The closure of I-40 in downtown Knoxville begins in just fifteen days on May 1 and tonight the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) will begin the first of six major traffic shifts in conjunction with the ongoing SmartFIX40 project.

"Travelers will be noticing a number of changes along the interstates in Knoxville as we move closer to the I-40 closure on May 1," said TDOT Region One Director Fred Corum.  "These traffic shifts are necessary to ensure the I-640 and I-275 interchanges are reconfigured and restriped to accommodate larger volumes of traffic that will be generated once the interstate is closed on May 1."

The first major work will begin now to expand the I-40 westbound exit ramp to I-640 west (exit 393) to three lanes.  This work will help accommodate higher traffic volumes in this area.  All work is weather dependent.

Scheduled to begin Tuesday, April 22, crews will work to complete a number of traffic shifts up to the May 1 closure, including:  restriping the I-40 eastbound ramp to I-275 northbound (exit 387)  to carry two lanes of traffic; reducing traffic to one lane at the Henley Street exit (exit 388); reducing I-40 eastbound to one lane past the I-640 westbound exit ramp toward Asheville Highway; and restriping the I-640 eastbound exit to I-40 eastbound (exit 393) to carry three lanes.

At 12:01 a.m. on Thursday, May 1, 2008, all "Interstate Ends" signs will be uncovered on eastbound and westbound I-40 near downtown Knoxville. All local westbound traffic on I-40 between Cherry Street and Hall of Fame Drive will be diverted onto Hall of Fame Drive.  All eastbound traffic on I-40 past Henley Street will be diverted onto James White Parkway.

Closure updates and traffic shift information can be found on the SmartFIX40 website at www.smartfix40.com or by calling the SmartFIX40 project hotline at 865-329-GO40 (4640). Motorists can also dial 511 statewide or tune to 1620 AM along East Tennessee interstates to get updated traffic information.  

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