From SR 33 to SR 73 (US 321) in Blount County.
TDOT announces this project is now in the final phase of the environmental studies process. The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) is complete, public input has been received and considered and in May 2012, TDOT announced its selection of Alternative A as the Preferred Alternative for the project.
To complete the Final Environmental Impact Statement, (FEIS), TDOT has been updating technical studies for the Preferred Alternative. These studies are necessary to ensure that the best available information and analyses are used when TDOT and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) make the final decision on how the project should move forward. . Included among the technical studies being updated for the FEIS are:
The technical study updates revealed one environmentally sensitive area. In order to avoid the environmentally sensitive area, TDOT has investigated two possible minor shifts in the route of the Preferred Alternative, between Brown School Road and US 321/SR 73 (the southern terminus of the project). The two possible route shifts are:
In order to inform affected property owners, residents and business of the potential alignment shift, TDOT will hold an informal Community Briefing on May 30, 2013. The briefing will be held between the hours of 5:00 and 7:00 PM at the Rio Revolution Church, 3425 E. Lamar Alexander Parkway, Maryville, Tennessee 37804.
Following the Community Briefing, TDOT will determine which avoidance shift to use as part of the Preferred Alternative. The decision will be made based on the potential environmental impacts associated with the shift, and taking into consideration the comments of affected property owners, residents and businesses.
As a result of the additional technical studies related to the environmentally sensitive area, the schedule to complete the FEIS and the Record of Decision (ROD) has been adjusted to take these additional steps into consideration.
As a result of the identification of the environmentally sensitive site and the need to avoid it, the schedule to complete the FEIS and the Record of Decision (ROD) has been adjusted to take these additional steps into consideration.
If the sensitive environmental site could not be avoided, it was unlikely that the ROD would be issued before the Spring of 2014 because of the additional coordination that would be required with the State Historic Preservation Office, Native American Tribes, and others. With the selection of one of the proposed avoidance shifts, TDOT expects that the ROD can be issued by FHWA by the end of 2013.
The expected schedule to complete the FEIS and ROD is shown below:
Selection of Preferred Alternative
After consideration of input from the public, local officials and local, state and federal agencies, as well as weighing of the impacts of the project alternatives on the human and natural environment, TDOT has selected Alternative A (see Figure below) as its Preferred Alternative for the proposed project.
Alternative A was selected as the Preferred Alternative for the following reasons:
TDOT has determined that the Preferred Alternative meets the purpose and need of the proposed project, in that it would:
In being responsive to comments made during the DEIS comment period in 2010, TDOT prepared more detailed traffic forecasts for Alternative D to bring it to the same level as Alternatives A and C; these revised forecasts included the data necessary to calculate the levels of service. The additional traffic analysis, conducted prior to the selection of the preferred alternative, is reported in the updated traffic report, SR 162 (Pellissippi Parkway Extension) Addendum to the Traffic Operations Technical Report, (June 30, 2011).
The updated traffic analysis demonstrated that overall, Build Alternatives A and C shows a substantial reduction in delay compared to the No-Build scenario at most study area intersections, with the reduction in delay ranging from 1 percent (corresponding to 11 seconds less than the No-Build) to over 150 percent (corresponding to 141 seconds less than the No-Build). It also demonstrated that for most key intersections, Build Alternative D would cause a moderate increase in delay, ranging from 2 percent (a 1-second increase over the No-Build) to 59 percent (a 128-second increase over the No-Build). One intersection (SR 33 at Sam Houston School Road) is predicted to experience rather extreme increases in delay by 2035 under Alternative D (more than 75 percent increase).
Following the conclusion of the Tennessee Environmental Streamlining Agreement (TESA) Concurrence Point 4, Preferred Alternative and Preliminary Mitigation, TDOT will initiate the preparation of the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) to address the impacts of the Preferred Alternative. The following additional technical studies will be conducted during Summer 2012 and reported in the FEIS:
Archaeology – Phase II investigations on five sites are necessary to determine whether the sites are eligible for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places. If one or more sites are determined to be eligible for the National Register, TDOT and FHWA will consult with Native American tribes and the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) to develop a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) and a mitigation plan. The MOA must be finalized prior to the approval of the FEIS.
Hazardous Materials - A Phase II Contamination Assessment is required for one site along the Preferred Alternative to verify or refute potential contamination concerns.
Threatened and Endangered Species (Indiana Bat) – Subsequent to the approval of the DEIS, the US Fish and Wildlife Service notified TDOT that additional investigations would be necessary to determine whether the federally listed endangered Indiana bat is present in the project area. TDOT will conduct a survey for the Indiana bat during the summer season 2012.
Noise – As a result of TDOT’s 2011 Noise Policy, an updated noise abatement analysis will be conducted for the Preferred Alternative.
Draft Environmental Impact Statement
The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the project was approved by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) on April 16, 2010, and was circulated for public comment.
Draft Environmental Impact Statement (pdf 30.7 MB)
The below documents are in PDF format.
The DEIS Public Hearing was held on Tuesday, July 20, 2010 from 5 PM to 8 PM, at the Heritage High School in Maryville, Tennessee. Comments on the DEIS were accepted through August 30, 2010. Copies of the DEIS public hearing handout, presentation and transcript, and the combined public comments received are available on the SR 162 Public Involvement page.
TDOT, in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), is proposing to extend and construct Pellissippi Parkway (SR 162) from its current terminus at SR 33 (Old Knoxville Highway) to SR 73 (US 321 or Lamar Alexander Highway) in Blount County. The length of the proposed extension would be approximately 4.4 miles. TDOT and FHWA are preparing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to identify and evaluate the environmental effects of the proposed project and to identify measures to minimize harm
The proposed action is intended to address the following transportation needs in the study area:
- Limited mobility options in Blount County and Maryville due to the primarily radial roadway network that now exists.
- Poor local road network with substandard cross sections.
- Lack of a northwest/east connection east of Alcoa and Maryville to help serve:
- Expanding residential development occurring in eastern Alcoa and Maryville and northern Blount County; and
- Increasing demand for trips between Maryville and Alcoa and the Knoxville area to the north.
- Safety issues on roadways in the area, including roads in the Maryville core that through travelers between north and western portions of the county and the eastern portions of the county must pass. Numerous rear-end crashes and angle crashes have been reported due to high volumes of traffic and lack of access management along the roadways.
- Traffic congestion and poor levels of service on the major arterial roads in the study area (US 129, SR 33, US 411 and US 321).
The core transportation objectives of the proposed action are:
- Enhance regional transportation system linkages.
- Improve circumferential mobility by providing travel options to the existing radial roadway. network in Blount County, Maryville, and Alcoa.
- Improve roadway safety on the existing roadway network, including the Maryville core.
- Achieve acceptable traffic flows (level of service) on the transportation network or not adversely. affect traffic flows on the existing network.
Additional objectives of the proposed action include:
- Support community and growth management goals.
- Minimize adverse impacts to neighborhoods and businesses, farmlands, and the natural and cultural environment.
The Pellissippi Parkway Extension was one of six Bicentennial Parkways included in Tennessee’s 1986 Urgent Highway Needs Plan. The plan described this project as a 19.5-mile extension of Pellissippi Parkway from I-40 in western Knox County to US 321 in eastern Blount County. Pellissippi Parkway between I-40/75 and SR 33 was designed and built in four sections between 1987 and 2005. The extension of Pellissippi Parkway from SR 33 to US 321 was included in the Knoxville Urban Area Transportation Planning Organization’s (TPO) 1995 Update of the Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP), and has been included in subsequent updates of the LRTP. The 1998 Federal Transportation Equity Act for the 21 Century or TEA-21 included the extension of Pellissippi Parkway between SR 33 and US 321 in the High Priority Projects Program.
The DEIS evaluated the following alternatives: No-Build; Build Alternatives A and C - extend Pellissippi Parkway as a new four-lane divided roadway with interchanges at SR-33, SR-35/US411, and SR-73/US 321; and Build Alternative D - upgrade existing two-lane network to connect SR-33 with SR-73/US 321.
Alternatives previously considered but dismissed were public transit, transportation system management (TSM) activities, improve currently deficient local roads, and a new four-lane divided roadway corridor closer to the Little River.
Click here for a larger view of the Pellissippi Parkway Extension Project DEIS Build Alternatives in PDF format.