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"Murphy was an optimist!"

I-40 is closed! Stay at home! May 1, 2008 10:17 am

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Daily Life
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Gas is now more expensive than milk and I am tempted to see if my van runs better on whole or 2%.

That’s right! Interstate 40 is closed at downtown Knoxville for 14 months! This could be reason enough for me to stay at home. I highly encourage telecommuting and shopping from home. I wonder if we could use our webcam for dog school and karate classes?



Traffic Cameras provided by TDOT SmartWay (per linking policy)
View the many other cameras.

I-40 runs the width of the United States starting in my birth town of Wilmington, North Carolina and running all the way to Barstow, California with the most miles of I-40 running through Tennessee. When I lived in Germantown, Tennessee (Memphis) I-40 had a peculiarity, it dead ended at the Memphis Zoo (specifically Overton Park). A roughened road would audibly warn you that the Interstate was coming to a stop and suddenly you were at a traffic light. You’d travel a few blocks on local roads then get back on the interstate again. I even remember discussion of running a tunnel under the zoo. Apparently the northern loop of I-240 (the Memphis bypass) has now been redesignated as I-40.

In Memphis, I-40 was originally intended to go through the city’s Overton Park toward downtown. Several miles of interstate were actually built within the I-240 loop; this portion of highway still exists and is in regular use as Sam Cooper Boulevard, reaching the eastern end of Chickasaw Country Club. Environmentalist opposition, combined with a victory in the United States Supreme Court by opponents of the Overton Park route … forced abandonment of the original plans, and the road never reached the park. For over 20 years, I-40 signage existed on the dead-end route toward Overton Park. Eventually, the northern portion of the I-240 loop was redesignated as I-40. [Source, Wikipedia]

I remember I-40 ending at Raleigh, North Carolina. It took 4 hours to drive a two lane road the rest of the way to Wilmington. In the 1980s, I-40 was extended all the way to Wilmington, that travel time is cut in half. I remember using those 2 extra hours as an excuse to not visit my grandparents.

Thanks to the interstate highway system, it is now possible to travel from coast to coast without seeing anything. [Source, Wikipedia, Charles Kuralt]

Les Jones has wonderful pictures of I-40’s construction through Knoxville in the 60s! The photos are out west toward West Hills and Lovell but they are fascinating to see this monstrosity of concrete plowing through people’s farms. I found the pictures intriguing in considering what structures were at the junctions then and now. Redmondkr, in a Knoxviews comment, provided a wonderful areal photograph he took in the 70s which is in sharp comparison to how malfunction junction appears in today’s GoogleMaps.

This Saturday our family will experience the SmartFix as we have to travel out Strawberry Plains way for dog school. I am sure we will Twitter, Flickr, and Utterz our experience the whole way! Knoxviews calls this SmartFIX40: The Apocalypse. So far the TDOT traffic cameras don’t show traffic as that bad.

If you are interested in saving the latest wilderness of the Southeast, dislike seeing needless billions of dollars spent, and want to make a difference, please visit stopi-3.org!

Update: Read what others are saying about Smartfix40!

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