Interstate 75 in Tennessee Article

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Interstate 75 marker

Interstate 75
I-75 highlighted in red
Route information
Maintained by TDOT
Length161.86 mi [1] (260.49 km)
Major junctions
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
Highway system
SR 74 SR 75

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.

Route description


Scenic view along Interstate 75 southbound crossing White Oak Mountain

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

I-75 northbound in Athens.

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.


I-75 north, along its concurrency with I-40 east in Knoxville

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 grade. 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

View from I-75 on top of Jellico Mountain near the Kentucky border.

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.


Early history

Construction of I-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 late 1965. [2] The section between Ooltewah and SR 60 in Cleveland opened on October 18, 1966. [3] I-75 was constructed in segments in northern Anderson and Campbell counties between 1961 and 1967.[ citation needed]

As construction progressed, many disputes with right-of-way acquisition arose in multiple locations, which delayed the project. The section between SR 60 and SR 308 in Bradley County was completed in 1970. [4] The section between SR 131 north of Knoxville and SR 61 in Clinton broke ground in segments, beginning in late 1968, and was opened to traffic and completed in 1972. The section of the highway between SR 308 near Charleston and SR 30 in Athens opened on December 24, 1973, and was completed the following spring. [4] The segment between SR 30 and SR 68 in Sweetwater was completed shortly thereafter. The last section, between SR 68 and SR 72 in Loudon, was completed in 1974. [5][ better source needed]

I-75 originally continued into downtown Knoxville then turned to the north at Malfunction Junction, following what is now signed as I-275. When the western section of I-640 was completed in 1982, I-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 I-75 mileage.

Fog hazards

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. [6] On December 11, 1990, a 99 vehicle accident occurred in this same area that resulted in 12 deaths and 56 injuries. [7] 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. [8] The accident was later profiled on the show Forensic Files [9].

Geological difficulties

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. [10]

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. [11] This was later followed by a second slide in early May 2012 [12] 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. [13]


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.

Exit list

Hamilton East Ridge0.000.00 I-75 south ( SR 401) – Atlanta Georgia state line
0.520.841 US 41 ( US 76 / SR 8) – East RidgeSigned as exits 1A (south) and 1B (north) northbound
Chattanooga1.32.12 I-24 west to I-59 south – Chattanooga, Nashville, BirminghamSouth end of US 74 concurrency, left exit northbound; I-24 exits 185A-B; eastern terminus of I-24; directional T interchange.
3.45.53 SR 320 (East Brainerd Road)Signed as exits 3A (east) and 3B (west) northbound
46.44A SR 153 north – Chattanooga Airport, Chickamauga Dam
4.26.84BHamilton Place BoulevardNorthbound exit and southbound entrance; access to Hamilton Place Mall
5.58.95Shallowford Road
Standifer Gap RoadRemoved c. 1970
7.712.47 US 11 south / US 64 west ( Old Lee Highway / SR 2 west) / SR 317 west (Bonny Oaks Drive) – Summit, CollegedaleSouth end of US 11/US 64/SR 2 concurrency; signed as exits 7A (SR 317 east) and 7B (SR 317 west) northbound
9.114.69 SR 317 (Apison Pike) – Ooltewah, Collegedale / Volkswagen DriveServes Volkswagen Chattanooga Assembly Plant
11.718.811 US 11 north / US 64 east ( SR 2 east) – Ooltewah, CollegedaleNorth end of US 11/US 64/SR 2 concurrency
Bradley Cleveland20.432.820
US 64 Byp. east ( US 74 east / SR 311) – Cleveland
North end of US 74 concurrency
254025 SR 60 – Cleveland, Dayton, Lee University
26.743.027 Paul Huff Parkway – Cleveland
32.852.833 SR 308 – Charleston
McMinn35.857.636 SR 163 – Calhoun
42.167.842 SR 39 (Riceville Road) – Riceville
Athens48.778.449 SR 30 – Decatur, Athens
52.183.852 SR 305 (Mount Verd Road) – Athens
569056 SR 309 – Niota
Monroe Sweetwater60.697.560 SR 68 – Spring City, Sweetwater
62.7100.962 SR 322 (Oakland Road) – Sweetwater
Loudon68.7110.668 SR 323 – Philadelphia
Loudon72.1116.072 SR 72 – Loudon
76.7123.476 SR 324 (Sugar Limb Road)
Lenoir City81.4131.081 US 321 ( SR 73) to SR 95 – Oak Ridge, Lenoir City, Maryville
84.3135.784B I-40 west – NashvilleSouth end of I-40 concurrency; no exit number southbound; concurrency uses I-40 exit numbers; I-40 exit 368 westbound
Knox Farragut369Watt Road
373Campbell Station Road – Farragut
Knoxville374 SR 131 (Lovell Road)
376 I-140 east / SR 162 north – Oak Ridge, MaryvilleSigned as exits 376A (north) and 376B (east) on collector/distributor lanes; I-140 exits 1C-D westbound
378Cedar Bluff RoadSigned as exits 378A (south) and 378B (north) southbound; southbound exit 378B also serves Executive Park Drive
379Bridgewater Road, Walker Springs Road, Gallaher View RoadSigned 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 MallAlso access to Montvue Road
383 SR 332 (Northshore Drive / Papermill Road) / Weisgarber RoadComplete 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 – KnoxvilleNorth 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 – ClintonNorthbound exit only
3 I-640 east ( US 25W south / SR 9 south) – AshevilleNorth end of I-640 concurrency; no exit number northbound; no exits from I-75 to US 25W northbound
3 I-275 south – KnoxvilleNo exit number southbound
108Merchants DriveSouthbound access to northbound US 25W
110Callahan Drive
112 SR 131 (Emory Road) – Powell
117 SR 170 (Raccoon Valley Road)
Anderson122 SR 61 – Clinton, Norris
Rocky Top128 US 441 ( SR 71) – Rocky Top
129 US 25W south ( SR 9 south / SR 116) – Rocky TopSouth end of US 25W/SR 9 concurrency
Campbell Caryville134 US 25W north / SR 63 east ( SR 9 north) – Caryville, Jacksboro, LaFolletteNorth end of US 25W/SR 9 concurrency; south end of SR 63 concurrency
141 SR 63 west – Huntsville, OneidaNorth end of SR 63 concurrency
144Stinking Creek Road
156Rarity Mountain Road
Jellico160 US 25W ( SR 9) – Jellico
161.86260.49 I-75 north – Lexington Kentucky state line
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

See also


  1. ^ "FHWA Route Log". Retrieved October 4, 2014.
  2. ^ "Interstate System near Halfway Mark". The Tennessean. October 27, 1966. Retrieved November 28, 2017.
  3. ^ "Ribbon Cutting Ceremony Opens I-75 in Cleveland". Cleveland Daily Banner. October 19, 1966.
  4. ^ a b "I-75 Opened Christmas Eve". Cleveland Daily Banner. December 26, 1973.[ full citation needed]
  5. ^ Interstate History. TN Interstate 50. Tennessee Department of Transportation. 2006.
  6. ^ "Many Injured in 62-Car Accident". Greenville Daily Advocate. November 6, 1978. Retrieved January 17, 2018.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ "Killer Fog (Season 2, Episode 3)". IMDB. Forensic Files. Retrieved 12 January 2019.
  10. ^ TDOT news release
  11. ^ 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.
  12. ^ "Campbell County fretful after latest I-75 slide". Knoxville News Sentinel. Retrieved January 29, 2013.
  13. ^ "TDOT awards emergency repair contract for I-75 rock slide". Knoxville, Tennessee: WBIR. February 29, 2016. Retrieved January 17, 2018.

External links

Route map:

KML is from Wikidata
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