The Daily Times printed my Letter to the Editor today, Sept. 2, 2011.
If the text of the letter is not available because you have not subscribed to their service, see the text of the letter below.
The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) released a study regarding a 6-8 lane road proposed through Alcoa and Rockford. How can the Federal Highway Administration issue TDOT a Finding of No Significant Impact if there is a loss of 250+ acres of land? The City of Alcoa, the Blount County Chamber of Commerce and several business owners paid an engineering firm to develop the proposal after TDOT recommended fixing the existing highway.
Plans for an Alcoa Highway redesign from UT Hospital in Knox County to the 129 bypass allows for the addition of lanes to the existing roadway, except for this section.
Nearly half of the proponents at the Nov. 2010 meeting included 10 local government officials and spouses, 1 asphalt company employee, 8 employees of a local road materials producer, and 2 individuals in commercial real estate. Excluding these biased proponents, the number of respondents for and against the project are nearly even. 99% of the opponents were Blount County residents as compared to 67% for the project.
The new Noise Study Results indicates only one neighborhood will qualify for “likely” noise barriers: Northwood. Springbrook, Glenmore Estates and five other impacted areas will not qualify. Cedar Hill qualifies, but it’s not feasible.
The cost for fixing the existing roadway would take less taxpayer funds. Improvements to the existing highway would have no significant impact, according to the 2000 Environmental Assessment. A new highway would have extensive impact, the loss of hundreds of acres of undeveloped land that could be used for better purposes and increased noise and air pollution in nearby neighborhoods and parks.
The trees, parks, mixed-use areas, diverse population, sidewalks, and greenways make this a model community. Get out one day and travel down Hunt Road (going north), left on Wright Road, right on Cusick, then left on Singleton Station. Most of the green space to the left of these roads will be lost to eight lanes of pavement. Also notice as you are taking this drive how close the road will come to Springbrook, Cedar Hill, and Glenmore Estates. Don’t forget to imagine the 6 large interchanges along this route.
I implore everyone to consider pursuing the original fix for the existing Alcoa Highway and not introduce such a colossal roadway through our communities.
About this site
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- TDOT PROJECT WEBSITE
- FHWA/TDOT Finding of No Significant Impact
- 1998 TDOT proposal EA with public comments
- 2004 TDOT proposal EA with public comments
- TDOT transcript of Nov. 9 2010 public meeting
- TDOT public comments received after Nov. 9 2010 meeting
- Raw audio recording of Nov. 9 2010 TDOT meeting
- Map of proposed route
- Knox TPO Feb. 2010 Agenda w/attachments
- Map of local area TDOT projects
- Knox TPO Long Range Transportation Plan Update
- Knox TPO Transportation Infrastructure Program FY11-14
- Knox TPO Executive Board minutes Aug. 2006
- TDOT Nov. 9 2010 public meeting notice
- Printable opposition flyer for public meeting
- Maryville Daily Times ad
- U.S. Department of Transportation
- Tennessee Department of Transportation
- Knoxville Region Transportation Planning Office