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Tennessee Department of Transportation: Wikis


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Tennessee Department of Transportation
TN DOT.svg
Agency overview
Formed 1923
Jurisdiction State of Tennessee
Headquarters 505 Deaderick Street
Nashville, Tennessee 37243
Agency executive Gerald F. Nicely, Commissioner

The Tennessee Department of Transportation is a multimodal agency with statewide responsibilities in aviation, public transit, waterways and railroads. The mission of TDOT is to plan, implement, maintain and manage an integrated transportation system for the movement of people and products, with emphasis on quality, safety, efficiency and the environment.

Major Responsibilities

The major duties and responsibilities of TDOT are to plan, build and maintain the state owned highway and interstate system of over 14,000 miles; administer funding and provide technical assistance in the planning and construction of state and federal aid road programs for cities and counties;  provide incident management on Tennessee’s interstate system through TDOT SmartWay, an intelligent transportation network of cameras and dynamic message signs; staff transportation management centers in the four largest urban cities in Tennessee;  provide motorist information; construct and maintain 19 rest area facilities; administer program for control of outdoor advertising adjacent to interstate and state highways; issue and administer special permits for movement of overweight and over-dimensional vehicles; prepare and distribute city, county and state road maps, aeronautical charts, and airport directories; promote safe driving behaviors on highways; provide management, technical and financial assistance, and supervision to public, private, and nonprofit public transportation agencies in the state; administer funding and assistance in location, design, construction, and maintenance of Tennessee’s 80 public airports; support improvements in Tennessee’s railroads and rail service;  inspect over 19,000 Tennessee bridges, 80 public airports, and all of Tennessee’s railroads;  maintain state park roads; operate Reelfoot Airpark and ferry operations; respond to initiatives of the Tennessee Aeronautics Commission; provide aerial photography and mapping services to all state agencies; provide aircraft for state executive transportation and economic development recruiting; administer highway beautification programs; provide grants to all Tennessee counties for litter abatement and litter prevention education; and, provide cycling trails that connect or go through state parks and natural areas.



The Department of Transportation is headed by a single commissioner who is appointed by the Governor. The department is organized into four regions of the state: Knoxville(Region 1), Chattanooga (Region 2), Nashville (Region 3) and Jackson (Region 4). Each region is subdivided into at least four districts and those districts are further subdivided into county facilities. TDOT has at least one facility in all of Tennessee’s 95 counties. Several administrative offices, including the commissioner and staff, operate from the TDOT headquarters in downtown Nashville, the state’s capitol city. TDOT has approximately 4,200 employees.


The predecessor to the Tennessee Department of Transportation was created by legislative act in 1915 when the first administrative agency for highways was created and the first highway commission to guide its activities. The highway commission was directed by six non-compensated commissioners which included the Governor, the state geologist and the dean of the University of Tennessee Engineering School. In 1919, transportation was organized under a three-commissioner structure which remained in place until 1923. The agency was reorganized in 1923 with the establishment of a single commissioner in Chapter 7 of the Public Acts of 1923.

Under the single commissioner structure in 1923, J.G. Creveling, Jr. was appointed by Governor Austin Peay.

In 1972, the agency name was changed to the Tennessee Department of Transportation to reflect other modes in addition to highways.

Tennessee’s Transportation System

Highway System
• Bridges: 19,500, more than most southern states. 8,150 state owned bridges, 11,419 locally owned bridges
• Interstate miles: 1,104
• 19 interstate rest areas
• 13 interstate welcome centers
• 9 truck weigh stations
• State highway miles: 14,150
• Total highway miles: 87,000
Airport System
• 74 General Aviation
• 6 commercial
• 126 heliports
Rail System
• 20 short line railroads on 836 miles of rail
• 6 major rail lines on 2,098 miles of rail
Transit System
• 24 transit systems serving all 95 Tennessee counties Waterways
• 1,062 miles of main channel miles of navigable waterways
Bicycle/Pedestrian System
• 231 miles of greenways, sidewalks and trails
• 9 bicycle trails on 1,500 miles including a single across state trail totaling 500 miles
• 8,500 highway miles with 4-foot shoulders to accommodate bicycles


Funding for the state transportation system in Tennessee comes from a fund that is separate from the state’s general fund which operates most of the other state agencies in Tennessee. Transportation revenues come from both federal transportation monies and from state funding resources. Those state funds come from a combination of dollars collected from gas and diesel tax revenues, titling and registration fees and bonds.

Transportation Leadership in Tennessee

Six-Commissioner Structure, 1915-1919
Ex-Officio members: Tom C. Rye, Governor; A.H. Purdue, State Geologist; Charles, E. Ferris, Dean of Engineering, University of Tennessee Appointed: Authur Crownover, Charles W. Williams, William H. Crox (succeeded by C. F. Milburn)
Three-Commissioner Structure, 1919-1923
W.P. Moore, W.W. House, W.T. Testerman
Single Commissioner Structure, 1923-present
J.G. Creveling, Jr. , January, 1923 to October 21, 1925
C.N. Bass, October 21, 1925 to February 16, 1928
Harry S. Berry, February 16, 1928 to February 27, 1929
R. H. Baker, February 27, 1929 to January 17, 1933
F.W. Webster, January 17, 1933 to December 11, 1934
H.S. Walters, December 11, 1934 to September 20, 1935
Briggs Smith, September 20, 1935 to January 18, 1937
M.O. Allen, January 18, 1937 to January 11, 1939
C.W. Phillips, January 11, 1939 to January 16, 1949
E.W. Eggleston, January 16, 1949 to August 10, 1950
Charles Wayland, August 10, 1950 to September 1, 1951
C.W. Bond, September 1, 1951 to September 18, 1952
Herbert A. McKee, September 18, 1952 to January 15, 1953
W.M Leech, January 15, 1953 to November 15, 1958
Herbert M. Bates, November 15, 1958 to January 19, 1959
D.W. Moulton, January 19, 1959 to January 15, 1963
David M. Pack, January 15, 1963 to January 16, 1967
E.W. Speight, January 16, 1967 to January 16, 1971
Robert F. Smith, January 16, 1971 to January 18, 1975
Eddie L. Shaw, January 18, 1975 to January 20, 1979
William B. Sansom, January 20, 1979 to June 30, 1981
Robert E. Farris, July 1, 1981 to October 31, 1985
Dale R. Kelley, November 1, 1985 to January 17, 1987
Jimmy M. Evans, January 17, 1987 December 7, 1992
Carl Johnson, December 28, 1992 to October 21, 1994
Carl Wood, Acting Commissioner, October 21, 1994 to January 21, 1995
J. Bruce Saltsman, January 21, 1995 to January 18, 2003
Gerald F. Nicely, January 18, 2003-present

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