Interstate 75 in Tennessee
I-75 highlighted in red
|Maintained by TDOT|
|Length||161.86 mi (260.49 km)|
|Existed||1958 – present|
|South end||I-75 at Georgia state line|
I-24 in Chattanooga|
I-40 in Knoxville
I-640 in Knoxville
I-275 in Knoxville
|North end||I-75 at Kentucky state line|
|Counties||Hamilton, Bradley, McMinn, Monroe, Loudon, Knox, Anderson, Campbell|
In the U.S. state of Tennessee, Interstate 75 (I-75) runs from Chattanooga to Jellico by way of Knoxville. Interstate 75 enters the East Tennessee region following the Tennessee Valley from Georgia, all the way through Knoxville to near Rocky Top, then climbs into the Cumberland Mountains before crossing over into Kentucky at Jellico.
Interstate 75 enters Tennessee on the eastern side of East Ridge, a southern suburb of Chattanooga. Less than 1/2 mile into Tennessee is an interchange with U.S. Route 41 (US 41). About a mile later, at exit 2, is a three way interchange with Interstate 24, which runs west into Downtown Chattanooga and to Nashville. At this interchange, I-75 turns northeast, running along the eastern boundary of Chattanooga. Almost two miles later is an interchange with State Route 320 (320), which connects to East Brainerd, and about a half mile later is a three way interchange with the southern terminus of SR 153, a controlled access highway that runs northwest to the Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport and crosses the Tennessee River on the Chickamauga Dam. Accessible from the northbound lanes at this interchange is Hamilton Place Boulevard, a connector to Hamilton Place Mall. The southbound lanes of I-75 are also accessible from an entrance ramp from this road. At this point, I-75 enters a large commercial area dominated by Hamilton Place, and has an interchange with Shallowford Road about a mile later. A few miles later, at exit 7, I-75 has an interchange with US 11 southbound, US 64 westbound and SR 317 westbound, and begins a concurrency with these respective routes. Turning slightly northeast, the interstate crosses a Norfolk Southern Railway and at exit 9, SR 317 splits off to the east. I-75 then crosses a steep ridge, passing between the Enterprise South Industrial Park to the west and Collegedale to the east. A few miles later, in Ooltewah, US 11/64 split off at exit 11, where the route narrows to six lanes. I-75 then turns northwest, and narrows to four lanes.
Bradley to Loudon Counties
A few miles later, I-75 begins a steep ascent up the western slope of White Oak Mountain, where the northbound lanes receive a truck climbing lane. At this point, the interstate turns northeast, and for the next three miles traverses east northeast over the top of White Oak Mountain, where it crosses into Bradley County. I-75 then runs for the next several miles through a predominantly wooded and agricultural area and crossing a few ridges before reaching Cleveland at an interchange with APD-40 eastbound (US 64 Bypass), a bypass and connector to US 64. Running along the western edge of Cleveland, I-75 has an interchange with SR 60 about 4.5 miles later, also crossing Candies Creek Ridge at this location, and less than 2 miles later, an interchange with Paul Huff Parkway, a major thoroughfare along the northern part of Cleveland. The interstate then leaves Cleveland, and enters rural northern Bradley County, running northeast. Beginning at this point and continuing for nearly 60 miles, I-75 is very straight and flat, with few curves. Nearly the entirety of this section also contains an extremely wide median, mostly separated by trees. In some locations, the north and southbound lanes are as much as a half mile apart.
About twelve miles north of the central business district of Cleveland, I-75 curves to the northeast, and crosses the Hiwassee River into McMinn County, and then curves back to the northwest. This area is extremely susceptible to fog hazards, which obscures the visibility of drivers, and several bad accidents have occurred on this section as a result. Running through mostly wooded and agricultural areas, I-75 reaches Athens about 15 miles later, and has an interchange with SR 30, a major east-west corridor in East Tennessee. Running through northern McMinn County, the interstate passes near several unincorporated communities, and has interchanges with several secondary state highways. Around mile marker 58, I-75 enters Monroe County, and a few miles later passes near the town of Sweetwater, containing an interchange with SR 68, another major primary state highway. A few miles later, I-75 crosses into Loudon County. At exit 72 is an interchange with SR 72, which connects to Loudon, and a few miles later, the highways crosses the Tennessee River on the Mitchell W. Stout Memorial Bridges. I-75 then enters a predominantly commercial and residential area, and has an interchange with US 321 and SR 95 in Lenoir City. These routes also connect to Oak Ridge and Maryville. Curving slightly to the west and then again to the east, I-75 reaches an interchange with I-40 westbound about three miles later, where it begins a concurrency with I-40. About 20 miles west southwest of Knoxville, the concurrent routes widen to six lanes and cross into Knox County less than a mile later.
Running approximately east northeast the two interstates pass through the western suburbs of Knoxville including Farragut and West Knoxville. Along this concurrency exits are numbered according to I-40 mileage. At exit 374 is an interchange with SR 131 (Lovell Road), where the highway widens to eight lanes, and less than two miles later is a four way interchange with the Pellissippi Parkway (SR 162 westbound, I-140 eastbound), which connects to Oak Ridge to the west and Maryville to the east. At exit 380 is an interchange with US 11/70 (Kingston Pike), which connects to the West Hills neighborhood and West Town Mall. About 5 miles later, at an interchange with the western terminus of I-640, the northern bypass around downtown Knoxville, I-75 splits north off of I-40 and onto a concurrency with I-640. Along this concurrency, exits are numbered according to I-640 mileage. Heading north, the interstates come to an interchange with SR 62 (Western Avenue) about a mile later. About 1.5 miles later is a complicated interchange with I-275 southbound, the former route of I-75, and US 25W, where I-75 splits off.
Clinch River Valley and Cumberland Mountains
Leaving Knoxville, I-75 turns north and begins its descent into the Clinch River Valley, crossing several paralleling ridges of the Ridge and Valley Appalachians. The next 20 miles of I-75 north of Knoxville are characterized mostly by a slight downhill. At exit 112 in Powell, I-75 once again has an interchange with SR 131, and the interstate narrows from six to four lanes. Entering a rural area, I-75 runs along a creek valley for the next several miles that bisects several ridges in a crooked and hazardous segment marked by several "s-curves." Maintaining its north-northwesterly direction, I-75 crosses into Anderson County. Beyond this section, the Cumberland Mountains become visible in the distance. The interstate further descends into the valley, and at exit 122 has an interchange with SR 61 near Clinton. I-75 then descends sharply into the Clinch River Gorge, and Crosses the Clinch River a few miles later. About four miles later, near the community of Rocky Top, I-75 has interchanges with US 441, and US 25W, beginning a concurrency with the latter. The interstate then crosses into Campbell County
For approximately the last 30 miles in Tennessee, I-75 traverses the Cumberland Mountains range of the Appalachian Mountains. This entire section is considered very scenic and is prone to rockslides in many locations. Around milepost 130, I-75 begins its first major steep ascent, crossing two railroads, and at exit 134, near the community of Caryville, US 25W splits off and I-75 begins a concurrency with SR 63. The interstate then begins another even steeper ascent, and adds a truck climbing lane going northbound. About six miles later, the route levels out and the truck lane terminates, and less than a mile later, at exit 141, SR 63 splits off near the unincorporated community of Pioneer. Traveling through a further sparsely populated rural area marked by dense woodlands, I-75 remains relatively flat for a few miles before beginning its ascent over Jellico Mountain, the southern tip of Pine Mountain, which continues into Virginia, and once again adds a truck climbing lane. I-75 then curves sharply to the northeast and about a mile later, reaches the top of Jellico Mountain at an elevation of over 2,000 feet, where the truck lane ends. For roughly the next eight miles, I-75 runs along the crest of Jellico Mountain, with several minor ups and downs, before beginning a sharp descent down the western slope of the Cumberland Mountains. About four miles later, the interstate reaches the bottom of the mountains and has an interchange with US 25W in the city of Jellico. Less than a mile later, I-75 crosses into Kentucky, continuing through a largely rural mountainous terrain.
Construction of Interstate 75 in Tennessee began in 1958 with short segments in Chattanooga and Knoxville. The route was completed through Chattanooga in November 1962, and through Knoxville in the Fall of 1965. The section between Ooltewah and Cleveland opened on October 18, 1966. I-75 was constructed in segments in Northern Anderson and Campbell Counties between 1961 and 1965.
As construction progressed, many disputes with right-of-way acquisition arose in multiple locations, which delayed the project. I-75 was complete through most of Anderson and Loudon Counties in 1971, and southern Anderson and northern Knox Counties in 1972. The final section of the highway, located in northern Bradley and McMinn Counties, opened in December 1973.
Interstate 75 originally continued into downtown Knoxville then turned to the north at Malfunction Junction, following what is now signed as Interstate 275. When the western section of Interstate 640 was completed in 1982, Interstate 75 was moved to overlap the auxiliary route to divert through traffic away from downtown in preparation for the 1982 World's Fair. This concurrency is somewhat unusual in that the exit numbers and mile markers follow the auxiliary route I-640 instead of Interstate 75 mileage.
On November 5, 1978, a 62 vehicle accident occurred in dense fog near the Bowater paper mill across the Hiwassee River Bridge near Calhoun that injured 46. On December 11, 1990, a 99 vehicle accident occurred in this same area that resulted in 12 deaths and 56 injuries. After this accident, TDOT instituted several safety measures along this stretch of highway, including re-striping the roadway with extra markings to make it more visible and installing a fog detection system, which contains a warning system with flashing lights, electronic signs, and variable speed limits. Between mileposts 31 and 39, the highway is designated as a fog advisory zone. The accident was later profiled on the show Forensic Files.
The entire section of I-75 in Tennessee north of Knoxville has been subject to many geological difficulties, particularly the last 30 miles through the Cumberland Mountains.
In March 2005, the southbound lanes of Interstate 75 were shut down between mile marker 141 to 143 due to a rockslide below the roadway that caused the pavement to partially collapse.
In March 2012, the southbound lanes of the interstate were again closed to traffic between mile markers 141 and 143 in Campbell County, Tennessee due to a slide beneath the roadway. This was later followed by a second slide in early May 2012 that caused a portion of the southbound lanes to completely erode and forced the detour lanes to be closed.
In February 2016, a rock slide closed I-75 near Caryville, Tennessee.
On May 1, 2008 I-75 northbound traffic was re-routed back along its original path in downtown Knoxville along Interstate 275 as part of SmartFix 40, a major construction project that includes closing a portion of I-40. Traffic was re-routed along I-275 as the ramp from I-640 Eastbound/I-75 Northbound to I-75 Northbound is only one lane which causes traffic delays at peak times.
This section contains a table that is missing mileposts for one or more junctions.
|Hamilton||East Ridge||0.00||0.00||I-75 south (SR 401) – Atlanta||Georgia state line|
|0.52||0.84||1||US 41 (US 76 / SR 8) – East Ridge||Signed as exits 1A (south) and 1B (north) northbound|
|Chattanooga||1.3||2.1||2||I-24 west to I-59 south – Chattanooga, Nashville, Birmingham||South end of US 74 concurrency, left exit northbound; I-24 exits 185A-B; eastern terminus of I-24; directional T interchange.|
|3.4||5.5||3||SR 320 (East Brainerd Road)||Signed as exits 3A (east) and 3B (west) northbound|
|4||6.4||4A||SR 153 north – Chattanooga Airport, Chickamauga Dam|
|4.2||6.8||4B||Hamilton Place Boulevard||Northbound exit and southbound entrance; access to Hamilton Place Mall|
|Standifer Gap Road||Removed c. 1970|
|7.7||12.4||7||US 11 south / US 64 west (Old Lee Highway / SR 2 west) / SR 317 west (Bonny Oaks Drive) – Summit, Collegedale||South end of US 11/US 64/SR 2 concurrency; signed as exits 7A (SR 317 east) and 7B (SR 317 west) northbound|
|9.1||14.6||9||SR 317 (Apison Pike) – Ooltewah, Collegedale / Volkswagen Drive||Serves Volkswagen Chattanooga Assembly Plant|
|11.7||18.8||11||US 11 north / US 64 east (SR 2 east) – Ooltewah, Collegedale||North end of US 11/US 64/SR 2 concurrency|
US 64 Byp. east (US 74 east / SR 311) – Cleveland
|North end of US 74 concurrency|
|25||40||25||SR 60 – Cleveland, Dayton, Lee University|
|26.7||43.0||27||Paul Huff Parkway – Cleveland|
|||32.8||52.8||33||SR 308 – Charleston|
|McMinn||||35.8||57.6||36||SR 163 – Calhoun|
|||42.1||67.8||42||SR 39 (Riceville Road) – Riceville|
|Athens||48.7||78.4||49||SR 30 – Decatur, Athens|
|||52.1||83.8||52||SR 305 (Mount Verd Road) – Athens|
|||56||90||56||SR 309 – Niota|
|Monroe||Sweetwater||60.6||97.5||60||SR 68 – Spring City, Sweetwater|
|62.7||100.9||62||SR 322 (Oakland Road) – Sweetwater|
|Loudon||||68.7||110.6||68||SR 323 – Philadelphia|
|Loudon||72.1||116.0||72||SR 72 – Loudon|
|||76.7||123.4||76||SR 324 (Sugar Limb Road)|
|Lenoir City||81.4||131.0||81||US 321 (SR 73) to SR 95 – Oak Ridge, Lenoir City, Maryville|
|||84.3||135.7||84B||I-40 west – Nashville||South end of I-40 concurrency; no exit number southbound; concurrency uses I-40 exit numbers; I-40 west exit 368|
|373||Campbell Station Road – Farragut|
|Knoxville||374||SR 131 (Lovell Road)|
|376||I-140 east / SR 162 north – Oak Ridge, Maryville||Signed as exits 376A (north) and 376B (east) on collector/distributor lanes; I-140 west exits 1C-D|
|378||Cedar Bluff Road||Signed as exits 378A (south) and 378B (north) southbound; southbound exit 378B also serves Executive Park Drive|
|379||Bridgewater Road, Walker Springs Road, Gallaher View Road||Signed as exits 379 (Bridgewater Road, Walker Springs Road) and 379A (Gallaher View Road) southbound|
|380||US 11 / US 70 (Kingston Pike / SR 1) – West Hills, West Town Mall||Also access to Montvue Road|
|383||SR 332 (Northshore Drive / Papermill Road) / Weisgarber Road||Complete access to Northshore Drive and Papermill Road; southbound exit and entrance only for Weisgarber Road; Northshore Drive signed northbound only|
|385||I-40 east / I-640 west – Knoxville||North end of I-40 concurrency; south end of I-640 concurrency; concurrency uses I-640 exit numbers|
|1||SR 62 (Western Avenue)||Northbound split into separate unnumbered exits for eastbound and westbound exits on collector/distributor lanes|
|3B||US 25W north (SR 9 north) / Gap Road – Clinton||Northbound exit only|
|3||I-640 east (US 25W south / SR 9 south) – Asheville||North end of I-640 concurrency; no exit number northbound; no exits from I-75 to US 25W northbound|
|3||I-275 south – Knoxville||No exit number southbound|
|108||Merchants Drive||Southbound access to northbound US 25W|
|112||SR 131 (Emory Road) – Powell|
|||117||SR 170 (Raccoon Valley Road)|
|Anderson||||122||SR 61 – Clinton, Norris|
|Rocky Top||128||US 441 (SR 71) – Rocky Top|
|129||US 25W south (SR 9 south / SR 116) – Rocky Top||South end of US 25W/SR 9 concurrency|
|Campbell||Caryville||134||US 25W north / SR 63 east (SR 9 north) – Caryville, Jacksboro, LaFollette||North end of US 25W/SR 9 concurrency; south end of SR 63 concurrency|
|141||SR 63 west – Huntsville, Oneida||North end of SR 63 concurrency|
|||144||Stinking Creek Road|
|||156||Rarity Mountain Road|
|Jellico||160||US 25W (SR 9) – Jellico|
|161.86||260.49||I-75 north – Lexington||Kentucky state line|
|1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi|
- "FHWA Route Log". Retrieved October 4, 2014.
- "Interstate System near Halfway Mark". The Tennessean. October 27, 1966. Retrieved November 28, 2017.
- "Ribbon Cutting Ceremony Opens I-75 in Cleveland". Cleveland Daily Banner. October 19, 1966.
- George, Dan (December 10, 1991). "Investigators, Victims Still Seeking Answers to Tennessee Pileup". Associated Press. Retrieved January 17, 2018.
- "Many Injured in 62-Car Accident". Greenville Daily Advocate. November 6, 1978. Retrieved January 17, 2018.
- National Transportation Safety Board (September 28, 1992). Multiple-vehicle collisions and fire during limited visibility (fog) on Interstate 75 near Calhoun, Tennessee December 11, 1990. Retrieved December 22, 2011.
- Sneed, Calvin (December 11, 2015). "'Stumbling Out Of The Fog': Memories of the Worst Traffic Accident in Tennessee History". Chattanooga, Tennessee: WTVC-TV. Retrieved January 17, 2018.
- TDOT news release
- Governor Bill Haslam (March 9, 2012). "Slide Forces TDOT to Close I-75 South in Campbell County" (Press release). State of Tennessee. Retrieved January 29, 2013.
- "Campbell County fretful after latest I-75 slide". Knoxville News Sentinel. Retrieved January 29, 2013.
- "TDOT awards emergency repair contract for I-75 rock slide". Knoxville, Tennessee: WBIR. February 29, 2016. Retrieved January 17, 2018.