Commission to vote on 2nd phase on Karns Connector

Commission to vote on 2nd phase on Karns Connector


6 News Reporter

KARNS (WATE) -  A project that has been in the works for 15 years is closer to a reality as the Knox County commission is scheduled to approve funding for phase two of the Karns connector roadway project at its Monday meeting.  

Phase One of the project already connected Oak Ridge Highway to Emory Road via Karns Valley Road back in 2007.  

On Monday, commissioners will vote to approve a professional surveying and engineering services proposal from Cannon & Cannon, Inc. for $222,000.  

Plans call for the proposed 1/2 mile Karns connector to link Hardin Valley Road to Oak Ridge Highway, at an estimated cost between $4,000,000 to $5,000,000.

The connecting road would extend from Westcott Blvd to Oak Ridge Highway.

There will be a stoplight at the intersection of Oak Ridge Hwy and Karns Valley Road.  

The connector that hopes to take motorists off the area's small and windy roads and onto much straighter ones, the connector would allow for speeds of 40 mph.

"It will have wide lanes, wide shoulders, it will be a much safer road," said Jim Snowden, deputy director with Knox County Department of Engineering & Public Works.  

Snowden says county public works department says the small and windy roads between Karns and Hardin Valley  needed improvement.  

"As everybody that knows in the Karns community, there's some issue with congestion in downtown Karns as well as the one lane underpass, so it's just network connectivity for the roadways," Snowden said.  

The connector is also expected to improve access to Pellissippi Parkway, which has been obstacle to many, including Knox County Commissioner Brad Anders, who represents the district.  

"If you're going west on Oak Ridge Highway and to get southbound on Pellissippi, you've got two options:  You can drive onto some smaller, narrow county roads or you can take a U-turn a U-turn on Pellissippi and Hardin Valley," Anders explained.

Other Karns residents deal with the same problem.

"I work over at Calhoun's on Pellissippi, so I've have to hit Pellissippi every day, so it'd be a lot easier, so you don't have make the U-Turn," said Joshua Jackson, a Karns resident.

The connector would also create two bridges over Beaver Creek and modify Garrison Road.

About six property owners would have to sell some land to accommodate the project, although, none would be re-located or displaced, according to Snowden.

If the design phase is approved by commissioners, construction could begin by spring 2014. 

The project construction could take 18 months to complete, or by fall 2015.

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