From Pyburns Drive to State Route 226 (Airport Road)
A few years ago, after a determination from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) revised the environmental study area for the State Route 128 improvement project. This revision affected the beginning (southern) termini of the project. The beginning termini changed from Pyburns Drive to the far side of the Tennessee River, downstream of the Pickwick Dam, to a point along State Route 57. This change gave the study area the required "logical termini" as well as "independent utility". Funding was provided to study and document the environmental effects of the extended project in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). It required the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and followed the process defined in the Tennessee Environmental Streamlining Agreement (TESA). This method requires official concurrence at four points in the process from the multiple governmental agencies with oversight of the environmental study and document. The extended project has gone through the first and second concurrence points. At the first concurrence point the "Purpose and Need" for the project was agree on. At the second point, concurrence was obtained on the different alternates to be studied. At that point it was decided not to precede to the third and fourth concurrence points on the extended project limits.
Although a crossing of the Tennessee River was a part of the extended project study, TDOT has no immediate plans to construct a new bridge. Currently all "build" alternatives are on new alignment from State Route 57 across the Tennessee River to near Pyburns Drive. However, from Pyburns Drive to State Route 226 (Airport Road) the alignment is the same on all of the build alternates, and generally follows the existing roadway. Therefore, FHWA has determined that an environmental study and document can be completed on the original limits from Pyburns Drive to State Route 226 since construction of this section of the roadway leaves all build alternatives viable on the section from SR-57 to Pyburns Drive. Also, since the project generally follow the existing roadway and has minor impacts, it was determined that the type of environmental document should be a Categorical Exclusion (CE). A Categorical Exclusion can be completed more quickly and economically than an Environmental Impact Statement.
General Location Map