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Several Roadways Set For Improvements

By Meghan Pinkley
By mpinkley@wbbjtv.com

Many West Tennessee roadways are expected to get a make-over; after state officials released a transportation improvement plan.

The plan was designed to ease traffic and enhance safety in problem areas.

Casey Jones Village owner, Clark Shaw, said the new roadway improvements were something he has been waiting for, for more than 10 years.

"Not only does it impact us, it impacts every business in this area. It impacts every guest, every traveler on the by-pass who comes through this area," said Shaw.

The Tennessee Department of Transportation released a three-year work program, set to improve many difficult roadways in West Tennessee.

"It's a very tricky area and hopefully we can get the engineering done and kind of figured out what we're going to do to try and fix that and increase traffic flow," said TDOT Region Director, Chuck Rychen.

TDOT's projects in our area include: ramp improvements at the SR-76 interchange in Haywood County, Paris By-pass, a ferry operation across the Tennessee River in Benton County, widening I-40 between Hwy 412 and Hwy 70, and the 45 By-pass near Old Hickory Blvd.

The widening of I-40 is expected to greatly ease heavy traffic coming through Jackson, but it Is the 45 By-pass improvements that had residents talking about how this would directly impact their business.

"We've had guests tell us they love our place, but they have stopped coming. Some of them said they did that because they could get in, but couldn't get out," added Shaw.

According to TDOT officials, there were three phases to this project; engineering, right-a-way, and construction phase.

This coming fall officials said they would hopefully be closing in on phase one for the By-pass interchange near Old Hickory Blvd.

Most projects are expected to be finished in three years.
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