Cookeville project in the running for Tennessee awards

COOKEVILLE – Cookeville’s Economic Gateway to Vitality, the I-40 Interchange at Tennessee Avenue, completed by HMB Professional Engineers, Inc., is among the projects entered in the 2019 Engineering Excellence Awards competition, presented by the American Council of Engineering Companies of Tennessee (ACEC Tennessee). The award is one of the highest honors an engineering firm can receive and is considered the “Academy Awards of the engineering industry.”

Discussion began more than 20 years ago about a new interstate interchange deemed “Cookeville’s Fifth Interchange.” This planning was a puzzle piece of a larger vision to boost connectivity and ignite land development. The goal, to connect the Appalachian Corridor “J” north of Cookeville to a “Northern Inter‐Connector” branching up from Interstate 40 at the proposed interchange site, and thus spark economic development in a rural part of the state. In addition, a proposed “Southern Loop” would branch southward toward White County from the proposed interchange and connect to State Route 111. The catalyst to make this plan a reality was the new I‐40 Interchange at Tennessee Avenue.

HMB designed and delivered three project packages concurrently on an accelerated schedule in specifically designed phasing including the I‐40 Interchange at Tennessee Avenue and two State Industrial Access roads. This major transportation and economic development project for distressed counties and the Cookeville Micropolitan Area was a key recruiting factor for Academy Sports + Outdoors, which is building Tennessee’s largest distribution center at 1.6 million square feet, creating 700 jobs. 

This project has been a catalyst for growth and economic change in the region. HMB’s project is a model for infrastructure investment, demonstrating the value beyond motorized travel for the public. As such, this project has been utilized during Tennessee Technological University’s capstone course, with HMB mentorship, to provide practical design experience to senior engineering students studying unique design segments of Cookeville’s Economic Gateway to Vitality.

Project entries from across the state are up for consideration. The winners of the 2019 Engineering Excellence Awards will be announced during an awards gala at the Renaissance Nashville Hotel on the evening of Thursday, November 21. In 2018, the Bush Brothers Process Water Reclamation Facility project, completed for Bush Brothers & Company in Dandridge by Nashville engineering firm Brown and Caldwell, won the top prize. Additional information about the Awards can be found at

About ACEC TennesseeFounded in 1968, the American Council of Engineering Companies of Tennessee is a statewide trade association for consulting engineering firms focused on advancing the business environment of the engineering industry. ACEC Tennessee member firms employ over 4,400 Tennesseans and contribute more than $400 million annually to the state’s economy. For additional information, visit

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