KNOXVILLE (AP) - Transportation planners want commercial truckers banned from driving through downtown on Interstate 40.
The Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning Organization passed a nonbinding resolution Wednesday to ask state officials to consider shifting commercial trucks from downtown I-40 to Interstate 640, a bypass running west and north of the city.
The measure was prompted by state plans to widen 2.5 miles of I-40 through downtown to six to 10 lanes at a cost of $150 million. Planning and right-of-way acquisition is set to begin next fall, and it could take seven to 10 years to complete.
The stretch of four-lane interstate is dangerous with its left-lane exit and entrance ramps for James White Parkway and is compounded by the heavy truck traffic.
Downtown residents and business owners argued I-40 through downtown is too dangerous to wait up to 10 years for relief. About 350 wrecks occur there annually.
Chris Burrus, president and CEO of the Tennessee Trucking Association, said these types of proposals are unfair and often based on animosity toward truckers.