KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A new report posted by the City of Knoxville reveals priorities for safety improvements along Chapman Highway.
The study focuses on a six-mile section of Chapman Highway within the city limits, between Blount Avenue (near Henley Bridge) and Mountain Grove Drive (just south of Gov. John Sevier Highway). It combines traffic data with extensive input from stakeholders in recommending priorities for safety improvements along the state route.
In February, a WBIR investigation found there had been 76 deaths on a roughly 22-mile stretch of Chapman Highway from Knoxville to Sevierville since 2005. In December, the death of 22-year-old Pierce Corcoran in a head-on crash on Chapman Highway reignited a debate about safety on the roadway that has been ongoing for decades but has never been resolved.
A press release from the City of Knoxville indicated that city leaders are ready to take some action.
“This final report is not ‘just another study,’ but instead its purpose is to function as an implementation plan that provides a prioritized list of implementable projects to transform and improve Chapman Highway,” the report states.
The study identifies and prioritizes 47 key areas where realignment, turn lanes, medians or pedestrian/bike lanes could make a difference for safety.
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The city must work with TDOT on any improvements even within city limits because Chapman Highway is a state route.
"The City of Knoxville has worked with TDOT and invested local funds to improve key points along the Chapman Highway corridor, but a broader approach to making the entire road safer will require resources beyond those available to local government acting alone," according to the press release.
These projects were given the highest priority in the report:
- Maryville Pike and Martin Mill Pike – study alternatives, possibly realigning or consolidating the two intersections
- Stone Road – construct left-turn lanes
- Lakeview Drive to Chapman Ford Crossing – widen for a center left-turn lane or landscaped median
- Nixon Road to Mountain Grove Drive – maintain a center left-turn lane or convert to a landscaped median
- Overbrook Drive to Lakeview Drive – widen for a center left-turn lane or landscaped median
- Chapman Ford Crossing to Nixon Road – widen for a center left-turn lane or landscaped median
- Blount Avenue to Fort Dickerson Road – provide landscaped buffer, separated bike lanes and sidewalks
- Between Moody Avenue and Young High Pike – transit super stop, for improved transfers
- Blount Avenue to Fort Dickerson Road – widen for landscaped median
- Fort Dickerson Road to Moody Avenue – provide landscaped buffer, separated bike lanes and sidewalks
- Moody Avenue to Young High Pike – provide landscaped buffer, separated bike lanes and sidewalks
- Young High Pike to Overbrook Drive – provide landscaped buffer, sidewalk and shared use trail
RELATED: Knox County leaders discuss Chapman Highway safety and improvements
The city will share its improvement plan at three upcoming meetings: Tuesday, Sept. 10, at a TPO Technical Committee meeting in the Small Assembly Room at 9 a.m.; at a Planning Commission Agenda Review Committee meeting in the Small Assembly Room at 11:30 a.m.; and at a City Council dinner in Room 461 at 5 p.m.
The press release said that six city-funded improvement projects have already been finished or are nearing completion.
- Realignment of the Fort Dickerson Park intersection with improvements to signals and pedestrian crossing facilities (completed in 2015 at a cost of $1 million);
- Sidewalk construction on Young High Pike, including pedestrian facility improvements at the intersection with Chapman Highway (completed 2017; $260,000);
- A reconfiguration of the Chapman Highway intersection with Blount Avenue, with sidewalk and crosswalk improvements, part of the Blount Avenue Streetscapes Project (to be completed in fall 2019; $300,000 for signal improvements);
- Signalization improvement for the entire Chapman corridor (project cost estimated at $2 million – currently in the right-of-way acquisition and utility coordination phase);
- Collaboration with the Tennessee Department of Transportation to improve bicycle/pedestrian infrastructure on Chapman Highway by creating 3,200 feet of greenway between Stone Road and Woodlawn Pike and 525 feet of sidewalk from Woodlawn Pike to the existing sidewalk near Young High Pike; this project will also create pedestrian crossings at three intersections (Stone Road, Fronda Lane and Woodlawn Pike) and improve four Knoxville Area Transit bus stops (state grant, $950,000; City funding, $858,000); and
- Completion of a concept plan for bike and pedestrian improvements from Henley Bridge to Lippencott Street.