What's the purpose of the Tennessee Byway program?
The program identifies roadways containing scenic, historical, cultural, recreational, natural, or archaeological significance. Tennessee designates certain roads as a Tennessee Byway to encourage the traveling public to get off the interstate and onto the backroads.
Tennessee Byways also support local economies by inviting the visitor to experience lesser-known destinations.
What makes a byway different from other roadways throughout Tennessee?
Once a road is designated as a Tennessee Byway it becomes part of an elite group of roadways that offer the visitor a chance to take in amazing scenery, enjoy recreational resources, discover Tennessee's rich Civil War history, and learn about the state's treasured places and people.
What is a Tennessee Byway?
Tennessee has three byway classifications: Tennessee Scenic Highway, Tennessee Parkway, and National Scenic Byway.
- Designated by the Commissioner of the Department of Transportation
- A request from the individual, organization, agency, or group desiring a route be designated as an official Tennessee Parkway must submit a request in writing to the Commissioner of TDOT.
- The letter requesting the route to be designated as part of the Tennessee Parkway system must detail:
- The route information
- A map showing the route location
- Pictures showing the route's historical, scenic, and/or natural qualities is recommended
- The request must be accompanied with strong community support, and a description of how the route would contribute to the overall Tennessee Parkway system.
- The requested Tennessee Parkway designation must connect with an established Tennessee Parkway route and must be a state route.
- The Commissioner of the Department has the authority to approve or deny a route designation for the Tennessee Parkway system.
Tennessee Scenic Highway:
- Is designated by means of Legislation. Contact the Tennessee State Legislature to request that a route be designated as an official Scenic Highway.
- A Scenic Highway does not have to connect to another state designated route and can be a non-state route.
For further information please see Tennessee Code: 54-17-102 and 54-17-202. Please visit link: Tennessee Code
National Scenic Byway:
Under the National Scenic Byways Program, the U.S. Secretary of Transportation designates roads that are a destination unto themselves. The opportunity to apply for such designation happens about every three years.
To apply for National Scenic Byway designation the road must first be designated as a state Tennessee Parkway or Tennessee Scenic Highway and must have adopted a Corridor Management Plan.
For more information on the National Scenic Byways Program please visit link: http://bywaysonline.org/
What are other important considerations regarding Tennessee Byway designation?
- Receiving a state designation as a Tennessee Byway is the first criteria to participating in the National Scenic Byways Program.
- Designation does not: limit road improvements nor does it affects land use controls
Are there restrictions for outdoor billboard advertising on a Tennessee Scenic Highway?
How can I get more information about the Tennessee Byway program?
Pam Monjar, Statewide Program Coordinator