State Route 32
NOTICE OF SECOND NEPA PUBLIC HEARING
MAY 24, 2020, FROM 6:00 – 8:00 pm ET
COCKE COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL
216 HEDRICK DRIVE, NEWPORT, TN 37821
In response to public feedback received during the previous NEPA Public Hearing held on April 13, 2022, a second NEPA Public Hearing is being held to provide the public with an additional opportunity to provide input on the approved Environmental Assessment (EA) that was prepared for the SR-32 Improvements Project and was approved by the Federal Highway Administration on March 16, 2022. The agenda for the May 24, 2022 NEPA Public Hearing is as follows:
6:00 – 6:30 pm: Sign-In/Review Hearing Handout/View Project Displays
6:30 – 6:45 pm: Live Project PowerPoint Presentation (including an overview of the project design and key Environmental Assessment findings)
6:45 – 7:15 pm: Question and Answer Session with TDOT Representatives
7:15 – 8:00 pm: Opportunity for the public to review the project displays, ask questions, and provide comments.
No appointment is necessary to attend the May 24, 2022 NEPA Public Hearing since the hearing will be held in an auditorium/gymnasium setting.
*Please note that the presentation and other hearing materials are the same as those provided at the April 12, 2022 Virtual Question and Answer Session and the April 14, NEPA Public Hearing held at the Newport Community Center.
The EA can be viewed on this website (Environmental Assessment) and at the following locations:
Cocke County Mayor’s Office
360 East Main Street
Newport, TN 37821
TDOT Construction Office
1046 Cosby Highway
Newport, TN 37821
Persons with a disability who require aids or services to participate at the hearing may contact Ms. Shanna Waelty at the following address no later than ten (10) days prior to the date of the hearing:
Ms. Shanna Waelty
Tennessee Department of Transportation
Suite 1200, James K. Polk Building, 505 Deaderick Street
Nashville, TN 37243
By Phone: (615) 741-0465
TTY Relay: (877) 831-0298
Ways to Ask A Question or Make a Comment on the Proposed Project
If you have a comment or question, please use one of the following methods to contact TDOT:
Questions About the Project- Please call 888-283-4678 (toll free) through June 14, 2022 and leave a voicemail message with your name, phone number and question. Questions will be responded to within 7 business days by a TDOT representative.
If you have a question that needs to be answered before providing your official comment on the project, please make sure to call the number above by June 3, 2022 in order to allow TDOT time to respond to your question.
Verbal Comments- Please call 888-283-4678 (toll free) and leave a voicemail message with your name, phone number and comment.·
Public Comment Card- Download a pre-addressed comment card here (Comment Card) and mail it to TDOT postmarked by June 14, 2022.
Email- Send an email to TDOT.firstname.lastname@example.org by June 14, 2022.
Letter- Mail a written statement postmarked by June 14, 2022, to the following address:
NEPA Public Hearing
Attn: SR-32 (US-321) Project
Tennessee Department of Transportation
Suite 700, James K. Polk Building
505 Deaderick Street
Nashville, TN 37243-0332
The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT), in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), is proposing to improve State Route (SR) 32 (US-321) from SR-73 to the existing 4-lane divided section of SR-32 (US-321) north of Wilton Springs Road in Cocke County, Tennessee. The proposed project is approximately 7.1 miles in length. The proposed project would be constructed in part with funding from FHWA and is therefore subject to the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
Project Location Map
In 1987, a TDOT Advanced Planning Report (APR) outlined proposed improvements to the SR-32 corridor from SR-73 (also called Hooper Highway) at Cosby to I-40 at Newport (Exit 435). In the late 1980s, TDOT acquired right-of-way for a four-lane facility for a section of the project identified in the APR from Wilton Springs Road (also designated as SR-73) to I-40 at Newport (Exit 435) (TDOT PIN 107349.00). At that time, a five-lane section from just north of Epley Road to I-40 (a distance of about 0.5 mile) and two lanes of the proposed four-lane roadway from Wilton Springs Road to just north of Epley Road were constructed.
NEPA studies for the SR-32 (US-321) project from SR-73 to Wilton Springs Road were initiated in 1998. The original Build Alternative started on SR-73 west of the SR-73/SR-32 intersection and traveled on new location west of existing SR-32 to Foothills Parkway. From the Foothills Parkway, it essentially followed the existing SR-32 roadway until Deer Foot Road, where it then traveled on new location east of existing SR-32 to the northern project terminus at Wilton Springs Road. Following a public meeting on June 29, 2010 and a presentation to the Tennessee Environmental Streamlining Agreement (TESA) agencies in August 2010 a second Build Alternative was proposed for consideration.
In 2012, TDOT initiated an Expedited Project Delivery (EPD) review of the project to identify feasible, cost-effective improvement options that would provide improved safety and mobility in the corridor. A public meeting was held on March 15, 2012 to obtain public input regarding the two alternatives under consideration at that time, and an agency field view was conducted on September 25, 2012. Based on recommendations in the EPD technical report, agency coordination, and public input from public meetings, TDOT developed a third potential Build Alternative. Two of the three potential Build Alternatives – Build Alternatives A and B – are currently being considered for the project.
TDOT has prepared an Environmental Assessment (EA) in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which identifies and evaluates the environmental impacts of the proposed Build Alternatives. The EA was approved by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) on March 16, 2022. Results of the technical studies are included in the approved EA, which is available for review, and will presented in a NEPA Public Hearing scheduled for April 14, 2022. A public comment period will follow Public Hearing. For more information on scheduled meetings, meeting materials, or public comments, visit the Public Involvement section of the project website.
Purpose and Need
SR-32 is a north/south corridor that runs parallel to Interstate 40 (I-40). The project area connects to Newport via US-321 and Sevier County via SR-73. SR-32 and US-321 share the same alignment from SR-73 (US-321) at Cosby to US-411 in Newport.
The needs for the proposed project include:
· Inefficient connectivity/access to tourist areas;
· Existing roadway deficiencies;
· Existing operational deficiencies;
· High crash rate;
· Improve SR-32 consistent with the legislative intent of the “Improving Manufacturing, Public Roads, and Opportunities for a Vibrant Economy” (IMPROVE) Act; and
· Support economic development opportunities.
The purpose of the project is to:
· Improve connections/access to high tourism areas within the region;
· Improve the roadway to meet current design standards;
· Improve traffic operational efficiency;
· Reduce crashes;
· Meet the intent of the IMPROVE Act; and
· Enhance economic development opportunities.
A No-Build Alternative and two Build Alternatives are currently being evaluated in the Environmental Assessment (EA). Each alternative is described below.
· No-Build Alternative- The No-Build Alternative is required by federal regulations to be evaluated in an EA. The No-Build Alternative provides a baseline for comparison against the other project alternatives. The No-Build Alternative would leave this portion of SR-32 (US-321) as it currently exists, other than routine maintenance as needed.
· Build Alternative A- Build Alternative A would begin on SR-73 just south of Stonebrook Drive and continue north on new location west of Stonebrook Drive for approximately 1.4 miles before crossing existing SR-32. After crossing existing SR-32, Build Alternative A continues north on new location to just north of SR-339 (Jones Cove Road), where it then follows the existing SR-32 alignment, except where it straightens out several curves, to north of Middle Creek Road where it again travels on new location to align with existing SR-32 at the SR-32/Wilton Springs Road intersection. Build Alternative A continues through the intersection to connect with the existing 4-lane divided section of SR-32 north of the bridge over Cosby Creek. The replacement of the bridge is an “Improving Manufacturing, Public Roads, and Opportunities for a Vibrant Economy” (IMPROVE) Act project. Build Alternative A would result in the realignment of the entrance to the Foothills Parkway.
· Build Alternative B- Build Alternative B would begin just west of the SR-73/SR-32 intersection and reconfigure the existing intersection. Currently, vehicles accessing SR-32 from SR-73 have to stop at the intersection and turn left to go north on SR-32. The T-intersection would be reconfigured so that traffic travelling from SR-73 to SR-32 northbound, or from SR-32 to SR-73 southbound, would become the through traffic, and traffic travelling to or from SR-32 south of the original intersections would have a stop condition.
Just north of the reconfigured intersection, Build Alternative B would follow existing SR-32 to just north of Caney Creek Road where it would diverge slightly to straighten out the curve, cross existing SR-32 and Cosby Creek, and continue in a northwesterly direction on new location. Approximately 1,000 feet north of where it crosses existing SR-32, Build Alternative B would follow the same alignment as Build Alternative A to the northern project terminus. Build Alternative B would include the same realignment of the entrance to the Foothills Parkway as Build Alternative A.
Proposed Roadway Typical Sections
Both of the Build Alternatives are proposed to be constructed in two separate construction phases from the southern terminus to Penland Road. TDOT is proposing to acquire enough right-of-way for Phase 1 Construction (Interim Build) to accommodate the construction of Phase 2 Construction (Full Build). Phased construction is not proposed for the section of the Build Alternatives from Penland Road to the project terminus at the 4-lane divided section of SR-32 north of Wilton Springs Road. That section would be constructed at the same time as Phase 1 Construction (Interim Build). The proposed typical sections for both Build Alternatives for the Interim Build and Full Build are shown in the figures below.
Proposed Build Alternatives
Proposed Roadway Typical Sections-Build Alternative A
Proposed Roadway Typical Sections-Build Alternative B