TDOT Announces US127 North Plan
Nashville, Tenn.—The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) announced today that the state accepts the recommendations recently submitted to the department by a Citizens Resource Team (CRT) charged with studying improvements for US127 North. This recommendation will now move forward as an alternate for further study during the environmental phase of the project. During this phase, an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) will be prepared according to NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) standards.
The project area includes US127-North (State Route 28), from Interstate 40 to State Route 62 at Clarkrange, for a length of 13.9 miles in Cumberland and Fentress Counties.
“The citizens involved in this effort contributed a great deal of time and energy in working with TDOT to review the safety, accessibility, roadway capacity, and community needs in making improvements to US127 North,” said TDOT Commissioner Gerald Nicely. “I have reviewed the team’s recommendations and accept their recommendations. I have also reviewed and accept the work of the Clarkrange Working Group for inclusion in the Environmental Document.”
The recommended route basically follows the existing alignment. The crossing of Clear Creek is proposed approximately 1500-feet east of the existing bridge due to terrain and environmental concerns. The recommended cross section at each end, at I-40 and at State Route 62, is a five-lane roadway with a center turn lane. The majority of the route is recommended as a four-lane divided highway with a grass median.
“We owe our gratitude to the team members who worked with TDOT to represent their communities,” added Ed Cole, TDOT’s Chief of Environment and Planning. “Their effort in gathering public input and providing insight from the local perspective is vital to the advancement of the project.”
“We are getting close to announcing a final alignment for this important section of roadway,” stated Senator Charlotte Burks. “I am reassured by the fact that we are moving forward, but at a careful, thoughtful, pace that is driven by the input of citizens.”
“The Citizens Resource Team did excellent work on this project and made some sound recommendations,” Senator Tommy Kilby. “This inclusive process by the state will benefit us all when this project is complete.”
“The idea that the improved US127 North would be built along the existing alignment seems like a practical proposal that would use the least amount of new right-of-way property and keep the cost of the project to a reasonable level,” added Representative John Mark Windle.
Environmental studies are currently underway for the route. Hearings for the route will be held early next year to fulfill the Federal NEPA requirements. Following the hearings, TDOT will announce the final alignment which will be developed during the design phase. Preliminary engineering funds are available for the sections from I-40 to Lickfork Creek in Cumberland County, and from Lickfork Creek to State Route 62 at Clarkrange.
The Citizens Team also recommended the formation of a Context Sensitive Design Team to work with TDOT on specific design issues. These issues will include the bridge over Clear Creek, the entrance at North School, and the entrance to Clarkrange. This team will begin meeting next year during the design phase of the project.
In the spring of 2003, Governor Bredesen and Commissioner Nicely targeted 15 of the state’s most controversial road projects for re-consideration, including a proposed improvement project for US127 North, and requested that they be studied by the University of Tennessee Transportation Center for Transportation Research.
After the UT study results came in, TDOT announced in October of 2003 that the department would move forward with the roadway project, with modifications. A 14-member, locally nominated CRT was appointed by the Commissioner to study the route.
The Citizens Resource Team recommendations for the US127 North project are as follows:
- Follow the existing alignment for the entire project.
- Five lane with Center turn lane for Section 1 (from Interstate 40 to Tabor Loop Road) and Section 6 (from north of Mary Carr Road to State Route 62 at Clarkrange).
- Four lane with grassed median for Sections 2 through 5 (from Tabor Loop Road to north of Mary Carr Road).
- Minimize footprint through creative use of roadway placement and design.
- Incorporate design elements that enhance the aesthetics of the roadway.
- Design Clear Creek as a regional landmark.
- Include parking and recreational access area at the existing Clear Creek crossing.
- Design appropriately sized vehicle storage area for traffic at North School.
- Include the CRT as part of the TDOT roadway design team.
- Endorse the recommendations of the Clarkrange Working Team.
Clarkrange Working Team Recommendations:
- Follow the existing alignment through Clarkrange.
- Develop design plan that transitions back to the existing two-lane at Little Road.
- Develop a design plan that creates a gateway for Clarkrange.
- Create a design committee to coordinate gateway design at Clarkrange.
- Accelerate funding for this section of the project.
Representative Eric Swafford is also a member of the Tennessee General Assembly representing Cumberland County. Please see attached map.
For more information about this and other TDOT projects, please to go the TDOT web site at www.state.tn.us/tdot.
Click here for the US127 North Project Plan Location Map in PDF format.