Who Benefits from a County Commissioner(s) Pushing for a New Knoxville Bypass? Road Builders?

When elected officials can not stay in their lane! Last night Knox County Commissioner “seat 10” not Kim Frazier who is at large Commissioner Seat 11 presented a resolution asking the state for a bypass to relieve over crowded interstate traffic coming through Knoxville.

Let’s revisit history, cause I’ve been here longer (1973) than “seat 10” and I don’t forget much. The Orange Route, back when Hardin Valley was all open farm land. Here on June 25, 2010 TDOT Commissioner Gerald Nicely read last rites to the Orange Route.

The Orange Route was a Knoxville bypass to connect I-75 North to I-75 South and I-40 West. It was supported by road builders, because that is who gets enriched with new roads. It is for reducing congestion they say, just as School Boarders say it is about the children. NO…. it is about selling more road building trucks and equipment and keeping their clients the road construction buddies in work. Is it surprise that a Commissioner is proposing this just as Alcoa Highway is about done? Not in my opinion, it is not.

Just look at campaign financial disclosures and look at the candidates and officials that receive maxed out contribution dollars from the road building friendly folks. Heck candidates and elected officials should just go ahead and have a Campaign Treasurer who is road builder friendly.

If there was a true renewed interest to move traffic off the Knoxville interstate. How about re-visiting of expanding the James White Parkway to move the traffic to the Sevier County hotspots of Sevierville, Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountain National Park? Nope they won’t do that.

By the way, I have my annual parking pass for the National Park! If you don’t have one, you can not stop and park in the National Park for more than 15 minutes beginning March 1, 2023.

So, this county commission resolution just seems like political posturing by seat 10 Commissioner or eleven (the ones that sign on). They have not been working on it for days, months and years. BUT, Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs has. I contacted the Mayor about this proposal and all his work since September 1, 2018. He said to me, “We all know that congestion on I-40/I-75 is a major issue. A number of months ago, I introduced, and the Transportation Planning Organization passed, a resolution requesting TDOT look at this issue and implement solutions. I’m happy to see Commission add their voice to this effort and, as I stated at Commission last night, hope that they broaden the language to include all possible congestion mitigation proposals.” Will Commission broaden the language? If they are just political posturing for the road builders, probably NOT! We will see.

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