SmartFIX40 closes Asheville Hwy. exit to I-40E traffic

KNOXIVLLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- There are still a handful of days until a portion of I-40 is closed due to TDOT's SmartFIX40 project, but already the changes are causing major problems for drivers, particularly in one area around Knoxville.

It's spot along I-40 eastbound Knoxville Police say could be dangerous, deadly, and costly to you.

Police say the problem's merging onto Asheville Highway from I-40 eastbound.

SmartFIX40 shutdowns are set for next Thursday, and that's when less than a mile of I-40 between James White Parkway and Hall of Fame Drive will close.

The problem? It's on I-40 eastbound. TDOT's modified the lanes because of the SmartFIX40 project, and the main traffic flow will follow I-640.

Right now, there's three lanes on I-640 going east that merge back on I-40.

If you're coming from downtown and want to take the Asheville Highway exit, you're not allowed to anymore.

That's because you have to cross all three lanes of 55-mph traffic to do that.

Our Pete Michael's already caught drivers dangerously zipping across the lanes, and Knoxville Police spokesman Darrell DeBusk says it's a move that could cost you a ticket, or even your life.

"Basically you're taking your own life into your hands. It's a very dangerous move and one that we've got to prohibit, not only for the safety of the motorist who are making that move, but for the other motorists merging onto 640 from 40."

So how can you get to Asheville Highway from downtown?

TDOT says to take I-40 east to Cherry Street to Magnolia, or take I-275 to I-640 and you can still exit Ashveille Highway.

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