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Why is the Tennessee Department of Transportation Making Changes to I-40?

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Last week, a horrific accident shut down a 10-mile stretch of Interstate 40 in Dickson County. The accident involved six vehicles, one of which was a truck carrying hazardous waste material. According to The Tennessean, a semi-truck carrying sulfonic acid crossed onto the right shoulder near exit 172, smashing into another semi-truck and four other cars.

The truck carrying sulfonic acid caught fire and spread to at least one of the vehicles. The chemical leaked and officials expect the cleanup will be a lengthy process in order to avoid further contaminating the soil nearby. This fatal truck accident killed one and injured four other drivers.


While the cause of the truck accident is still under investigation, residents who frequently travel on this stretch of highway consider it a high-risk area. Traffic from the off-ramp becomes stopped at a red light and extends down the exit ramp, forcing cars to line up for miles down the I-40. These cars are forced to slow their speed to a crawling pace in a 70 mile per hour zone, while cars in the left lanes zip past them, which creates a very dangerous situation.

According to a study by the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, roadway conditions contribute to approximately 53 percent of all fatal car accidents each year. While the congestion and high speeds of exit 172 on I-40 is a prime example of poor road design, other examples include:

  • Poorly designed intersections
  • High speeds in areas with high pedestrian foot traffic
  • Improperly placed warning signs or a complete lack of warning signs
  • Lack of guard rails
  • Dangerous curves, declines or inclines

When poor road design is a factor, the state has a responsibility to fix the issue in order to decrease the amount of car accidents in those areas.

According to the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT), a project is currently being planned to help make improvements to that particular interchange. It has been budgeted and may begin next summer, but TDOT officials are currently exploring other options that would allow the improvement project to launch sooner.

Stanley A. Davis is a Nashville personal injury attorney who fights for victims who have been injured in car accidents.

“He will cover you with feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge. His truth is your shield and armor. You do not need to fear terrors of the night, arrows that fly during the day.” Psalm 91:4-5

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