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Author Topic: How do you negotiate Nashville: I-40 or I-840?  (Read 2206 times)

ixnay

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How do you negotiate Nashville: I-40 or I-840?
« on: May 02, 2018, 09:14:05 PM »

Last September my bus group from Delaware made its way from the Biltmore in Asheville to the new Graceland hotel in Memphis in a day.  We didn't go through Nashville (we saved that for the return trip).  Rather, when we reached the Nashville area at midday, we picked up I-840 in Lebanon and followed it around Nashville's southern exurbs to where 840 meets 40 again near Dickson.  I-840 is signed for Memphis wb and for Knoxville eb.

My question is, coming from/heading to points east of Lebanon or west of Dickson, how do *you* negotiate Music City?  Do you pick up I-840 or just stay on 40 and bite the bullet of downtown Nashville traffic?

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Beltway

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Re: How do you negotiate Nashville: I-40 or I-840?
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2018, 09:27:33 PM »

Google Maps directions -- Memphis to Knoxville

I-40 thruout -- 387 miles, 5 hr 57 min
I-40 and I-840 -- 406 miles, 6 hr 11 min

I would tend to favor the bypass given how small is the extra mileage and time.
If I wanted to see the cityscape sights then I would stay on I-40.
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Re: How do you negotiate Nashville: I-40 or I-840?
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2018, 09:42:47 PM »

20 miles? That's not insignificant.
I'd favor I-40 unless it was 7-9 AM or 4-6 PM. And I know very little about Nashville traffic, but unless it's on par with the likes of NYC or Chicago, I highly doubt congestion alone would cost you those 15 minutes. I'm also assuming minimum speed limit of 55 on either route.
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oscar

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Re: How do you negotiate Nashville: I-40 or I-840?
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2018, 09:55:50 PM »

20 miles? That's not insignificant.
I'm also assuming minimum speed limit of 55 on either route.

I-840 is posted mostly at 70mph. And it passes through lots of undeveloped land, making congestion (including the random non-rush congestion that can occasionally strike in any populated area) unlikely except at its junctions with other Interstates.

If I'm going straight from Knoxville to Memphis or vice versa (not often), I'll usually take the faster and more relaxing drive on 840.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2018, 09:59:39 PM by oscar »
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webny99

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Re: How do you negotiate Nashville: I-40 or I-840?
« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2018, 10:00:35 PM »

20 miles? That's not insignificant.
I'm also assuming minimum speed limit of 55 on either route.
I-840 is posted mostly at 70mph. And it passes through lots of undeveloped land, making congestion unlikely except at its junctions with other Interstates.

Granted, it was I-40 (not I-840) that I reckoned might have lower speed limits.

If I'm going straight from Knoxville to Memphis or vice versa (not often), I'll usually take the faster and more relaxing drive on 840.

Do you really find it to be faster (in aggregate time), and if so, by how much?
« Last Edit: May 02, 2018, 10:04:06 PM by webny99 »
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Rothman

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Re: How do you negotiate Nashville: I-40 or I-840?
« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2018, 10:11:01 PM »

Nashville traffic is bad and worsening.  However, I think I-65 gets the brunt of the traffic headed to points south.  I-40 is still not good during rush hour, but not as bad as I-65, which can be congested at non-rush hour periods.
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Beltway

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Re: How do you negotiate Nashville: I-40 or I-840?
« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2018, 10:13:26 PM »

20 miles? That's not insignificant.
I'd favor I-40 unless it was 7-9 AM or 4-6 PM. And I know very little about Nashville traffic, but unless it's on par with the likes of NYC or Chicago, I highly doubt congestion alone would cost you those 15 minutes. I'm also assuming minimum speed limit of 55 on either route.

4.9% farther.  For a rural Interstate highway that has much less horizontal and vertical curvature than the urban route.
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oscar

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Re: How do you negotiate Nashville: I-40 or I-840?
« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2018, 11:36:51 PM »

If I'm going straight from Knoxville to Memphis or vice versa (not often), I'll usually take the faster and more relaxing drive on 840.

Do you really find it to be faster (in aggregate time), and if so, by how much?

My reference to "faster" was for the higher speed limits and practical driving speeds, as well as less likelihood of commuter and other congestion, on I-840. All this usually offsets any time that might be lost from the more relaxing and less stressful ride usually possible on I-840 rather than staying on I-40.

I have driven often enough on both I-40 and I-440 in Nashville, to prefer I-840 except in unusual situations. Those might include a variable message sign warning of a major accident on 840 (or major construction, though not that likely on a relatively new freeway like 840). Or very early on Saturday and Sunday mornings, other times on Sunday mornings (assuming not much churchgoer or shopping-mall congestion on I-40/440 before noon on Sundays), or dinnertime on Saturday evenings when the shoppers are probably at home having dinner and there's probably not many people returning home from weekend getaways.

In my case, the vehicles I've driven through the Nashville region are old (never newer than 2008, though I've started shopping for a new car), and lack the fancy nav systems or other tools of newer vehicles to help figure out the at-the-moment traffic situation as I approach an I-40/I-840 split. Nor do I have a passenger to use a smartphone for that purpose. And it's a pain to search out local traffic reports on the radio, since Nashville is not one of the few cities with traffic reports on satellite radio; nor is it one of the cities, like Los Angeles, New York City, and the D.C. area, where I've memorized the best stations for traffic reports. Calling 511 as a solo driver is awkward and potentially unsafe, even with hands-free (until recently, one of my road trip vehicles didn't even have that), unless I stop to make the call which guarantees I'll lose some of the time I might or might not gain through a better on-the-spot 40 vs. 840 decision.
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Beltway

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Re: How do you negotiate Nashville: I-40 or I-840?
« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2018, 11:59:16 PM »

In my case, the vehicles I've driven through the Nashville region are old (never newer than 2008, though I've started shopping for a new car), and lack the fancy nav systems or other tools of newer vehicles to help figure out the at-the-moment traffic situation as I approach an I-40/I-840 split. Nor do I have a passenger to use a smartphone for that purpose. And it's a pain to search out local traffic reports on the radio, since Nashville is not one of the few cities with traffic reports on satellite radio; nor is it one of the cities, like Los Angeles, New York City, and the D.C. area, where I've memorized the best stations for traffic reports. Calling 511 as a solo driver is awkward and potentially unsafe, even with hands-free (until recently, one of my road trip vehicles didn't even have that), unless I stop to make the call which guarantees I'll lose some of the time I might or might not gain through a better on-the-spot 40 vs. 840 decision.

Does the Nashville area have VMS signs with mileage and estimated times for alternate routes such as I-40 vs I-840?  Of course real-time tools are only as accurate as the Smart Traffic Center that provides the data.

I have the latest OnStar nav system in my 2016 car, but I let the real time traffic features lapse after the 6-month free period, as it would cost at least $20 per month to keep them active.
« Last Edit: May 03, 2018, 12:01:52 AM by Beltway »
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Hot Rod Hootenanny

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Re: How do you negotiate Nashville: I-40 or I-840?
« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2018, 12:00:15 AM »

I'll take option C; Sam Cooper, err Briley Pkwy
« Last Edit: May 04, 2018, 10:47:04 PM by Hot Rod Hootenanny »
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Brooks

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Re: How do you negotiate Nashville: I-40 or I-840?
« Reply #10 on: May 04, 2018, 10:49:46 AM »

I'll take option C; Sam Cooper.
Pretty difficult to do since it’s 200 miles away from Nashville.
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sparker

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Re: How do you negotiate Nashville: I-40 or I-840?
« Reply #11 on: May 05, 2018, 08:48:50 PM »

20 miles? That's not insignificant.
I'd favor I-40 unless it was 7-9 AM or 4-6 PM. And I know very little about Nashville traffic, but unless it's on par with the likes of NYC or Chicago, I highly doubt congestion alone would cost you those 15 minutes. I'm also assuming minimum speed limit of 55 on either route.

Having negotiated Nashville several times, I'd tend to agree with the above; but on the condition that the I-440 in-town alternative be used as an I-40 substitute.  That being said, unless I had business in Nashville, I'd use I-840 the next time in the area just to clinch it! 
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MikeTheActuary

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Re: How do you negotiate Nashville: I-40 or I-840?
« Reply #12 on: May 05, 2018, 09:42:07 PM »

For several months, I was driving between Hartford and Memphis on a monthly basis, clearing out my parents' house.

The rule of thumb I used on when to take I-840 over going through Nashville was that if Google indicated I-840 wouldn't add more than 10 minutes to the drive, I'd take it.

Nashville traffic isn't that bad if you're used to LA/Bay Area/Northeast Corridor traffic, so it was rare that that threshold was reached on my drives.  However, I figured that if Nashville was congested enough to reduce the time differential, the extra 10 minutes' drive would be worth avoiding the stress of that congestion.

That being said, on the days / at the times of day I was driving through...I-40 through Nashville wasn't really a problem.

I think the only time Google routed me onto 440 was during the "Fast Fix 8" project...and that was only because I had been on a call, and therefore probably missed the Google maps guidance to avoid the city.
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Re: How do you negotiate Nashville: I-40 or I-840?
« Reply #13 on: May 06, 2018, 11:25:06 AM »

The worst part of Nashville traffic is I-24 and I-65. I-40 can be bad, but the other two are worse. When I was trucking in the area, I took the Briley Parkway; even though it wasn't the best road, it at least was flowing, whereas with the others I'd be crawling.

Having said that, if I were on such a route, I would take I-840 without a second thought. The additional time/distance is minimal, especially given the specter of possible crappy traffic through Nashville.
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hbelkins

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Re: How do you negotiate Nashville: I-40 or I-840?
« Reply #14 on: May 06, 2018, 09:32:46 PM »

The last time I can remember being a through traveler in Nashville was several years ago, and I used I-65 south to I-40 west. I didn't go through on one single route.

I drove the westernmost section of TN 840 shortly after it opened; long before it was signed as an Interstate. There was already speed enforcement taking place, which works as a negative against 840 in my book. The longer distance can only be countered by faster travel, and limiting the speed you can take on the bypass route does not recommend it for through travel when all other things are equal.

Nashville's location relative to me means the straight-through route I'd most likely take through the city is I-65, but I personally would avoid that by using US 31E and US 231 from Glasgow to Lebanon and then using I-840 to connect to I-65 south of town. If I'm going southwest (Memphis and points beyond) I would use the WK Parkway, the Purchase Parkway, US 51, I-155 and I-55 to avoid both Nashville and the "drove-it-once-and-hope-to-never-drive-it-again" I-40 between Nashville and Memphis.
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Re: How do you negotiate Nashville: I-40 or I-840?
« Reply #15 on: May 10, 2018, 08:57:04 PM »

Quote from: hbelkins
I drove the westernmost section of TN 840 shortly after it opened; long before it was signed as an Interstate. There was already speed enforcement taking place, which works as a negative against 840 in my book. The longer distance can only be countered by faster travel, and limiting the speed you can take on the bypass route does not recommend it for through travel when all other things are equal.

For those who prefer to go well above the speed limit, perhaps.  Even with the "speed enforcement" you're so critical about, you're talking about 70 MPH throughout on 840 whereas 40 drops to 55 through most of Nashville-Davidson.  You're also more likely to be able to maintain consistent speed along 840.
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Re: How do you negotiate Nashville: I-40 or I-840?
« Reply #16 on: May 11, 2018, 01:44:12 PM »

I've only transited the city by way of I-24 to/from I-40.  One direction, I did TN-155; the other direction, I did interstate-to-interstate.  Based on that experience, I would recommend people go through downtown outside rush hours, but to bypass the city during rush hours.
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