We appreciate Frank Carlson's account ["Slow Ride," Citybeat, Aug. 25, 2010] of the history and current status of the Pellissippi Parkway Extension, 4.4 miles of new interstate highway proposed to be built at an estimated cost of $100 million across farms in northeastern Blount County. He did an admirable job covering a lot of material in a short article.
We want to clarify a few details: The Federal Highway Act (23 USC Section 101 and 117) allows highway funds allocated for the PPE to be used for other road projects in the same area. TDOT's formal consideration in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement of Alternative D, described by Carlson as "another [option] to beef up an existing stretch of two-lane roads for about $60 million" is further evidence that federal and state highway funds need not be spent on this new interstate highway but can be used to improve the existing unsafe road network. Metro Pulse readers can find the detailed analysis of the DEIS on CAPPE's website,
The "dozen road improvement projects" planned for the area regardless of the PPE are listed in the DEIS on page 2-2 and in the official Knoxville Regional Mobility Plan 2009-2034 of the Knox Transportation Planning Organization (TPO). Readers throughout the greater Knoxville region should regularly monitor TPO plans on this agency's website (knoxtrans.org) to get advance notice of road projects in their own neighborhoods.
CAPPE is not anti-development. Blount County residents want a public conversation about where and how our county will grow, instead of using a 30-year-old road plan to determine the long-term future of our community. As advocates for responsible transportation planning, CAPPE has made numerous proposals for improvements to our existing road system, several of which are now underway.
Thanks again for bringing this issue to the attention of your readers.
Nina Gregg for CAPPE