Prior to the development of the environmental assessment, another alternative was considered in 1998. The build alternative considered under the environmental assessment consisted of improving and widening existing State Route 115 between Hall Road and Singleton Station Road.
Comments received from agencies, organizations, and the general public was taken into consideration during development of the 1998 build alternative. Subsequently, the City of Alcoa and the Blount County Chamber of Commerce held workshops to deal with perceived deficiencies in the design. Business owners had three primary concerns:
The City of Alcoa was concerned with the potential loss of tax revenue during construction and substantial cost associated with relocation and adjustment of municipally owned utilities.
Following the workshops, representatives of the Chamber of Commerce, business owners, and government officials began to seek alternative solutions to the needs of increased safety and capacity on State Route 115. Several ideas and plans were presented. The concept of an alternative corridor was deemed o have the most potential for success. This alternative corridor concept was endorsed in resolutions by the Cities of Alcoa and Maryville in Blount County and by the McGhee Tyson Airport.
An Alternate Route Study was prepared in May 2001 and submitted to TDOT by local stakeholders. TDOT initiated the environmental assessment for Relocated Alcoa Highway in 2001. In March 2004, TDOT published the environmental assessment for the proposed Relocated Alcoa Highway. A Public Hearing was held in June 2004. The Build Alternative (bypass) was selected as the “Preferred Alternative” in 2005 based on local support. The build Alternative is consistent with the Knoxville Regional Mobility Plan and Transportation Improvement Program of the Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning Organization (TPO).