TDOT breaks ground on I-65 widening, Tennessee's largest and most expensive road project

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Posted at 11:01 AM, Sep 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-01 07:59:52-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Federal, state and local officials, along with the Tennessee Department of Transportation, broke ground on the Interstate 65 widening project in the area between State Road 25 and State Road 109.

The event took place Thursday morning in the Portland area.

This is the largest and most expensive road project the state has ever had. This is one of the five phases of the project. Below are the five phases, according to TDOT's website:

  • from Rivergate Parkway to near SR 41 (US 31W)
  • from near SR 41 (US 31W) to near SR 257 (Bethel Road)
  • from SR 257 (Bethel Road) to SR 25 (Main Street)
  • from near SR 25 (Main Street) to near SR 109
  • from SR 109 to Kentucky State Line - completed

Along the near 10-mile area, there will be various changes, including adding an additional lane both ways, replacing and widening 10 bridges and replacing four overpasses.

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"Between Nashville and the Kentucky state line, the existing route is primarily two lanes in each direction. This section of the interstate currently experiences high traffic volumes, which create peak hour congestion and deficient traffic operations, resulting in delays and crashes along the corridor. The planned widening will address congestion, improve safety and traffic operations, and accommodate current and future traffic demands," TDOT said on its website.

Construction is set to be completed on or before December 2025. TDOT says there are financial incentives for finishing early and penalties for delays.

Portland Mayor Mike Callis said at about Portland exit 121, they have about 65,000 cars a day. He said the closer you get to Rivergate, it tends to multiply.

"We're excited because the flow of traffic will greatly increase with an extra lane north and south. We're pretty excited about it," Mayor Callis said.