All three of mainline interchanges of Interstate 275 underwent reconstruction between December 1, 2006 and January 26, 2008 in anticipation of the "Smartfix" Interstate 40 project.1 The $20-million project reconfigured the compact full-cloverleaf interchanges (Baxter, Oldham and Heiskell Avenues) to eliminate weaving traffic movements and accommodate a 2.1-mile widening of the freeway from four to six lanes. Exits 1A/B became Exit 1A, Exits 1C/D became Exit 1B, and Exits 2A/B became Exit 2, all standard diamond interchanges. The work included an expansion of one mile of Interstate 640 as well.2

Interstate 275 was constructed in 1958 and signed as a part of the Interstate 75 mainline through Knoxville. A shift of the designation occurred in 1982, when Interstate 75 moved to the completed Knoxville bypass (Interstate 640) in time for the World's Fair.1 During that time frame, the freeway was reconfigured at the southern terminus with Interstate 40 and Oak Avenue. The cloverleaf interchange at I-40 was replaced with a high-speed stack interchange and the freeway end at Oak Avenue was replaced with ramps feeding into U.S. 441 (Henley Street).


U.S. 441 north
U.S. 441 brings traffic northward from Sevierville into the city of Knoxville to the Interstate 275 connector west of downtown. Photo taken 08/23/03.
The 2.98-mile freeway begins at a wye interchange with U.S. 441 (Henley Street) north ahead of Western Avenue (SSR 62) and Summit Hill Drive. Photo taken 08/23/03.
Interstate 275 north
Interstate 275 commences and travels high above Interstate 40 from Henley Street to the eastbound off-ramp for Asheville, North Carolina. A stacked directional cloverleaf interchange joins the two freeways adjacent to several Norfolk Southern Railroad tracks. Photo taken 08/23/03.
Downtown area traffic partitions between the Interstate 40 westbound loop ramp and the Interstate 275 northbound mainline. Traffic from Interstate 40 has yet to merge onto Interstate 275. Therefore only one lane of traffic continue northward at this point. Photo taken 08/23/03.
2 photos
2 photos
Interstate 275 passes over Bernard Avenue on quarter-mile approach to Baxter Avenue (Exit 1A). Originally a parclo interchange joined the freeway with West 5th Avenue to University Avenue. That connection was removed when the original cloverleaf with Interstate 40 was reconfigured in 1981/82. Photo taken 08/23/03. Second photo taken 10/15/11.
Three mainline exits of Interstate 275 originally consisted of compact full cloverleaf interchanges. Pictured here was the Exit 1A ramp departure for Baxter Avenue eastbound and four-lane freeway mainline. Baxter Avenue travels nine blocks to its end at Folsom Street to the northeast. Photo taken 08/23/03.
The Exit 1A cloverleaf interchange was converted into a diamond interchange during 2006-07 as part of an overall project to widen Interstate 275 to six lanes. Photo taken 10/15/11.
Historical look at Interstate 275 northbound at the former Exit 1B cloverleaf ramp to Baxter Avenue westbound. One block to the west Baxter Avenue yields the westbound beginning of Beaumont Avenue. Beaumont Avenue links Baxter and Interstate 275 with Western Avenue (Tennessee Secondary 62) an important east-west arterial between Knoxville and Oak Ridge. Photo taken 08/23/03.
A short distance to the north of the Baxter Avenue / Exit 1A is the former Exit 1C/D cloverleaf (now Exit 1B); this interchange was converted into a diamond interchange between 2006-07. Photo taken 10/15/11.
2 photos
2 photos
A fourth northbound lane travels Interstate 275 between Baxter Avenue and Exit 1B. Intersecting the freeway here is the east-west Oldham and Woodland Avenues. The naming convention of the surface street changes from Oldham to Woodland as one travels east under Interstate 275. Photo taken 08/23/03. Second photo taken 10/15/11.
Former Exit 1D departed for Oldham Avenue westbound. Woodland & Oldham Avenue represent one of four Norfolk-Southern Railroad crossings between Interstate 40 and Atlantic Avenue. The railroad corridor parallels Interstate 275 in a north-south fashion between Interstates 40 and 75-640. Photo taken 08/23/03.
A two-mile sign bridge for the exchange with Interstates 75 & 640 and U.S. 25W appears at the former Exit 1D off-ramp location. Photo taken 10/15/11.
The third and final mainline interchange exists as a diamond interchange between Interstate 275 and Heiskell Avenue. Photo taken 10/15/11.
2 photos
2 photos
Heiskell Avenue connects the freeway with Texas Avenue to the west and Central Avenue to the east. The Exit 2 ramp serves the Arlington and Lincoln Park neighborhoods of the city. Photo taken 08/23/03. Second photo taken 10/15/11.
Interstate 275 travels underneath Heiskell Avenue at the former Exit 2B loop ramp onto westbound. Heiskell Avenue in conjunction with Texas Avenue connects Interstate 275 with Western Avenue through northwest Knoxville. Formerly displayed here were guide signs for Exit 2B and the one half mile guide sign for Exit 3. Note that the Exit 3 panel ignored Interstate 75 in favor of just Interstate 640 & U.S. 25W. The sign likely dated from before Interstate 75 was relocated onto the Knoxville loop. Photo taken 08/23/03.
A new sign bridge was installed to replace overheads attache to the Heiskell Avenue overpass. U.S. 25W is only referenced for the exit from the westbound ramp to Interstate 640 & I-75 south. U.S. 25W shares pavement with Interstate 640 eastward to Interstate 40 otherwise. Photo taken 10/15/11.
2 photos
2 photos
Continuing northward on the final stretch of Interstate 275, the Heiskell Avenue on-ramp becomes an auxiliary lane for the Knoxville Bypass and U.S. 25W (Clinton Highway). Older signs ignored the fact that Interstate 75 southbound follows Interstate 640 west until at least 2003. Photo taken 08/23/03. Second photo taken 10/15/11.
2 photos
2 photos
Interstate 275 ends as traffic continues onto I-75 northbound. Exit 3 diverges to the right with a quick partition between ramps to U.S. 25W north (Clinton Highway), I-75 south & 640 west, and I-640 east & U.S. 25W south. Photo taken 08/23/03. Second photo taken 10/15/11.
Interstate 275 defaults onto Interstate 75 north through a multi-level directional cloverleaf interchange. Photo taken 10/15/11.
Interstate 275 south
Exit 3 directs Interstate 75 southbound motorists onto Interstate 640 east & U.S. 25W north to Tri-Cities and Asheville from the southbound beginning of Interstate 275. Photo taken 11/08/09.
A stacked directional cloverleaf interchange complex joins Interstates 75-275 with Interstates 75-640 (Knoxville bypass) and adjacent U.S. 25W (Clinton Highway). Flyover ramps continue Interstate 75 north from I-640 and carry motorists from I-640 west onto I-275 south to Downtown. Photo taken 11/08/09.
Traffic destined for Interstate 640 east & U.S. 25W southbound depart Interstate 275 south at the Exit 3 loop ramp. Interstate 640 & U.S. 25W overlap for seven miles to Interstate 40 in east Knoxville. Photo taken 11/08/09.
Interstate 275 crosses Sharp Ridge at Sharp Gap on the half-mile approach to Exit 2 (Heiskell Avenue). Photo taken 11/08/09.
2 photos
2 photos
Heiskell Avenue connects Interstate 275 with Central Street to the east and Texas Avenue at the Lonsdale neighborhood to the west. This interchange was converted from a full cloverleaf to a diamond interchange between 2006-07. Exits 2B is now Exit 2. Photo taken 11/08/09. Second photo taken 08/23/03.
Exit 2 departs Interstate 275 southbound for Heiskell Avenue. Lincoln Park lies to the east; Texas Avenue continues the drive southward to Tennessee Secondary 62 (Western Avenue) at West Knoxville. Photo taken 11/08/09.
2 photos
2 photos
Interstate 275 reassurance marker, and its replacement, posted after Exit 2 and before the ridge ahead of Exit 1B (Woodland Avenue). Photo taken 08/23/03. Second photo taken 11/08/09.
A temporary guide sign posted ahead of the Exit 1B diamond interchange with Oldham Avenue on Interstate 275 south. Photo taken 11/08/09.
2 photos
2 photos
Interstate 275 kinks to the east between Murphy Avenue and the Norfolk-Southern Railroad corridor to the north of Oldham Avenue west / Woodland Avenue east (Exit 1B). Loops ramps at Oldham Avenue were removed when Interstate 275 was widened to six lanes. Exits 1D/C were reconfigured into a new Exit 1B ramp. Photo taken 08/23/03. Second photo taken 11/08/09.
2 photos
2 photos
Southbound at Exit 1B to Oldham Avenue. Oldham Avenue becomes Woodland Avenue east of the freeway en route to Central Street and U.S. 441 (Broadway). Photo taken 08/23/03. Second photo taken 11/08/09.
Oldham Avenue ventures west from Interstate 275 to Toms Street and Malcolm Martin Park at Knox College. Exit 1A follows as a diamond interchange with Baxter Avenue, an east-west through street between Beaumont Avenue / West Knoxville and Central Street. Photo taken 11/08/09.
Historical look at the former Exit 1C loop ramp onto Woodland Avenue east. Photo taken 08/23/03.
Interstate 275 continues south immediately to Exit 1A (Baxter Avenue). Interests to U.S. 441 and Downtown Knoxville are advised to remain along the freeway beyond Interstate 40. Photo taken 11/08/09.
With the Knoxville Sunsphere drawing into view, Interstate 275 splits with Exit 1A to Baxter Avenue. The southbound freeway continues one half mile to a stacked directional cloverleaf interchange with Interstate 40. Photo taken 11/08/09.
Interstate 275 southbound at the Baxter Avenue overpass and original Exit 1A loop ramp. Photo taken 08/23/03.
Approaching downtown Knoxville and the partition into ramps for Interstate 40 west to Interstate 75 south to Nashville and Chattanooga, Interstate 40 east to Asheville, and the U.S. 441 connector to Henley Street. Photo taken 11/08/09.
Interstate 275 defaults onto Interstate 40 west. Interstate 40 westbound meets the north end of U.S. 129 (Exit 386B) in one mile and Interstate 75 in two miles. Interests to the University of Tennessee Campus should follow Interstate 40 west from Interstate 275 to Exits 387 (SSR 62) or 386B. Photo taken 11/08/09.
The westbound Interstate 40 panel was replaced by 2011. A greenout was applied to the U.S. 441 reference on the Henley Street off-ramp due to the Henly Bridge project. The bridge rebuild will replace the deck, but retain the original arch design. Closed on January 3, 2011, work is slated for completion by June 30, 2013. Signage for U.S. 441 detours motorists onto Interstate 40, Tennessee 158, and Tennessee 71. Photo taken 10/15/11.
A look at the Knoxville skyline from the Interstate 275 ramp split to Interstate 40. Knoxville was home to 178,874 residents according to the 2010 U.S. Census. Photo taken 11/08/09.
Ramps for Interstate 40 east and U.S. 441 (Henley Street) south partition for high flyovers. Interstate 40 angles northeastward from downtown to Tennessee 158 (James White Parkway) and Hall of Fame Drive. The freeway exits the city by way of Burlington, Chilhowee Hills and the Holston River. Photo taken 11/08/09.
The U.S. 441 connector provides access not only to Henley Street southbound at downtown, but also Tennessee Secondary 62 (Western Avenue). Photo taken 11/08/09.
Curving eastward from Interstate 275 south to Interstate 40 east. Another view of the Knoxville central business district is afforded. Photo taken 11/08/09.

Sources:

  1. "Highway headaches Motorists will get plenty before latest interstate changes finished." Knoxville News-Sentinel, February 11, 2008.
  2. "Work begins today on $20M update for Interstate 275." Knoxville News-Sentinel, November 28, 2006.


Photo Credits:

  • 08/23/03 by AARoads and Justin Cozart.
  • 11/08/09 by AARoads.
  • 10/15/11 by Carter Buchanan.

Connect with:
Interstate 40
Interstate 75

Page Updated 11-01-2011.