportation.
The goal of the project is to improve safety and traffic flow in the area, as well as accommodate the needs and expected growth in the area, officials said.
Last week, TDOT Commissioner Gerald Nicely, along with Rep. Dale Ford and House Speaker Kent Williams, announced federal approval for the proposed project to improve the I-26 interchange at State Route 75 in Gray.
The Federal Highway Administration has approved a study showing the need for a project to improve access and safety at the I-26 interchange with Highway 75.
“As the Tri-Cities area continues to grow, it’s important that our interstate infrastructure keeps pace,” said Nicely. “State Route 75 leads to the Gray Fossil Museum and Site as well as the Tri-Cities Regional Airport. The proposed interchange is needed to improve safety and reduce congestion in the area.”
At the request of the Johnson City Metropolitan Planning Organization and the urging of Ford, TDOT initiated a study on the I-26 interchange at SR-75 in the spring of 2010. The study found both safety and traffic concerns that warrant an improvement project.
During a three year period, TDOT found there were 187 crashes in the area of SR-75 and I-26. In addition, the current bridge on SR-75 accommodates two travel lanes and will be over capacity before the 2030 planning horizon.
“This is an important link to the Gray community and the entire Tri-Cities region and I’m pleased to see TDOT moving forward with this important improvement at the I-26 interchange with State Route 75,” Ford said. “This project is clearly needed not only to improve safety, but also to support future growth in this area.”
TDOT plans to widen the bridge on State Route 75 over I-26 from two lanes to four lanes with two 12 feet shoulders. The project will also include a new off ramp from I-26 eastbound and other ramp modifications.
TDOT will begin the preliminary engineering phase this fiscal year.