May 3 2008

Daily Times

The Blount County Planning Commission wants to keep a scaled-down variant of the controversial Southern Loop proposal on the drawing board.

During a special called meeting on Tuesday, planning commissioners indicated that they wanted to keep the proposal for a two-lane bypass around the cities of Alcoa and Maryville in the text of the county Policies Plan.

Planners let it slip in a recent TDOT public hearing on the Pellissippi Parkway Extension that local traffic congestion improvements would only be realized if the southern loop is completed.

Citizens Against the Pellissippi Parkway Extension explain the problem:

According to TDOT’s traffic studies, the PPE will produce marginal and short-lived improvements to traffic conditions on a few roads, and within 20 years even these limited improvements will have disappeared.

Becky White, whose firm did the traffic analysis for TDOT, said that this projection assumes the Southern Loop and other proposed new roads will be built.


Tell TDOT that they need to do credible traffic studies of the impact of the PPE on our existing road system – the road system that will be in place when the PPE is in use. Until this is done there is no objective data supporting the assertion that the PPE will alleviate traffic congestion anywhere in the cities or the county.

In other words, if the southern loop (for which other more desirable alternatives have been identified) is phased out of regional transportation plans, the PPE cannot be justified on the basis of relieving traffic congestion.

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