Interstate 24

Interstate 24 Illinois Interstate 24 Kentucky Interstate 24 Georgia Interstate 24 Tennessee
History
East End
West End
I-24 Tennessee River Bridge

Interstate 24 spans the Tennessee River across a steel through arch bridge built in 1974. 04/05/13

Overview

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

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.

I-24 west at Spring Creek Road - East Ridge, TN

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).

Parallel U.S. Routes

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.

History

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.

I-40 west at I-24 - Nashville, TN
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

Route Information

  • West End – Pulleys Mill, IL

  • East End – Chattanooga, TN

  • Branch Routes – 1

  • Total Mileage – 316.36

Mileage

Illinois – 38.73

  • Cities – Metropolis

  • Junctions

Kentucky – 93.37

  • Cities – Paducah, Hopkinsville

  • Junctions Future

Tennessee – 180.16*

  • Cities – Clarksville, Nashville, Murfreesboro, Manchester, Chattanooga

  • Junctions

Georgia – 4.10

  • Cities – none

  • Junctions

Source: December 31, 2018 Interstate Route Log and Finders List
* – 2.70 miles on I-14, 2.60 miles on I-65

I-24 Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT)

Location Vehicles per day
north Clarksville, TN 39,965
Clarksville, TN 71,509
Nashville, TN 190,529
Chattanooga, TN 129,059
Western Kentucky 1970
Western Kentucky – 1970 Kentucky Official Highway Map

Very little of Interstate 24 was under construction by 1970 in Kentucky. The National System of Interstate and Defense Highways plan in 1955 only included I-24 between Nashville and Chattanooga. The extension northwest to Illinois was included with the additions approved in October 1957.

Nashville, TN - 1969
Central Nashville, Tennessee – 1969

Interstate 24 ran northwest from La Vergne (Exit 62) to temporarily end on the overlapped section with I-65 at Maplewood (Exit 44) by 1970.

Highway Guides

East End – Chattanooga, Tennessee

I-24 East at I-75

I-24 east at I-75 - Chattanooga, TN

A split diamond interchange (Exit 184) joins Interstate 24 with Moore Road between East Ridge and Chattanooga ahead of the exchange with I-75. 06/12/17

I-24 east at I-75 - Chattanooga, TN

I-24 continues 1.3 miles east from the Moore Road overpass to Interstate 75 northbound. I-75 north to SR 153 leads motorists to Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport / Lovell Field (CHA). 06/12/17

I-24 east at I-75 - Chattanooga, TN

The 2019-21 design-build project upgrades 4.4 miles of roadway, including I-24 east from S Moore Road to I-75, and I-75 north from I-24 to East Brainerd Road. Redesign of the three-wye interchange at I-24/75 includes relocating left side ramps to the right and improving ramp geometry. 06/12/17

I-24 east at I-75 - Chattanooga, TN

Interstate 24 ends as traffic separates for I-75 south to Atlanta, Georgia and I-75 northeast 83 miles to I-40 at Farragut. 06/12/17

I-75 North at I-24

I-75 north at I-24 - Chattanooga, TN

Interstate 75 advances north from Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia two miles to the east end of I-24. A parclo interchange (Exit 1) connects the freeway with U.S. 41/76 (Ringgold Road) at East Ridge next. Photo by Peter Johnson (02/29/20).

I-75 north at I-24 - Chattanooga, TN

Construction for the I-75/24 Interchange Modification Project shifts the left exit ramp for Interstate 24 west to the outside lanes. 09/06/20

I-75 north at I-24 - Chattanooga, TN

The new ramp for Interstate 24 will combine with an entrance ramp from the Tennessee Welcome Center and U.S. 41/76 (Ringgold Road). Photo by Peter Johnson (02/29/20).

I-75 north at I-24 - Chattanooga, TN

Left Exit 2 separates from Interstate 75 north with two lanes for I-24 west toward Downtown Chattanooga. A third northbound lane for I-75 will be added during 2019-2021 construction. Photo by Peter Johnson (02/29/20).

I-75 South at I-24

I-75 south at I-24 - Chattanooga, TN

I-75 passes between the Brown Acres Golf Course ahead of the separation with Interstate 24 west at Exit 2. 06/25/12

I-75 south at I-24 - Chattanooga, TN

Traffic partitions beyond South Chickamauga Creek with two lanes for I-24 west and two lanes for the continuation of I-75 south into Georgia. 06/25/12

I-75 south at I-24 - Chattanooga, TN

I-24 leads 18 miles west to meet Interstate 59 in north Georgia. I-75 travels 85 miles southeast to Metropolitan Atlanta. 06/25/12

I-75 south at I-24 - Chattanooga, TN

Interstate 24 runs between East Ridge and Chattanooga to Mission Ridge. Downtown Chattanooga lies seven miles to the west. 06/25/12

I-24 East End Throwback

I-75 South at I-24

I-75 south at I-24 - 2003

Entering the original three-wye interchange (Exit 2) with Interstate 24 west on I-75 south. Photo by Chris Patriarca (02/01/03).

I-75 North at I-24

I-75 north at I-24 - 2003

Guide signs for Exit 1 omit U.S. 76 from the overlap with U.S. 41 along Ringgold Road at East Ridge. Photo by Chris Patriarca (02/01/03).

I-75 north at I-24 - 2003

Diagrammatic sign for Exit 2 previously posted beyond the Tennessee Welcome Center on I-75 northbound. Photo by Chris Patriarca (02/01/03).

I-75 north at I-24 - 2003

Traffic partitioned with two lanes for I-24 west to Nashville and two lanes for I-75 north to Cleveland and Knoxville. Photo by Chris Patriarca (02/01/03).

West End – Pulleys Mill, Illinois

I-24 West at I-57

I-24 west at I-57 - Pulleys Mill, IL

Progressing northwest through Shawnee National Forest, I-24 travels two miles further to Interstate 57. Succeeding overpasses carry a Norfolk Southern Railroad line and IL 37. IL 37 parallels I-57 northward to the city of Effingham. 04/05/13

I-24 west at I-57 - Pulleys Mill, IL

An end sign precedes the exchange with Interstate 57 on I-24 west at the Johnson and Williamson County line. 04/05/13

I-24 west at I-57 - Pulleys Mill, IL

One mile ahead of Exit 44 for I-57 south to Cairo and Sikeston, Missouri and I-57 north to Effingham and Mount Vernon. Travelers bound for St. Louis are directed onto I-57 north to Interstate 64 west. 04/05/13

I-24 west at I-57 - Pulleys Mill, IL

The Interstate 24 mainline defaults onto I-57 northbound via Exit 44B ahead. Exit 44A connects with the rural freeway south toward Anna, Mounds and Charleston, Missouri. 04/05/13

I-24 west at I-57 - Pulleys Mill, IL

An end shield appears at the western terminus of Interstate 24, located near Lake Egypt and the community of Pulleys Mill. 04/05/13

I-24 west at I-57 - Pulleys Mill, IL

Interstate 57 leads motorists north to Marion, Mount Vernon, Effingham and Chicago. 04/05/13

I-24 West End Throwback

I-24 West at I-57

I-24 west at I-57 - 2003
I-24 west at I-57 - 2003
I-24 west at I-57 - 2003

All guide signs at the west end of I-24 were carbon copied with Clearview font by 2013. Photos by Chris Patriarca (07/18/03).

I-57 South at I-24

I-57 south at I-24 - 2003

I-57 southbound at the split with Interstate 24 east (Exit 44). I-24 angles southeast 46 miles to Paducah, Kentucky. Photo by Chris Patriarca (07/18/03).

I-57 North at I-24

I-57 north at I-24 - 2003

Two-mile guide sign for Interstate 24 east (Exit 44) on I-57 north. The rural route of I-24 connects with the Johnson County seat of Vienna via two of the five interchanges within Illinois. Photo by Chris Patriarca (07/18/03).

I-57 north at I-24 - 2003

Interstate 57 advances north to within one mile of I-24 east. Photo by Chris Patriarca (07/18/03).

I-57 north at I-24 - 2003

Exit 44 leaves I-57 north in one half mile for Interstate 24 southeast to Metropolis and Paducah, Kentucky. Photo by Chris Patriarca (07/18/03).

I-57 north at I-24 - 2003

Exit 44 leaves I-57 north for I-24 southeast 176 miles to the Tennessee capital city. Photo by Chris Patriarca (07/18/03).

Sources:

  1. “Long-awaited interstate complete.” Williamson Daily News (WV), May 24, 1980.
  2. “Carroll to Open Section of Interstate 24 Friday .” Kentucky New Era (Hopkinsville), September 11, 1975.
  3. “Illinois road improvement projects on a priority basis.” The Southeast Missourian (Cape Girardeau, MO), March 1, 1975.
  4. “New crack discovered in I-24 bridge over Ohio at Paducah.” Williamson Daily News (WV), May 14, 1980.
  5. “Bridge jam to continue over a year .” Williamson Daily News (WV), August 30, 1979.
  6. “Light traffic scheduled for I-24 bridge by Oct. 1” The Southeast Missourian (Cape Girardeau, MO), August 8, 1980.
  7. “Southern Illinois highways will continue to grow.” The Southeast Missourian (Cape Girardeau, MO), February 28, 1976.
  8. Tennessee’s Interstate System – Facts About Tennessee’s Interstate System 50th Anniversary, 1956-2006. http://www.tdot.state.tn.us/interstateinfo/Tnfacts.htm Tennessee Department of Transportation.
  9. Re: Routing of I-24 around Monteagle, TN” online posting by RoadWarrior56, AARoads Forum, September 25, 2010.
  10. “50 years later … Interstate network transformed U.S. transportation system.” Chattanooga Times Free Press (TN), June 29, 2006.

Page updated September 19, 2020.