December 14, 2006 - The Tennessee Department
of Transportation (TDOT) announced today that James White Parkway
will close to traffic on Sunday, December 17. James White Parkway
is scheduled to reopen in September 2007. During this timeframe,
several existing bridges and ramps will be demolished and six new
bridges and four new ramps will be constructed comprising more than
two miles of new roadway.
As part of the SmartFix40 project, the current westbound entrance
ramp to I-40, which has caused numerous accidents over the years,
will be relocated. When complete, the ramp will be located on the
north side of I-40 instead of the current south side location. The
relocation of the ramp to the north side will allow for a safer
flow of traffic onto I-40. During construction, eastbound and westbound
motorists on I-40 will be able to use the new Hall of Fame Drive
to get downtown.
"When complete, the reconstruction of James White Parkway
will make the traffic flow safer and much more efficiently through
downtown Knoxville," said Gerald Nicely, Commissioner for TDOT.
"This new traffic pattern and associated bridge and ramp construction
has been needed for sometime."
Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam noted, "The new Hall of Fame Drive
will provide good traffic flow for the Downtown area and when this
construction is finished, the gains will definitely outweigh the
This construction is part of the SmartFix40 project which is currently
underway in downtown Knoxville. This accelerated construction process
involves completely closing a roadway to allow around-the-clock
work that is uninterrupted by traffic in order to dramatically reduce
the time it takes to complete the project, thereby reducing the
long-term inconvenience to motorists.
During the SmartFix40 project, I-40 through traffic will be rerouted
onto I-640 for 14 months starting in the spring of 2008. Local traffic
will have access to downtown at all times. More than two years of
traffic delays, lane closures and motorist frustrations will be
avoided by allowing construction crews the opportunity to work without
restriction form moving traffic while traffic is rerouted from I-40.
I-40 through downtown carries an average of 103,000 vehicles per