Tennessee Department of Transportation


Nashville, TN


Engineering, Planning

As part of a larger initiative to fully integrate SmartWay across Middle Tennessee, Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) partnered with Gresham Smith to design a 38-mile infrastructure expansion from Hogan Road to US 70 on the west side of Nashville, and from Earhart Road to US 70 in Lebanon east of Nashville. Closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras will provide video monitoring while radar detection will support active traffic management from the TDOT Region 3 Regional Traffic Management Center (RTMC). Full-color dynamic message signs (DMS) will provide real-time incident information and traffic conditions to motorists. Communications to the devices will be via fiber-optic cable.

In a multi-office effort, Gresham Smith’s Transportation Systems Management and Operations (TSMO) group first completed the design for the eastern segment of the project. Osprey Communications is coordinating the use of Right-of-Way with TDOT, and as part of this effort will install a conduit and fiber-optic cable that will be owned and used by the department. Our TSMO’s partnership with TDOT will result in an expedited construction timeline and significant cost savings for the department.

mile fiber-optic expansion
dynamic message signs
Exit ramp on I-40 near Nashville

A Change of Direction

The east and west sectors of the 38-mile expansion were split into two separate projects when Osprey Communications approached TDOT about forming a relationship that would allow them to utilize TDOT’s Right-of-Way on a number of interstates on the eastern-segment to deploy a major fiber-optic system. This opportunity changed the course of the ITS expansion creating a key challenge for our TSMO group when they were set to submit the final signed and sealed plans for construction.

Teams collaborating

A Close Collaboration

To effectively work through the scope and needs of the eastern-segment implementation with our new teaming partner, the project was temporarily placed on hold to allow all parties to discuss the project’s various complexities. Our TSMO group worked closely with TDOT and Osprey Communications to coordinate the location and placement of the fiber-optic system in a collaborative effort that will ultimately result in an accelerated project timeline.

Image from TDOT CCTV camera on I-40

Helping Region 3—From East to West

Along with fiber-optic cable tie-ins, both sectors of the infrastructure expansion will include dynamic message signs, speed detectors, road weather information sensors, and CCTV cameras along the east and west sides of the project—all helping Nashville’s Region 3 TMC to effectively monitor this 38-mile stretch of roadway while supporting TDOT’s overarching goal to make Middle Tennessee’s roads safer for everyone.