COCKE COUNTY, Tenn. (WATE) — Upcoming construction for State Route 35 (U.S. Highway 321) is leaving part of the highway to close for several months starting on March 20.

According to the Tennessee Department of Transportation, the construction is for the proposed State Route 35 Newport Bypass. During the development, motorists will use the Old Greeneville Highway as a detour.

“The Old Greenville Highway is curvy, I mean, there is some straight spots,” Cocke County Constable Randy Cutshaw said. “It’s not the 65-mile per hour road, it is posted at 35 miles per hour.”

TDOT says the purpose of the project is to create a safer and more efficient route to pass through Newport. Drivers have been originally going through downtown.

The development will be on State Route 35, from State Route 9 to near St. Tide Hollow Road. See the overview of the design.

Cutshaw says he was contacted by residents who are concerned about the detour route.

“They are just worried about the speeders and the reckless drivers. I have already gotten reporters of it even before the detour starts,” Cutshaw said. “I’m going to be out patrolling. I’m sure the sheriff’s department will be out here patrolling. They just need to pay attention and slow down.”

Cutshaw also encourages everyone to drive safely and pay attention to the roads when going through the detour.

TDOT says this portion of the project is expected to be completed in September 2023 and may change depending on weather conditions. See the timeline of the construction.