Tennessee moves forward with statewide plans for optional toll lanes

The project focuses on serving motorists in the most congested urban areas of Tennessee, including Nashville, Chattanooga, and Knoxville.

An aerial view of an interstate heading into Nashville with heavy traffic congestion and the downtown skyline in the background.

Changes are on the way to Nashville’s roadways via TDOT’s 10-year plan.

Photo by Jeremy Poland via Canva

Tired of roadway congestion? TDOT has a suggestion. The transportation agency is putting a plan for choice lanes, or toll lanes, in drive with the goal of alleviating traffic woes.

TDOT is recommending I-24 between Nashville and Murfreesboro as the state’s first choice lane. Leaders are also considering I-65 from Nashville to I-840, as well as additional routes in Chattanooga and Knoxville.

Pump the brakes. What are choice lanes? These newly constructed lanes would allow motorists to drive at ~50 mph during rush hour periods, according to TDOT. The cost to use the choice lanes will change during the day based on how many vehicles are using them.

The project is part of TDOT’s $15 billion 10-year plan, which is in its early stages and includes funds from the TDOT work program budget (~$1.2 billion) and the State General Fund ($3 billion). Over half of the investment will be utilized for construction projects, leaving the remainder of the funding to be analyzed annually based on need — think: resurfacing, bridge repair, and beyond.

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