TDOT Announces Decision on US127 North Project
The Tennessee Department of Transportation today released details on the final alignment for improvements to US127 North in Cumberland and Fen-tress counties. TDOT Commis-sioner Gerald Nicely announced that the project will move forward, following the alignment of the existing route, the majority of which will be designed as a four-lane divided roadway with a grass median.
This announcement comes after extensive study and review of a number of alternative alignments for improvements to US 127 North, between Interstate 40 and State Route 62 at Clark-range. The decision to follow the existing (or Blue) alignment for this 14-mile project is in line with the recommendations of various groups involved in studying the project. A Citizens Resource Team recommended this route in 2006, as did the Clarkrange Working Group. In December 2007, TDOT held a NEPA Public Hearing, at which several alternative alignments were presented for consideration. Once again, the existing alignment was identified as the preferred alternate for this project.
“I want to thank the Citizens Resource Team and the Clarkrange Working Group for their hard work and dedication to their communities,” said Commissioner Nicely. “Their input was very valuable in guiding TDOT’s decisions about this project, and the time they put into the process is very much appreciated.”
The department will now work to finalize the Environmental Impact Statement and will begin survey and design on the Blue alignment for all sections of the route.
“I am pleased that the citizens of Cumberland and Fentress counties played a vital role in the development of this project,” stated Senator Charlotte Burks. “The Citizens Resource Team has done excellent work on this and made very thoughtful recommendations.”
“Improving this roadway will provide a major link from Cumberland County to Fentress County,” added Representative John Mark Windle. “I am very happy that this much-needed project is progressing.”
The four-lane divided design for sections two through five was chosen to preserve the rural character of the area, which was one of the key goals of the CRT. The four-lane design was also preferred from a safety perspective, as four-lane rural divided highways have experienced fewer crashes than five-lane rural highways, according to current statewide averages.
“This is a very important corridor,” said Senator Tommy Kilby. “Maintaining the rural character of the roadway and providing a safe roadway is vital to both the local communities and the region.”
“When this corridor is completed, it will have a very positive effect on the Cumberland Plateau region,” added Representative Eric Swafford.
The CRT also recommended the formation of a Context Sensitive Design Team to work with TDOT on specific design issues. These issues will include the bridge over Clear Creek, the entrance at North School, and the entrance to Clarkrange. This team will begin meeting during the design phase of the project and will play a key role in how the roadway will serve the community and region.