Frequently Asked Questions:
Q. Why is the state of Tennessee building this project?
A: If you have ever attempted to travel to the Sevierville, Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg area, especially on weekends over the last 15 years, the congestion experienced has been daunting. What should be a 45-minute drive to Gatlinburg from I-40 turns into a two hour drive with traffic often bumper to bumper along this major artery. City officials and Chamber representatives have been supportive of this project for almost two decades and until the ARRA* money became available in 2009, funds for the $40 million dollar price tag for Phase One were not available.
Q: When was it initially planned?
A: Planning for this project has been underway for nearly twenty years. City officials have encouraged TDOT since the area experienced its growth spurt in the 1990s to widen this major route from I-40. When ARRA funds became available to TDOT, it was one of the first projects put on the table for funding.
Q: What is being done to improve the road?
A: There are three phases to this project which will be widened from four to six lanes. There will also be new sidewalks and other enhanced safety features when completed.
Phase 1 ( completed in November 2011) goes from Nichols Street to Boyds Creek Highway
Phase 2 ( completed in November 2012) goes from I-40 to Douglas Dam.
Phase 3 (goes from Boyds Creek Highway to Douglas Dam (map); (scheduled for completion in October 2014)
Q: Why was the section from I-40 to Douglas Dam Road (SR-139) done before the sectionbetween Boyds Creek Highway (SR-338) and Douglas Dam Road?
A: There had been a lot of economic growth in the area of Highway 66 and I-40. Large retail developments have located near the I-40 interchange causing congestion resulting in traffic backing onto the interstate during peak travel times.
Q: How many lanes of traffic will be maintained during construction?
A: Two lanes of traffic will be maintained during construction. There will be times temporary lane closures will be necessary to complete the project. When lane closures are required they will be scheduled during off peak travel times.
Q: What is the speed limit through the construction zone?
A: The speed limit within the construction zone is 35 MPH. The Tennessee Highway Patrol and the Sevierville Police Department will be monitoring traffic through the project.
*ARRA-American Recovery and Reinvestment Act passed by Congress in February 2009 to help stimulate the U.S. economy by putting people back to work.