TDOT selects Pellissippi Parkway extension Alternative A
By Iva Butler | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Tennessee Department of Transportation has selected Alternative A for extension of the Pellissippi Parkway from Old Knoxville Highway to East Lamar Alexander Parkway.
All three governments — Alcoa, Blount County and Maryville — recommended that TDOT select this route.
Alternative A would displace five homes, one business and 10 farm parcels and require 172 acres of new right of way.
Construction and engineering costs for Alternative A are estimated at $91.5 million, and right-of-way acquisition would cost $5.3 million, for a total estimated cost of $97 million.
Currently, Pellissippi Parkway, which runs from Oak Ridge Highway in Knox County to Alcoa, ends at Old Knoxville Highway across from Pellissippi Place research and development park.
Alternative A would cross Old Knoxville Highway, Wildwood Road, Brown School Road, Sevierville Road and Davis Ford Road before reaching the terminus at East Lamar Alexander Parkway near Morning Star Baptist Church.
The options the governments could choose from were either “no build” or Alternatives A, C or D.
Maryville City Manager Greg McClain said of the selection, “That is the shortest route, has the least effect on the number of properties or dwellings, requires the least amount of right of way and is the least expensive of the two new alternatives.”
Alcoa City Manager Mark Johnson said, “I think that was the logical choice. That one was the alternate our commission and staff thought the appropriate one, as did the city of Maryville and Blount County governments. It’s the most direct route, affects the least amount of properties and is certainly the least expensive.”
Blount County Mayor Ed Mitchell was elated with the decision.
“I think this is excellent news. This project has basically been on hold for 10 years, and TDOT’s decision to go ahead and continue the completion of the project is great news.
“They’ve still got to do the environmental and technical study on that route before they can do any kind of construction. TDOT’s intent is to complete the environmental impact statement by spring 2013. As soon as that is done, baring any unforeseen problems, hopefully the project will proceed with right-of-way acquisition.
“I’m looking forward to the improvements the extension will provide — reducing traffic delays as well as the tourism that will promote the businesses in Walland and Townsend.
“I think overall it will provide an economic boost to Blount County,” he added.
Bryan Daniels, president and CEO of the Blount Partnership, said the business group has always supported the parkway extension and continues to do so.
“We’re happy the project is moving forward and TDOT has made a decision, and we look forward to the days ahead,” Daniels said.
McClain said the entire length of that route is in Maryville’s urban growth boundary.
According to the TDOT press release: Throughout the project development process, TDOT met with local citizens, local and public officials, as well as local, state and federal agencies. Their input and TDOT’s analysis of the environmental impacts of the project alternatives were key factors in the decision process.
Alternative A will provide substantial improvement in reducing traffic delays in Blount County and will complete Pellissippi Parkway as envisioned by local and regional planning organizations. This route will extend Pellissippi Parkway as a new four-lane divided roadway on a minimum of 300 feet of right of way. Interchanges are planned at Sevierville Road and East Lamar Alexander Parkway.
The new roadway will be about 4.3 miles in length.
“The selection of Alternative A is the result of productive collaboration and strong partnerships between TDOT, the community and government agencies,” said TDOT Commissioner John Schroer. “Alternative A will provide a safer route for travelers in northeastern Blount County.”
TDOT will now perform additional environmental technical studies for the preferred route. These will include studies for natural, social and cultural resources. The preparation of the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) is scheduled to be completed in spring 2013.
For more information on the Pellissippi Parkway Extension project, visit http://www.tdot.state.tn.us .htm.