NASHVILLE, Tenn. - It's one of the biggest road projects drivers have been clamoring for across Nashville. And it is officially on the Tennessee Department of Transportation calendar.
TDOT calls the I-440 makeover a top priority for the state.
Right now the interstate half-loop handles 95,000 cars a day, which is about double what was projected when it was built in the 1980s. It also experiences almost twice the number of crashes of comparable roads, according to TDOT statistics.
"This is one of our number one projects for (TDOT) Region Three," said I-440 Project Manager Joe Deering, who says it's past time for a makeover.
The loop is currently a bumpy ride for drivers south of downtown thanks to concrete that has outlived its shelf-life. TDOT plans to replace it with asphalt, which covers the majority of interstates in the area.
"The pot holes will be gone and I think they'll see a reduction in the noise and notice the smoothness of the road (after we're done)," Deering said.
The plan calls for three lanes in both directions throughout the entire loop. TDOT will also widen several of the I-440 ramps, adding additional lanes on and off the interstate.
Swapping the current grass median for a barrier wall will be a huge change to prevent crashes that go from bad to worse when cars run into oncoming traffic.
Just two weeks ago an 18-wheeler jumped the median and crashed into a total of eight cars, sending four people to the hospital.
A crash of that magnitude would be prevented under the new plan.
"It's going to be a great project for Nashville," Deering said.
Construction over the nearly 8-mile loop will cost around $100 million. And with Tennessee as a pay-as-you-go state, that money was just recently freed up by the Governor's IMPROVE Act passed last legislative session.
The legislation included an increase to the state's gas tax as well as a decrease to the grocery tax.
The work could take up to three years to complete and, unlike most TDOT projects, crews will work during weekday and daylight hours which means rush hour will be impacted.
TDOT says it will keep at least two lanes open in each direction at all times.