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Knoxville Parkway Citizens Team Recommendations are Accepted

Sunday, June 18, 2006 | 07:00pm

Governor and Commissioner ready to move project forwardNashville, Tenn. – Governor Phil Bredesen and the Commissioner of the Department of Transportation (TDOT) announced today they have accepted all of the recommendations for the new Knoxville Parkway recently submitted to the state by the Regional Parkway Design Resource Team.

“We believe the Resource Team’s recommendations represent the best option encompassing all considerations from right-of-way impacts to environmental concerns,” said Bredesen. “After reviewing their work, and a good deal of public input, we agree with the recommendations the team provided. I would like to thank all members of the team for volunteering for this time consuming duty.”

Commissioner Gerald Nicely made a public announcement today during a special session of the Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning Organization (TPO), held in Knoxville.

“When I announced my decision to ask citizens who live in the area to be included in the development of the Parkway, I knew it would require a substantial commitment,” explained Nicely. “We appreciate the dedication they demonstrated to their community. The information the team provided will prove essential in helping shape the Parkway into an effective transportation corridor.”

The Resource Team was charged with studying alignment options, the number of interchanges and the implementation of the proposed State Route 475, Knoxville Parkway. The Parkway would be approximately 28 miles long and would connect I-40 / I-75 southwest of Knoxville to I-75 north of Knoxville. This route would allow vehicles to travel between either I-75 south or I-40 west and I-75 north without traveling through west Knoxville. The Parkway would also provide an alternate route for I-40 / I-75 in case of emergencies or during construction or maintenance operations.

The recommendations include:

  • Interchanges at Pellissippi Parkway and Clinton Highway (U.S. 25W) with interchanges that tie in to I-75 in Loudon and Anderson Counties.
  • 70 mph design speed (with posted speed to be determined).
  • 4-lane divided highway with 52-foot depressed median.
  • 12-foot travel lanes with 12-foot outside shoulders.
  • Seek Scenic or Tennessee Parkway designation to prohibit billboards.

Information gathered by the Resource Team is currently being incorporated into the draft environmental study being prepared according to NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) standards. Additional environmental studies for the Parkway were included in TDOT’s 3-year program for Fiscal Year 2007.

In April, 2004 the Resource Team began applying a process called Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS) to the original corridor. CSS is a process to plan, design, construct, maintain and operate a transportation system in order to establish and achieve transportation, community, and environmental goals while balancing safety and mobility and the preservation of scenic, aesthetic, historic, environmental and other community values.

“The Knoxville Regional TPO Executive Board commends Commissioner Gerald Nicely and TDOT for implementing the Context Sensitive/Citizens Resource Team concept,” reported Farragut Mayor and TPO Board Chair Eddy Ford. “The TPO Board would also like to express our appreciation to the Resource Team for the countless hours they have invested in evaluating the proposed Parkway project.”

Ford also said, “We are confident that the team’s final recommendations enhance the transportation system throughout the greater Knoxville region while minimizing potential negative impacts of the proposed project on the environment and surrounding communities.”

TDOT and the Resource Team conducted twelve public workshops at various locations along the proposed route. Over 2,700 citizens attended and approximately 1,749 comments were received. From March, 2004 to May, 2006 there were 255 emails to Info@KnoxvilleParkway.com and 397 calls to the project hotline.

Members of the Regional Parkway Design Resource Team:

Roy Arthur, Beaver Creek Task Force Association
John Benditz, Tennessee Institute of Transportation Engineering
Edgar Faust, Hardin Valley Community
Greg Fay, East Tennessee Economic Development Authority
Steve Fritts, Tennessee Technological Corridor
Carolyn Greenwood, Karns Community
Brian Jenks, Anderson County Government
Bill McMaster, Heiskell Community
Chip Miller, Loudon County Government
Karn Nolt, Knox County Government
David Orr, Sierra Club
Mac Post, Powell Community
Robert Shaw, Citizens against the Beltway Orange Location
Wes Stowers, Knoxville Area Chamber
Darcy Sullivan, Urban Transportation Issues Committee
Roland, Terrell, Solway Community
Carl Tindell, Better Roads in North Knoxville
Sharon Todd, Claxton Community
Bruce Wuethrich, Knox County Government

The Resource Team’s complete recommendation, minority reports, and maps of the proposed alignment can be obtained at www.knoxvilleparkway.com or the media room at www.tennessee.gov/tdot

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