Navigating new roadway tech on I-24 in Nashville

TDOT’s new I-24 SMART Corridor Project aims to help drivers prepare for lane closures and reduced speed limits on this busy stretch of I-24.


If you drive this section of I-24 regularly, you’ve noticed the lane control system above — now, the boards are in operation. | Photo via TDOT

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A stretch of interstate connecting Nashville and Murfreesboro is getting “smarter” every day with each new phase of the I-24 SMART Corridor project.

As of Tuesday morning, the project’s mission to solve congestion issues along the corridor is officially being put to the test. Here’s what to know about Phase 2 before you hit the road:

How it works

The roadway’s ~175,000 daily drivers will see overhead electric boards, called gantries, alerting them of real-time information on traffic conditions (think: lane closures and speed limits). The 67 signs — spaced a half-mile apart in both directions — are located along:

  • 28 miles on I-24 from Exit 53 in Nashville to Exit 81 (SR 10/US 231) in Murfreesboro
  • 28.5 miles on Murfreesboro Road from I-24 in Nashville to SR 10/US 231 in Murfreesboro
  • 30 miles of connector routes between I-24 and Murfreesboro Road

What to look for

Drivers will see five screens on the gantries — one for each lane and one indicating the speed limit. During free-flow conditions, the screens will remain blank with only a posted speed limit on the side. It’s during heavier congestion, road work, or traffic accidents that the screens will alert drivers of changes. If you see a:

  • Green arrow, the lane is open and traffic is flowing
  • Yellow X, begin merging lanes to avoid a lane closure ahead
  • Red X, move into lanes with a green arrow

Be prepared to pump the brakes — safely, of course — when a “reduced speed limit” is listed on the board. It’s determined by the current speed of traffic leading up to congested areas and is enforceable.

Other projects looped into this phase include extending ramp lengths, adding emergency pull-offs, and installing ramp meters.

To see the project in action, watch this two-minute clip from TDOT.