KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Canton Hollow Road is considered one of the most dangerous and problematic roads in Knox County. The road – which runs parallel between Pellissippi Parkway and Concord Road in Farragut – has seen dozens of car accidents over the past 10 years.
In fact, a 2016 county study determined the road needed to be re-configured to be safer. Fast forward six years and it appears nothing has changed.
Robert Radford lives just off Canton Hollow Road and drives on the road every day. He says “it’s a disaster.” Radford adds, “you get people constantly going over the double yellow” and he says “It’s 30 mph and everybody is doing 43 or 44 and it’s curvy.”
Radford says in many sections of the road, the edge is just a few inches from the ditch.
“If you go off the side – it’s curtains. You’ll be in the woods here,” he said.
Sadly, many have done just that. There have been dozens of crashes on the road and a number of fatalities.
Senior director of Knox County Engineering and Public Works Jim Snowden says the county is well aware of the safety issues.
“There’s just no forgiveness on the roadside. If you drop a tire off the road there is going to be an accident because you can’t get back on the road safely,” Snowden said, adding that the lack of a shoulder is just one concern.
“There’s just a lot of curves on the road that are unexpected to the motorist. There’s a couple of hills out there that limit site distance,” Snowden said. And he says several years ago the mile-and-half road was highlighted in a county-wide study.
“Canton Hollow was ranked number one, there was not a stretch of roadway in the county that had more crashes for the volume and width of roadway,” Snowden said.
However, those who frequently drive on the road say – six years later – the road is still just as dangerous as ever.
“Getting on this road is like a roller coaster,” is how Roland Thompson describes Canton Hollow Road. He drives on it to visit his daughter and grandchildren. “As far as up and down and windiness it’s a little bit more of a challenge than other roads I have been on here.”
While motorists have noticed some work being done – they haven’t noticed any changes in the road. Radford says, “It looks like they’ve done a lot and yet they’ve done nothing at the same time. Tractors, dirt being moved, a bunch of pipes, we’ve got all the pipes, but we don’t have traffic solutions.”
Snowden says he understands but adds the county has actually done a lot of time-consuming prep work to get ready for construction and re-configuration.
“We had to do a lot of field surveys to establish existing conditions and design it. We ran into some streams – so there were some environmental issues. That process took two years,” Snowden said. “Then we had to go into right of way acquisition – and we had somewhere in the neighborhood of 60 tracks. A couple of relocations. We had to move people.”
He says that took another two years.
“And here most recently underneath the road and if you drive by you may not even realize it are two petroleum pipelines,” Snowden said, adding that they’re still working that out with two different petroleum companies.
He shared a map that shows the changes that are on their way to Canton Hollow Road.
A left turn lane is being added at Canton Hollow Road and Woody Drive.
“Our new roadway will take out all those curves and flatten those hills and you’ll have pedestrian facilities a sidewalk on one side and greenway on the other and it will be much safer,” Snowden said.
Snowden believes the reconfiguration project is about 6 months or so away from starting. Once it starts, he estimates it will take about 18 months to complete and will cost about $8 million. Snowden says when it’s complete – the road will be measurably safer for everyone.