TDOT moves forward with Sevier County interchange improvements

TDOT proposes changes to the 407 interchange in Sevier County. (Source: Kyle Grainger, WVLT)

KODAK, Tenn. (WVLT) -- TDOT held a public meeting on Monday to discuss plans for a new interchange at Exit 407 in Sevier County.

Work has started on Interstate 40 under the existing overpass. TDOT says the first phase will involve some lane shifts to make way for new ramps on and off the interstate.

The diverging diamond concept is relatively new in East Tennessee. It's designed to double the amount of traffic that can move through the interchange.

"A lot of people are not familiar with, a lot of states have done this concept at major interchanges and had great success. Our first one was in Alcoa," said Kristin Qualls, TDOT. "You're traveling on the opposing side of traffic from what your used too. So instead of being on the right had side of the road you'll switch and be on the left hand side."

The project is scheduled to be completed in the Spring of 2015 at about the same time work is done widening Highway 66 to 6 lanes.

TDOT estimates that over the next 20 years, traffic through Exit 407 the interchange will approach 180,000 cars per day.

TDOT held a public meeting on Monday night for business owners and people of interest in the area. They answered questions about how the construction could impact business and travel in the area.

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