Submitted by R. Neal on Thu, 02/10/2011 - 06:57

Local officials said initially they thought the Alcoa Parkway/bypass could be built at a lower cost than improving the existing Alcoa Highway corridor, which at that time in 1998 was estimated at $50 million.

The estimated cost of the proposed Alcoa Parkway/bypass has been quoted as anywhere from $64 million to over $100 million.

Any way you look at it, it's a lot of money at a time when the economy is still struggling and local, state, and federal governments are slashing budgets and cutting spending wherever they can.

And just how reliable are these cost estimates, anyway?

An alert reader estimates that the asphalt alone could cost nearly $60 million at today's prices. And that doesn't include all the engineering, right of way acquisition, concrete, steel, excavating, construction, landscaping, labor, etc. etc.

And asphalt prices fluctuate with oil prices, and we all know where those are headed. If the asphalt had been purchased in September of 2008, the cost of the asphalt alone would have been $94 million.

And keep in mind that the highway would have to be resurfaced about every 12 years or so, at approx. 1/3 the original asphalt cost. That would be in addition to maintaining the existing Alcoa Highway corridor.

So nobody can really say what a highway project will cost until the bids are let and the contracts are signed. It's almost like writing a faith-based blank check.

SEE ALSO: Here's a reader submitted timeline of asphalt costs, along with traffic counts and some other interesting data. Note that traffic counts have declined, and appear loosely tied to unemployment rates and/or gas prices. And here's a chart of asphalt and gas prices.


About this site

The purpose of this site is to provide an online clearinghouse for information about the proposed Alcoa Parkway bypass and to promote public awareness and public participation in the process. We believe that the original proposal to improve the existing Alcoa Highway corridor needs a second look as a viable alternative for correcting safety and capacity problems, and that the public should have more input in selecting the preferred build alternative.

Contact us

Send your comments and suggestions to M. Neal, or R. Neal, You can also mail your comments to Stop Alcoa Parkway, P.O. Box 490, Alcoa TN 37701. To join our mailing list for updates and new developments, please email