A dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony marked the official opening of the Mayor Tom Rowland Interchange.
The interchange on APD 40 is named in honor of the longest serving mayor in Cleveland’s history. Rowland took the oath of office on September 8, 1991.
The Cleveland interchange becomes the entrance to Spring Branch Industrial Park. Development of the industrial park is nearing completion as well. The interchange also opens a large area on Cleveland southern border to commercial development.
In 2014, the Tennessee General Assembly approved naming the interchange for Rowland to honor his service to the city and to the state. The legislation was introduced in the Tennessee Senate by state Senator Mike Bell (R-Riceville). It was introduced in the Tennessee House of Representatives by state Representative Kevin Brooks (R-Cleveland). It drew support from all area state legislators.
The bill was signed by Governor Bill Haslam in 2014. Talley Construction Company was awarded the $22.6 million contract in October, 2014.
The Mayor Tom Rowland Interchange is about one mile east of Exit 20 at I-75. The reconfigured interstate interchange was dedicated in late 2015.
Family, friend and community leaders took part in the ceremony held on the interchange bridge above APD 40.
Tennessee Department of Transportation Commissioner John Schroer said the Mayor Tom Rowland Interchange plus the expanded Exit 20 interchange as well as the industrial park is estimated to create 4,000 jobs for the region.
“You have to build it before that will come and that’s how communities grow,” the commissioner told the crowd.
Tennessee 4th District U.S. Representative Scott Desjarlais (R-South Pittsburg) applauded the mayor’s “remarkable tenure of service and we hope there’s a lot more.”
Chuck Fleischmann (R-Chattanooga) 3rd District U.S. Representative told Rowland, “I don’t’ know any mayor in this country who lives his city more than you do.”
State Representative Brooks presented Mayor Rowland with a copy of the Tennessee General Assembly proclamation that lists the many areas of service by the mayor to the city, region and state during the past few decades.
Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis recalled the many years it took for the vision of this APD 40 interchange to be realized. He said he is thankful for the many people who have worked toward making this “a great, great day for Bradley County.”
Mayor Rowland likewise thanked the numerous individuals, community organizations and TDOT for making the day possible.
“This is not about me,” the mayor said. “This is about the opportunities we have for jobs. I think the estimate is 4,000 for this entire development. We look forward to great things happening with the industrial and commercial development.”