Surviving I-24: Commuters say driving into Nashville is a losing battle

(Photo: WKRN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Ever feel like you’re in an ever losing battle, fighting traffic on Interstate 24, especially during rush hour? If so, you’re not alone.

Bumper to bumper traffic. Drivers going nowhere fast. The commute into Nashville is a job in itself.

News 2 rode along with two commuters to see how they survive it.

“There is a sea of tail lights,” said Debbie Hall.

“You can see brake lights ahead of you a pretty good ways,” said commuter Michael Hall, no relation to Debbie.

Michael Hall (Photo: WKRN)

“If you’re sitting in traffic for an hour, hour and a half, to two hours, and you’re only going 22 miles, you know, you’re in the worst mood by the time you get to work, and when you’re in a bad mood when you get to work, everybody else around you is in a bad mood and they know you sat in traffic for a long time,” Debbie Hall said.

She lives in Smyrna and said the first thing she does is check her Waze app.

“It’s going to tell me how traffic is and how long it should take to get to work,” she explained to News 2.

Debbie says she is usually out of the door by 6:30 a.m., no later than 6:45 a.m. on most days just to get to work by 7:30 am near the fairgrounds in South Nashville.

“Right now, we are at Sam Ridley, and usually right here is where it stops,” she said. “We’ll come to a complete stop, people coming on the interstate not merging.”

Debbie Hall pretty much knows where the traffic will come to a halt.

“We’re stopped. We’re going zero,” the Smyrna woman said. “We’re just past Old Hickory Blvd and we’re stopped.”

Debbie Hall (Photo: WKRN)

Interstate 24 from Murfreesboro to Nashville is one of the busiest routes in the mid-state, and surviving it can be a challenge.

“The adventure begins,” Michael Hall said as he prepared for his morning commute. “It can get very frustrating, especially when you see people that are in the same boat as you are, trying to get to work on time or at a certain time.”

He only has to drive from Murfreesboro to Antioch, but it’s still a hassle. He used to drive to the Bridgestone on Elm Hill Pike and drove 14 miles out of the way from Interstate 840 to Interstate 40.

“Honestly, I avoided 24 because there were days it took me an hour and a half from here, which was a 28-mile commute door to door,” he said.

(Photo: WKRN)

He dreads it when there is an accident on I-24.

“Any given day, you’re basically one accident away from being late to your starting time at work,” the Murfreesboro commuter said.

Debbie told News 2 it’s hard to forget her worst day ever driving to work.

“Just a few months ago we had an overturned dump truck that lost a load of gravel just past Harding Place,” she said. “Therefore it shut down the interstate, so it took two and a half to three hours to get to work because they shut down the interstate. I did get off Harding Place just because the road was complete shut down.”

Michael remembers his worst day too.

“It was the day the FedEx truck hit the wall on the side,” he said. “It was 28 miles door to door. Going in there it took me two hours to get to work.”

These commuters know it’s going to get worse on I-24 before it gets better.

“Stop and go for you know 15, 20 miles it can get nerve racking,” Michael Hall said.

Follow our Nashville 2017 coverage about the city’s growth, the issues that come with it, and how people are tackling them.

Watch our News 2 Town Hall Meeting: Trains, Planes and Automobiles at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.