|June 10, 2009 - On Friday, June 12 at 2:00 p.m. ET, the Tennessee Department of Transportation will re-open a new and improved section of Interstate 40 through downtown Knoxville 18 days ahead of the contractual completion date of June 30, 2009.
TDOT closed the short segment of I-40, located between James White Parkway (Exit 388) and Hall of Fame Drive (Exit 389), on May 1, 2008 for total reconstruction. During the 14 month closure travelers used I-640 as a detour route. The SmartFIX40 project, which began in 2005, utilized total closures of James White Parkway and I-40 along with other accelerated construction techniques to save more than two to three years of construction time.
The re-opening ceremony will feature Governor Phil Bredesen, TDOT Commissioner Gerald Nicely, Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam, and Knox County Mayor Mike. A large procession of Knoxville motorists lead by vehicles from the three Tennessee auto manufacturers will officially re-open the interstate following the ceremony.
Opening Day's Schedule is as follows:
1:00 p.m. - Procession of Vehicles to Open I-40. Those interested in being one of the first vehicles to drive on I-40 are invited to do so, but must assemble by 1:30 p.m. at the parking lot of the Timothy St. Baptist Church. Those motorists in this procession will not be able to attend the 2 p.m. ceremony, but will be driving by the ceremony site as the first cars to open I-40 at approximately 2:30 pm. Timothy St. Baptist Church is located on Knoxville Zoo Drive. Exit I-40 at Rutledge Pike and follow signs to the Zoo.
2:00 p.m. - Opening Ceremony begins. Invited participants include Governor Phil Bredesen, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation, Ray LaHood, U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker, Congressman John Duncan, Mayor Bill Haslam, state and local government officials.
2:30 p.m. - The Procession of Vehicles to Open I-40. Led by vehicles representing Tennessee’s car manufacturer’s(Nissan, GM and Volkswagen), local residents will drive on I-40 for the first time since closure in May, 2008. They will be approaching the event site at approximately 2:30 pm as the Opening Ceremony concludes and I-40 is officially opened to traffic.