Sep 18 2013
05:14 am

Now that the James White Parkway extension has been canceled, is it time to encourage TDOT, TPO, etc. to focus on fixing Alcoa Highway? Check out the TDOT project site.

TDOT has divided the project into four segments that will be done separately (three segments are in Knox County (Topside Road to UT Hospital) and one is in Blount County (Singleton Station Road to Topside)). Among the improvements are turn lanes, overpasses, fewer crossovers and frontage or access roads. According to TDOT's web site, no timetable has been established for any activities beyond the public hearing process. According to TDOT project director Michael Russell, "he expected the final environmental document stating no significant impact to be signed and approved by federal authorities this fall. At this point, money has already been allocated to begin designing the entire project."

These fixes to Alcoa Highway do not include any sort of Alcoa Highway Bypass/Parkway in Alcoa, which should be canceled like the James White Parkway extension.

I have been told "TDOT has 9 times as many projects as funding." Is it now time to make Alcoa Highway safe a top priority?

Each of us can take action to move this issue.


Two things you can do:

1. Contact your local and state elected officials and ask them to make fixing existing Alcoa Highway/US129/SR115 the #1 priority in this region for the state's limited highway funds. Now is the time to do this when they are in their home districts.

Contact your own representatives even if you do not live in the district that Alcoa Highway runs through. You and your loved ones drive on it. And contact the elected officials who represent the Alcoa Highway Corridor. Many of these are named below.

2. Contact residents you know along the Alcoa Highway corridor and people who commute along Alcoa Highway, and ask them to contact their representatives. Giving them the contact information will make it more likely they will follow through. Encourage neighborhood associations to do the same.

Contact information follows.

Knox County State Senators
District 5 - Randy McNally, 307 War Memorial Building, Nashville, TN 37243-0205, 615-741-6806

District 6 - Becky Duncan Massey, 3 Legislative Plaza, Nashville, TN 37243 615-741-1648

District 7 - Stacey Campfield, 4 Legislative Plaza, Nashville, TN 37243-0207 615-741-1766

Knox County State Representatives
District 13 - Gloria Johnson, 38 Legislative Plaza, Nashville, TN 37243, 615-741-2031

District 14 - Ryan Haynes, 214 War Memorial Bldg., Nashville, TN 37243-0114, 615-741-2264

District 15 - Joseph Armstrong, 35 Legislative Plaza, Nashville, TN 37243-0115, 615-741-0768

District 16 - Bill Dunn, 115 War Memorial Bldg., Nashville, TN 37243-0116, 615-741-1721

District 18 - Steve Hall, 113 War Memorial Bldg., Nashville, TN 37243-0118, 615-741-2287

District 19 - Harry Brooks, 117 War Memorial Bldg., Nashville, TN 37243-0119, 615-741-6879

District 89 - Roger Kane, 202A War Memorial Bldg., Nashville, TN 37243-0117, 615-741-4110

Knox County Commission District 9
Mike Brown, City County Building, Suite 602, 400 Main Street, Knoxville, TN 37902, 865-577-4715

Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett
City County Building, Suite 615, 400 Main Street, Knoxville, TN 37902, 865-215-2005

City of Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero
City County Building, Suite 691, 400 Main Street, Knoxville, TN 37902, 865-215-2040

Blount County State Senator
Doug Overbey, 301 6th Ave North, Suite 306 War Memorial Building, Nashville, TN 37243, 615-741-0981

Blount County House Representatives:

Rep. Bob Ramsey, 310 6th Ave, North, Suite 201, War Memorial Building, Nashville, TN 37243, 615-741-3560

Rep Art Swann, 10 6th Ave, North, Suite G-19A, War Memorial Building, Nashville, TN 37243, 615-741-5481

City of Maryville Mayor Tom Taylor
City of Maryville, 400 W Broadway Ave., Maryville, TN 37801, 865-273-3900

City of Alcoa Mayor Don Mull
City of Alcoa, 223 Associates Boulevard, Alcoa, TN 37701-1948

Blount County Mayor Ed Mitchell
Blount County, Blount County Courthouse, 341 Court Street, Maryville, TN 37804-5906, 865-273-5700

yellowdog's picture

Yes. Fix IllKillYa Highway!

TDOT's commissioner has repeatedly said that his and TDOT's two top criteria for choosing what to spend limited highway money on are: 1: "Fix it First" and 2) safety. Fix it First means just what it seems to mean...take care of and improve the roads we already have before building new ones that someone will have to take care of. Safety is equally easy to understand.

Making the IllKillYa Highway as safe as possible would fit both criteria. Anyone who has travelled Alcoa Highway for a long time (or even once) will have no trouble understanding why this project should be a top priority...way before building big and expensive and unnecessary new highways.

If you agree, say so to your local political leaders and to Commissioner John Schroer. There is not and will not be enough money to do anywhere near what is on the list of projects that have made it onto the lists generated by the Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning Organization.

Fixing Alcoa Highway (and, for that matter, Chapman Highway) should be the top priority.

VolDog's picture

I think if you surveyed those

I think if you surveyed those who live along / off of Alcoa Hwy (Woodson, Martha Washington, Montlake, Malony, Ginn, etc)you'll see that most strongly oppose the project as proposed. The only ones who want it are those who just drive through on the way to and or from Knoxville and Alcoa

bizgrrl's picture

I definitly do not know what

I definitly do not know what the majority wants. However, I personally know some people in that area that do want the change.

I wonder if TDOT used comment forms at the meeting back in June.

yellowdog's picture

Do you know why?

Are opponents against doing anything or are there issues with the specifics of the plans?

Factchecker's picture

Speaking as just one resident

I'd like to see the safety issues addressed for merging, exits, etc., but I'm concerned that the proposal is too vast. I don't want huge new noisy concrete flyovers or more capacity for Blount residents to be able to commute from farther distances without pain (sorry, Blount county friends). Unless there's an accident or construction, flow is already pretty darned good even during rush hour, and the noise from the corridor already sounds like a train during heavier traveled times. I'm sure many believe the only way to address the safety issues is with such a blunt sledgehammer like TDOT is proposing, but I think it would be worth exploring a more modest approach that would still fully fix the safety problems I agree do exist. Those are urgent. The rest may be a waste of money we don't really have, because of the FUBARed way TDOT gets automatic funding.

Second, it should be a priority that any changes not cut off or interfere with the proposed greenway link between Knox and Blount counties and in fact the two projects should be coordinated to complement one another. Why not do them together?

Just throwing more asphalt at transportation needs is so 20th century and repeats the vicious cycle of more gas tax funds being reapplied similarly every time. That broken model needs to be replaced by real comprehensive transportation planning.

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