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US 64 Corridor K

Polk County

Overview

A series of projects have been identified for US 64, commonly referred to as Corridor K, in Polk County. The proposed spot improvements would cover approximately 20 miles of the corridor, from west of the Ocoee River to State Route 68 near Ducktown.

Purpose and Need

Corridor K is part of the Appalachian Development Highway System (ADHS), which stretches 127 miles between Cleveland, Tennessee, and Dillsboro, North Carolina. The section of Corridor K in Polk County, known as the Ocoee River Gorge section, includes 20 miles of US 64 between the Ocoee River and Ducktown.

The Ocoee River Gorge section of Corridor K is part of the Ocoee Scenic Byway and is a Tennessee Scenic Parkway. It is also the only east-west arterial in the region that serves through, local, and recreational traffic.

The existing two-lane highway does not meet current design standards. The corridor contains numerous roadway deficiencies and safety issues with limited shoulder widths, lack of guardrails, inadequate sight distance, and sharp curves. The windy, rocky terrain also presents a major barrier to development with increased susceptibility to rockslides and lack of convenient detours.

The purpose of the proposed projects is to improve the safety and efficiency of the route, as well as regional mobility and connectivity. The improvements would preserve environmental quality and support economic development.

Proposed Design

Corridor K in Polk County is primarily a two-lane road with 12-foot travel lanes and variable shoulder widths through the Ocoee River Gorge. Several build options have been evaluated to improve the route including relocation, spot improvements, and tunnel options. Due to environmental and financial constraints, TDOT is looking at a targeted approach for spot improvements.

Multiple sites, or spots, have been identified for improvement along the corridor. Proposed projects include roadway improvements and rockfall mitigation. All design options being considered for the identified sites are noted below.

  • widening (dependent on location)
    • two 12-foot travel lanes, 12-foot center turn lane, 10-foot paved shoulders
    • 4-foot paved shoulders, guardrail
    • right turn only lanes
  • rockfall mitigation
    • rock excavation
    • 10-foot tall rockfall catch fence
  • curve correction
  • intersection improvements
  • recreational access improvements

Additionally, a bridge-and-tunnel option is being considered on the south end of the project area. This option would consist of two long-span bridges and two twin-bore, single-lane tunnels. The total span length of the two bridges would be 1,430 feet with cast-in-place concrete or steel components. The total length of the two tunnels would be 2,200 feet (0.42 miles) for Tunnel No. 1 and 1,100 feet (0.21 miles) for Tunnel No. 2. The bridges would be connected by Tunnel No. 2.

General design plans for all proposed improvements will address current narrow conditions, limit impacts to the river, and maintain traffic during construction whenever possible.

Because of the smaller size of each project in the targeted approach, multiple projects or spots could be constructed simultaneously to reduce the overall construction timeline.