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Author Topic: Routing of I-24 around Monteagle, TN  (Read 19106 times)

codyg1985

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Routing of I-24 around Monteagle, TN
« on: September 24, 2010, 03:15:22 PM »

I often wonder what other routings for I-24 were considered when it was being planned in southeast Tennessee. What other ways could it have gotten through the mountains? I also often wonder if it would have dipped down into Alabama as well as Georgia.
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froggie

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Re: Routing of I-24 around Monteagle, TN
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2010, 04:43:31 PM »

The only other one I'm aware that was considered would have kept it all in Tennessee with no dip into Georgia.  Given how tight Raccoon Mountain is, and its proximity to the river, it's fairly obvious looking at a topographic map why the-powers-that-be decided to have I-24 dip into Georgia...much easier terrain.
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SSF

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Re: Routing of I-24 around Monteagle, TN
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2010, 05:35:22 PM »

any detour around Monteagle would have added what? 10? 20? miles to the trip.  I dont like the stretch of 24, but it's probably the best fit for the area and is over quickly(usually).  Thank God it has 3 lanes going uphill on the westbound stretch.
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Brian556

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Re: Routing of I-24 around Monteagle, TN
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2010, 06:42:31 PM »

Here's a little interseting historical info:
The east and westbound lanes used to be where only the westbound lanes are today on the mountain climb section east of Monteagle. This was changed in the mid 1980's. There were only two lanes in each direction, seperated by a concrete barrier.
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mightyace

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Re: Routing of I-24 around Monteagle, TN
« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2010, 07:02:00 PM »

^^^

Didn't know that.  Interesting.  That explains a few things since the west slope is still that way with the S-curves.

Now this is just something I heard and I have no way to know if it is true.  A former boss of mine once told me that when he had worked in the Tennessee state government (former job), one of his buddies was on the survey crew for I-24.  He allegedly was shot at a few times by people who thought he might be a reva'noor.  If this has any truth to it, this might have come into consideration, too.
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Brian556

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Re: Routing of I-24 around Monteagle, TN
« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2010, 11:37:27 PM »

Here's a streetview link of the westbound lanes. Notice the extra pavement on the left side of the road. This is left over from when it was four lanes, two way, wall seperated.
http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&ie=UTF8&ll=35.232186,-85.822712&spn=0,0.003439&t=h&z=18&layer=c&cbll=35.23108,-85.82211&panoid=rFaImDBI4GDiL8sRS6UIDQ&cbp=12,241.18,,0,5
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Grzrd

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Re: Routing of I-24 around Monteagle, TN
« Reply #6 on: September 25, 2010, 12:02:34 AM »

Really doesn't answer your question, but some interesting historical photos await at tdot website:
Regarding history of TN interstates:
http://www.tdot.state.tn.us/interstateinfo/pdfs/TNInterstate.pdf

"•Tennessee was known as a detour state in the 1920s due to the inability to traverse Monteagle Mountain. In 1923 a road was built across the mountain but it wasn’t until Interstate 24 was built from 1962 to 1968 that travel over the mountain became safe to motorists." (http://www.tdot.state.tn.us/interstateinfo/Tnfacts.htm)

Sorry to digress from OT, but at least it caught my interest.
« Last Edit: September 25, 2010, 01:33:40 PM by Grzrd »
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Brian556

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Re: Routing of I-24 around Monteagle, TN
« Reply #7 on: September 25, 2010, 12:13:05 PM »

Thanks, those are cool.
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RoadWarrior56

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Re: Routing of I-24 around Monteagle, TN
« Reply #8 on: September 25, 2010, 10:42:05 PM »

Between 1968 and 1977, I rode on I-24 over Monteagle virtually every year from age 12 on.  Then in 1982, I moved to Atlanta and drove it even more.  Here is the history about what opened and when from '68 on.  In 1968 I-24 on the northern slope of Montagle was already open to traffic.  It presumably was constructed in the early 1960's.  On top of Monteagle, the four-lane I-24 transitioned to the old three-lane section of US 41/64 that went down the south slope.  Two lanes were westbound, for climbing traffic and one lane was eastbound down the mountain.  I recall the south slope being signed for both US 41/64 AND I-24.  At the south bottom of the mountain, the three-lane section widened back into I-24.  This situation lasted until sometime after the summer of 1972.

By the summer of 1973, the new westbound lanes were opened to traffic on the south slope, basically in their current configuration.  At that point, I-24 split the way it does now but with one difference.  The old three-lane US 41/64 section was restriped and resigned as a one-way facility going eastbound for I-24.  The old steep grade and substandard shoulders, etc remained as they were.  Only the signs and stripes were changed. This condition continued until about 1983.

As I recall from 1983 till late 1986 or early 1987, the three-lane westbound I-24 that had been constructed in the early 1970's was striped as a four-lane facility with a jersey barrier down the middle and using part of the existing paved shoulders.  All I-24 traffic used this side of the mountain while the eastbound side was totally rebuilt to modern interstate standards, complete with runaway truck ramps.  The grade now is much more gradual, and is a far safer ride.

 
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Brian556

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Re: Routing of I-24 around Monteagle, TN
« Reply #9 on: September 26, 2010, 01:02:48 PM »

RoadWarrior56, Your information is greaty appreciated. That answers almost every question I had about that area.

I have a video of I-24 westbound over the mountain. It was made in 1985. It shows that uphill traffic had been moved to the left side of the concrete divider; and that the divider was being removed.

In the video I noticed that the divider appears to be of the permanant variety. It is taller than the temporary ones.
interesting considering that it was temporary.

Before this discussion popped up, I really hadn't done any research on this area. I believed some things based on bits and pieces of information that turned out to be false. I was under the impression that the WB uphill lanes were the original US highway aligment, and that there had been nothing where the EB downhill lanes are today. I started looking at maps/ ground evidence and realized that the original US highway alignment was where the EB downhill lanes are today. That's what really got me going to get this figured out. Again, thanks RoadWarrior56.

I do have a few questions.
Prior to the completion of the Westbound uphill lanes inthe early 70's, did the old highway still tie in at the bottom of the mountain? There is a very old STOP AHEAD sign still standing on it even though it just ends.
When did US 41/64 move to the interstate from what is SR 2 today?
When did US 41 move to the TN 150 alignment?

The portion of the old highway from the Martin Springs exit to the base of Monteagle Mountain is no longer state maintained. I find it interesting that the bridges on it are different from the ones on the portion that is now SR 2. The bridges on the not state maintained section are  wider than the ones on the SR 2 section. But they are all very old, having that slotted concrete wall design.
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wriddle082

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Re: Routing of I-24 around Monteagle, TN
« Reply #10 on: September 26, 2010, 01:41:31 PM »

Between 1968 and 1977, I rode on I-24 over Monteagle virtually every year from age 12 on.  Then in 1982, I moved to Atlanta and drove it even more.  Here is the history about what opened and when from '68 on.  In 1968 I-24 on the northern slope of Montagle was already open to traffic.  It presumably was constructed in the early 1960's.  On top of Monteagle, the four-lane I-24 transitioned to the old three-lane section of US 41/64 that went down the south slope.  Two lanes were westbound, for climbing traffic and one lane was eastbound down the mountain.  I recall the south slope being signed for both US 41/64 AND I-24.  At the south bottom of the mountain, the three-lane section widened back into I-24.  This situation lasted until sometime after the summer of 1972.

By the summer of 1973, the new westbound lanes were opened to traffic on the south slope, basically in their current configuration.  At that point, I-24 split the way it does now but with one difference.  The old three-lane US 41/64 section was restriped and resigned as a one-way facility going eastbound for I-24.  The old steep grade and substandard shoulders, etc remained as they were.  Only the signs and stripes were changed. This condition continued until about 1983.

As I recall from 1983 till late 1986 or early 1987, the three-lane westbound I-24 that had been constructed in the early 1970's was striped as a four-lane facility with a jersey barrier down the middle and using part of the existing paved shoulders.  All I-24 traffic used this side of the mountain while the eastbound side was totally rebuilt to modern interstate standards, complete with runaway truck ramps.  The grade now is much more gradual, and is a far safer ride.

 

I totally concur with the sequence of events, but I believe the dates may be slightly off, or it just took a really long time to reconstruct those EB downhill lanes.  I recall that those lanes opened to traffic in 1989 or 1990.

When Gov. Ned McWherter gave a speech at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the reconstructed EB downhill lanes, a runaway truck went speeding down the hill and was the first to "break in" one of the runaway truck ramps (which are the only ones I am aware of anywhere that run off to the left instead of the right).  I keep hearing that this was a publicity stunt, but it could have been unplanned.

Either way, I clearly remember traveling on the 2+2 80s vintage temporary lanes in 1988.  Those lanes, btw, had one runaway truck ramp located fairly close to the bottom of the mountain, and the remnants of it can be seen off to the left if you're traveling WB up the mountain.

RoadWarrior56, Your information is greaty appreciated. That answers almost every question I had about that area.

I have a video of I-24 westbound over the mountain. It was made in 1985. It shows that uphill traffic had been moved to the left side of the concrete divider; and that the divider was being removed.

In the video I noticed that the divider appears to be of the permanant variety. It is taller than the temporary ones.
interesting considering that it was temporary.

Before this discussion popped up, I really hadn't done any research on this area. I believed some things based on bits and pieces of information that turned out to be false. I was under the impression that the WB uphill lanes were the original US highway aligment, and that there had been nothing where the EB downhill lanes are today. I started looking at maps/ ground evidence and realized that the original US highway alignment was where the EB downhill lanes are today. That's what really got me going to get this figured out. Again, thanks RoadWarrior56.

I do have a few questions.
Prior to the completion of the Westbound uphill lanes inthe early 70's, did the old highway still tie in at the bottom of the mountain? There is a very old STOP AHEAD sign still standing on it even though it just ends.
When did US 41/64 move to the interstate from what is SR 2 today?
When did US 41 move to the TN 150 alignment?

The portion of the old highway from the Martin Springs exit to the base of Monteagle Mountain is no longer state maintained. I find it interesting that the bridges on it are different from the ones on the portion that is now SR 2. The bridges on the not state maintained section are  wider than the ones on the SR 2 section. But they are all very old, having that slotted concrete wall design.

US 41 moved to the TN 150 alignment sometime after all construction wrapped up in the late 80s.  US 64 used to join I-24 at either Exit 134 or Exit 135, but when TN 50 was four-laned b/w Winchester/Decherd and Exit 127 in the late 90s, they rerouted US 64 to this roadway, thus I-24 and US 64 are now multiplexed for 25 miles b/w Pelham and Kimball.  Now there is a multiplex of US 41A and Business US 64 from Winchester through Cowan and Sewanee to Monteagle at Exit 134.

Unfortunately I don't have a lot of info about the earlier history.
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RoadWarrior56

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Re: Routing of I-24 around Monteagle, TN
« Reply #11 on: September 26, 2010, 01:55:43 PM »

The first time I drove on the new easbound downhill lanes was in late summer of 1987.  I made that drive often, being that I lived in Atlanta but still had family in Indiana.  I think it still took about 3-4 years to reconstruct that side of the mountain.

I think that US 41 was rerouted onto SR 150 in about 1983.  I don't know for sure why that was done.  It might had been in conjunction with the reconstruction work on I-24, hoping that rerouting US 41 onto a different alignment might divert some of the traffic, or at least provide an overflow route.  Or maybe it was done for political reasons for the towns along the new route.

I have driven on that section of US 41 a couple of time since then.  You go straight up from the hill immediately off of US 64, and then stay on the plateau the rest of the way to Monteagle via Tracy City.

One time my dad and I drove the US 41 alignment on the west side of Monteagle.  That road was much worse than even the old alignment on the east side.  It was full of hairpin turns along with the steep grade.  I could see at that point why Tennessee built I-24 on the west side of Montagle long before they finished the east side.
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codyg1985

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Re: Routing of I-24 around Monteagle, TN
« Reply #12 on: September 26, 2010, 01:56:39 PM »

Thanks to everyone with all of the historical info about I-24. I am thinking of making a day trip up to a library in Marion or Grundy Counties to see if there are any old environmental statements showing I-24's routing through the area.

The interesting thing to me is that even though I-24 goes through Monteagle, the CSX railroad (old Nashville, Chattanooga, and St. Louis Railroad) between Nashville and Chattanooga actually goes through Alabama by way of Stevenson and Bridgeport, crosses the Tennessee River, and then crosses back into Tennessee.
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Brian556

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Re: Routing of I-24 around Monteagle, TN
« Reply #13 on: September 26, 2010, 02:46:33 PM »

There used to be a railroad track E-W across the top of the mountain, passing through the town of Monteagle. It has been removed, however, it bridge over I-24 remains.
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roadman65

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Re: Routing of I-24 around Monteagle, TN
« Reply #14 on: June 13, 2011, 01:25:50 AM »

Interesting topic as I now learned why US 41 is where it is now and why I-24 splits in that area.
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Re: Routing of I-24 around Monteagle, TN
« Reply #15 on: June 14, 2011, 05:20:11 PM »

A couple of other items about I-24 in this area:

Georgia agreed to maintain milepost continuity with Tennessee, so that the exits in Georgia to I-59 and GA299 are exits 167 and 169, respectively.  This was done even though Georgia did not otherwise use a milepost based exit numbering system until 2000.

The large overhead railroad bridge at mm 162 originally did not have the large concrete piers near the roadway.  This bridge significantly predates the interstate, but the existing steel supports did not have enough lateral clearance to allow a multilane highway to pass underneath.  Two of the steel support structures were replaced by three narrower concrete piers, which also required the replacement of the affected deck girders on the railroad bridge.

The large sweeping curve leading into Chattanooga sits on the site of a former rail yard, some of the tracks still remain.  Just a half mile or so to the west, I-24 was built on a fill in the Tennessee River starting where the highway runs along the bluff.  Vintage photos of the area show the bluff, two railroad tracks, and then river.  By routing the highway here, two more crossings of the Tennessee River were avoided.

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formulanone

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Re: Routing of I-24 around Monteagle, TN
« Reply #16 on: June 14, 2011, 10:48:37 PM »

...He allegedly was shot at a few times by people who thought he might be a reva'noor.

I'm going to guess that "reva'noor" = Revenuer? Google sent me to India with that word, and didn't give me a plane ticket back.

I-24 is really pretty in those parts, having seen it one early morning in December 2005. Here's a shot I took of the left-side runaway truck ramp...just randomly took some pics when it was finally light (and had the rare opportunity to be a passenger).

« Last Edit: June 14, 2011, 11:12:08 PM by formulanone »
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realjd

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Re: Routing of I-24 around Monteagle, TN
« Reply #17 on: June 15, 2011, 07:56:50 AM »

any detour around Monteagle would have added what? 10? 20? miles to the trip.  I dont like the stretch of 24, but it's probably the best fit for the area and is over quickly(usually).  Thank God it has 3 lanes going uphill on the westbound stretch.

Why on earth do you not like that stretch? It's one of the most scenic stretches on Interstate east of the Mississippi.
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SSF

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Re: Routing of I-24 around Monteagle, TN
« Reply #18 on: June 16, 2011, 08:05:04 PM »

any detour around Monteagle would have added what? 10? 20? miles to the trip.  I dont like the stretch of 24, but it's probably the best fit for the area and is over quickly(usually).  Thank God it has 3 lanes going uphill on the westbound stretch.

Why on earth do you not like that stretch? It's one of the most scenic stretches on Interstate east of the Mississippi.

it isnt the scenery, which i love; especially coming down the mountain on the eastbound side.  it's all the weaving/braking/frustration that traffic inevitably does going up the mountain when you have a 18 wheeler dropping to 25-35 in the right hand lane, then having another 18 wheeler doing 40 in the middle lane passing him, then the minivan doing 45 is forced into the left hand lane; meanwhile someone going 55 is forced to jam on their breaks. it just can be an aggravating stretch of road to drive on for the 8-10 miles. 
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kf4lhp

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Re: Routing of I-24 around Monteagle, TN
« Reply #19 on: July 31, 2011, 05:46:29 PM »

On a slightly related note, does anyone have a photo of the diagram sign posted at the Brake Inspection Station atop Monteagle on the eastbound lanes?
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