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TDOT plans to buy out homes for I-640 construction | News

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TDOT plans to buy out homes for I-640 construction
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(WBIR-Fountain City) A construction project in North Knoxville looks to alleviate traffic at a busy interchange, but it's also forcing some people from their homes and businesses.

According to TDOT, 19 parcels of land in Fountain City, located next to I-640 and near Broadway is part of the proposed new on and off ramps to the freeway. A majority of them are houses, of which TDOT said 11 owners already accepted offers to buy them out.

"We found out about two, three years ago when they were tossing around and it got delayed and it came back up," said Cory Butcher, who has lived in his Addison Drive home for more than a decade.

"Everything's starting to fall in place with it," he adds. "A lot of sentimental value because all the stuff me and my dad and my mom -- we had Thanksgiving and Christmases."

In a meeting Monday, TDOT said the construction will do three things: add a dedicated ramp from SB Broadway onto I-640 West, create a direct off-ramp from I-640 to Broadway, and add a right-turn access from northbound Broadway to westbound I-640 (currently a left turn).

TDOT adds it hopes to cut down on cars weaving on Broadway to turn onto the interstate.

"It really addresses the westbound side of I-640," Daniel Oliver with TDOT told 10News Monday night. "It's an interchange modification project, so it's addressing the interchange itself and how to improve that connection to I-640."

While there's no immediate opposition to the project, there are some that question the reasoning for other factors. One includes widening roads and removing traffic lights, cites R. Larry Smith, Knox County commissioner who owns a building along Old Broadway, which runs parallel to Broadway.

"When they move the red light, when it's time for our people to come in (to our parking lot), and especially to leave throughout the day, may not make a left hand turn," he said about concerns the loss of a traffic light could cause delays for people coming to and from his building.

Smith says he would like to meet with TDOT engineers in the near future to get a better idea for the proposed changes.

Oliver expects "letting" or open bids for the project to start in 2016.


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