Feb 19 2016
01:32 am

If you live in South Knoxville, I'm sure sometime in your life you've had to navigate the Mt. Olive railroad underpass on Maryville Pike. It's pretty much a one lane underpass but the brave at heart adventurers, sometimes will joust through it passing only inches of each other.

Lost semi's will sometimes try passing under the low ceiling actually believing the posted height will let them pass through unscathed, only to get snared in the unforgiving clutches of tons of concrete above and below.

My brother came up with an idea that would eliminate the whole problem without having to deal with the underpass. I thought it was a great idea and It'd be nice to hear some feedback.

He suggested rerouting a section of Maryville Pike (highway 33) at the old Witherspoon's site, creating a new section of road that would run parallel to the railroad then reconnect on the Mt. Olive side of the tracks. This would completely eliminate the underpass from the equation.

This plan has one major drawback though... Semi's would then begin using Maryville Pike again.

maryville pike railroad by-pass 3.jpg

bizgrrl's picture

Nah. More roads are not

Nah. More roads are not needed. if there is a problem with a road then fix it. You should have seen the early bridge on Maryville Pike at Caleb Avenue before they put in the new one.

I understand your point with that underpass. Have driven it many, many times. It's a challenge, can you make it ?!?! I don't think it is a problem. Slow down, enjoy the day, take the challenge, or not.

Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got
Till it's gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot

JaHu's picture

Have driven it many, many

Have driven it many, many times. It's a challenge, can you make it ?!?!

Yeah, like you I've driven it many times, probably in the thousands, not so much lately though. It can really be fun when there has been flooding, but for the most part the underpass drains surprisingly well during heavy rains.

I like your reference to Joni Mitchell's song, but I never thought of Vestal and Paradise in the same thought process before. Kidding! I've had some really great friends who were raised in Vestal.

jmcnair's picture

Paradise on Maryville Pike?

McGill's store at Maloney and Maryville Pike (just south of the underpass) was the exterior shot used in I-40 Paradise. Bonus video with cameos by Calvin Sneed and John Ribble:

I-40 Paradise on PM Magazine

JaHu's picture

I used to stop with my

I used to stop with my parents there as a young pup to get gas. I recognized local south Knoxvillian Dennis Talley in the video.

bizgrrl's picture

Pretty cool. Was that the

Pretty cool. Was that the same John Ribble that was chorus director at Young High School?

Spent a lot of time at McGill's store. What a nice family. I'm pretty sure his son, Steve, was our senior class president.

JaHu's picture

John Ribble was a top notch

John Ribble was a top notch chorus director. I never was in chorus but my brother was. Always enjoyed his madrigals.

jmcnair's picture


Yes, John and his brother Bruce were hooked up with Bagwell (Bagwell Communications, Cinetel, through Scripps and eventually Rivr Media)

bizgrrl's picture

It's all in the eyes of the

It's all in the eyes of the beholder. There are lots of trees in Vestal, not on the Witherspoon site obviously. Quite a few inexpensive single-family homes.

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