Interstate 24 spans the Tennessee River across a steel through arch bridge built in 1974. 04/05/13
Interstate 24 takes a northwest to southeast orientation from Southern Illinois across western Kentucky and into Tennessee. The freeway even enters Georgia briefly. Connecting Chattanooga, Nashville and Paducah, Kentucky, I-24 also provides a part of a regional route to destinations such as Atlanta, Chicago and St. Louis. Some signage for I-24 in Nashville even listed the western control city as St. Louis, even though the freeway does not extended that far west.
I-75/24 Interchange Modification
The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) awarded a $132.64 million contract on December 21, 2018 for the design-build project upgrading the exchange joining the east end of Interstate 24 with I-75 in Chattanooga. Work through June 2021 started in Fall 2019.
Construction relocates ramps to and from I-24 to I-75 to the right side and expands all other ramps at the systems interchange. Additionally the entrance ramp from U.S. 76 (Ringgold Road) west will be extended along a distributor roadway to the adjacent Tennessee Welcome Center, with a grade separation above the I-75 off-ramp to the rest area. The Spring Creek Road overpass on I-24 will also be replaced.
Construction replacing the Spring Creek Road overpass. Spring Creek Road spans I-24 on the west side of the exchange with I-75. Photo by Peter Johnson (02/29/20).
Leading south from I-57 to Metropolis in Illinois, I-24 somewhat parallels U.S. 45. U.S. 45 leaves the freeway corridor at Paducah, Kentucky, with U.S. 60 paralleling the route east to Reidland and U.S. 62 to I-69 at Eddyville. Angling southeast toward Clarksville, I-24 travels solo until the Hopkinsville vicinity, where U.S. 41 Alternate accompanies the route south into Nashville. U.S. 41 and I-24 parallel one another closely from the capital city of Tennessee south to Chattanooga. U.S. 64/72 join U.S. 41 as I-24 dips into Georgia as well.
The final portion of Interstate 24 in Illinois to open was the 14-mile highway from U.S. 45 north of Vienna to I-57. This stretch opened in late January 1976 at a cost of $32.5-million.7
First conceptualized through western Kentucky in 1958, Interstate 24 was completed in the state on May 23, 1980 when a 23-mile section opened to traffic from Western Kentucky Parkway to U.S. 68 east of Cadiz. Groundbreaking on the first portion of I-24 in the Bluegrass State took place in Lyon County in December 1967.1 The 28-mile section between U.S. 68 and the Tennessee state line opened in early September 12, 1975 at a cost of $29.7-million.2
The Ohio River bridge between Metropolis, Illinois and Paducah, Kentucky opened to traffic in October 1974 at a cost of $18.6 million.3 Structural problems discovered, including 119 cracks as a result of defective welding in the tie girders, led to the closure of the span on August 3, 1979.4,5 The tied-arch bridge remained closed to all traffic through October 1980 and truck traffic until summer of 1981.6
Within Nashville, Interstate 24 has a short overlap with I-65 leading south toward Downtown. Renumbering of Interstate 265 to I-65 in 2000 shortened the concurrency between the two routes in an effort to better partition through traffic around Downtown.
Interstate 40 west at the merge with I-24. The two routes overlap for 1.8 miles west. 04/04/13
Further south at Monteagle, Tennessee, the roadways of Interstate 24 separate by a substantial distance due to the terrain. I-24 was constructed across Monteagle Mountain between 1962 and 1968.8 The eastbound roadway for I-24 incorporated what was a three-lane route for U.S. 41/64. Reconstruction of the eastbound lanes to modern standards during the 1980s left the westbound lanes with two lanes of traffic per direction separated by a concrete barrier.9 The Ridge cut section of Interstate 24 in Chattanooga was dedicated on December 1, 1965.10