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Decision Made for State Route 126 Project

Wednesday, May 29, 2013 | 09:29am

Updated May 30, 2013

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – On Tuesday, May 28th, the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) announced that Alternative B-Modified has been chosen as the preferred alignment for the State Route 126 (Memorial Boulevard) project in Sullivan County.

Three alternatives were presented during two public hearings that were held on December 11th, 2012. TDOT considered more than 200 comments received from the public during and after those hearings.  

After careful consideration, Alternative B-Modified was selected because it best meets the purpose and need of the project.  It improves safety while minimizing impacts to the environment and the community. Alternative B-Modified was the only alternative that did not impact a nearby cemetery, and also considerably lowered the number of residential and business displacements.

The project, which will extend from East Center Street in Kingsport to I-81, includes the following:

- 4 lanes (divided) from East Center Street to Harbor Chapel (1.46 miles)
- 3 lanes, which include 2 travel lanes and one eastbound truck climbing lane from Harbor Chapel to Old Stage Road (0.62 miles)
- 3 lanes from Old Stage Road to Harr Town Road (4.32 miles) in the vicinity of East Lawn Cemetery and Yancey’s Tavern
- 2 lanes from Harr Town Road to I-81 (1.98 miles)

“We understand the concerns of the community and drivers that use this important roadway,” said TDOT Commissioner John Schroer. “Alternative B-Modified will not impact any of the graves in East Lawn Cemetery or the nearby historic Yancey’s Tavern. Most importantly, we are confident this will address the serious safety concerns along SR 126 while effectively moving traffic.” 

Alternative B-Modified will require 104 residential relocations and 24 business relocations. Alternative A would have required 241 residential and 43 business relocations. Alternative B would have impacted 162 homes and 30 businesses.  

Now that a preferred alignment has been selected, the environmental document will proceed to the next phase; preparation of the Final Environmental Impact Statement for submittal to FHWA. Design and right-of-way phases will follow. The construction phase, which is estimated to cost $97 million, could begin in late 2017.  

For more information on this project, please visit



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