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Relocated Alcoa Highway: SR 115 (U.S. 129) - Blount County

Project Description

Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI)  (August 8, 2011) (PDF 8.27 MB)

The existing State Route 115 (Alcoa Highway), from near Hall Road (State Route 335) to south Singleton Station Road, currently provides multiple functions. It provides local business access, carries traffic to and from McGhee Tyson Airport, and is a primary commuting route to and from the City of Knoxville. It serves a major portion of Blount County and surrounding areas. The contrasting priorities for the roadway have resulted in negative safety and capacity issues.

The proposed project would consist of constructing a segment of limited access highway on new alignment from near Hall Road to South Singleton Station Road. The purpose of this project is to provide a balanced solution for the safety and capacity issues of the existing section of State Route 115 between Hall Road and South Singleton Station Road. The multi-lane facility would provide an efficient and safe transportation route, minimize displacements or other impacts to local businesses, and be compatible with local and regional goals and objectives.

Purpose of Project

  • Proposed alignment shall be constructed as a limited access highway on new alignment from Hall Road to Singleton Station Road.
  • Existing Alcoa Highway provides local business access, carries traffic to and from McGhee-Tyson Airport, and is a primary commuting route for the City of Knoxville.
  • The purpose is to improve the safety and capacity issues of the existing SR#115 section.
  • The new section would mainly serve commuter traffic to and from Knoxville and traffic to and from McGhee-Tyson Airport, while the existing facility would continue to provide access to local businesses.

Build Alternative Description

The Build Alternative would involve construction of a new six-lane, limited access highway from north of Hall Road to South Singleton Station. The portion from the split of State Route 115 (Alcoa Highway) and State Route 335 to the proposed McGhee Tyson Airport interchange would be widened to eight lanes to accommodate the combined traffic volumes. Each of the traffic lanes would be 12-feet-wide and inside and outside shoulders would be 12 feet. The project length is approximately 250 acres of new right-of-way. Several new interchanges, connector roads, and other improvements are proposed along the length of the project. 

The primary benefits of the proposed action include:

  1. Improved safety and traffic conditions
  2. Enhanced economic development opportunities within the project area
  3. Improved circulation among the cities and communities in the project area
  4. Improved regional accessibility to the project area
  5. Reduced travel times
  6. Long-term energy savings
  7. Increased property values with new opportunities for economic development, especially for strategically located properties.

The primary direct adverse impacts of the proposed action include:

  1. The displacement of single family units, multi-0family units, and businesses
  2. An increase in noise levels in the immediate project area
  3. Temporary construction impacts
  4. Minor impacts to surface waters
  5. Conversion of undeveloped areas to highways and associated ROW resulting in loss of agricultural land and wildlife habitat. The improved access and reduced congestion problems anticipated with implementation of this alternative would make more of this land desirable for development, especially for commercial and industrial uses. This would result in indirect adverse impacts associated with future development of currently undeveloped areas along the proposed highway. The ROW requirements would be refined during the design phase of the project, and these refinements should reduce the adverse impacts presented in this document.