TDOT to hold public meeting on James White Parkway extension

TDOT to hold public meeting on James White Parkway extension Thursday

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The parkway currently ends at Moody Avenue. The parkway currently ends at Moody Avenue.
"They should work on that so we can get more traffic flow. It would help the community and help the business," said Mike Roy of Al's Market and Deli. "They should work on that so we can get more traffic flow. It would help the community and help the business," said Mike Roy of Al's Market and Deli.
"They've chopped all of our roads up over here and everywhere you have to run around in circles to get out, so they need to finish what they started," said South Knoxville resident Glen Richards. "They've chopped all of our roads up over here and everywhere you have to run around in circles to get out, so they need to finish what they started," said South Knoxville resident Glen Richards.

By STEPHANIE BEECKEN
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – The Tennessee Department of Transportation will hold a public meeting to gather input on the proposed extension of the James White Parkway into South Knoxville.

The meeting will take place Thursday, Dec. 6 at 5:00 p.m. at South Doyle Middle School.

Mike Roy is part owner of Al's Market and Deli. His business is located next to the end of James White Parkway. He hopes TDOT does extend the parkway southward to Chapman Highway

"I think they should expand it instead of stopping the project. They should work on that so we can get more traffic flow. It would help the community and help the business," said Roy.

The project was started in the 1970s as an alternative route to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Now TDOT says the congestion and crashes on Chapman Highway are increasing demand for the James White Parkway extension completion. The parkway currently ends at Moody Avenue.

TDOT spokesperson Mark Nagi says there are four project options for the public to discuss during the public meeting.

The purpose of the meeting is to present the public with the options being considered for the James White Parkway Extension, including the "no build" option, and receive comments.

"There are three preferred alternatives which money-wise looks around $100 million range. Then there is the no-build alternative," said Nagi.

The three build alternatives will extend the parkway five miles. The fourth option is to not extend James White Parkway.

A thirty-year resident of South Knoxville, Glen Richards wants the extension project to move forward to make commuting to surrounding areas easier.

"They've chopped all of our roads up over here and everywhere you have to run around in circles to get out, so they need to finish what they started," said Richards.

Once those comments are received, TDOT will decide whether or not to continue the development of the project or to eliminate it altogether.

Recently, Ijams Nature Center, which operates a 300-acre wildlife sanctuary and environmental learning center in South Knoxville, released a statement supporting the "no build" option for the road.

"South Knoxville has changed dramatically since the James White Parkway Extension Project commenced in 1977," an Ijams spokesperson said in a news release. "Preservation of the sector's richest natural assets is now recognized and supported by community members and local government as vital to the area's quality of life and economic growth. To this end, Ijams Nature Center opposes TDOT's proposed extension of the James White Parkway."

Anyone who cannot attend Thursday's meeting, but would like to submit comments can mail them to:

Public Hearing Comments

Attn: James White Parkway DEIS

Tennessee Department of Transportation

Suite 700, James K. Polk Building

505 Deaderick Street

Nashville, TN 37243-0332

Comments must be received by Jan. 4, 2013.

T-DOT officials say they'll review all the comments but that it will be about two months before a decision is made on the parkway's future. If an option to extend the parkway is chosen, it will still be a couple years before construction starts.

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