Public Input Sought on Washington Pike Improvements

Communications Director

Kristin Farley
[email protected]
(865) 215-2589

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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Public Input Sought on Washington Pike Improvements

Posted: 09/16/2021
A Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021 public meeting has been set to discuss an estimated $17 million project to improve traffic flow and safety along the Washington Pike corridor inside the northeastern City limits, between Interstate 640 and Murphy Road. The proposed design also provides wide bicycle and pedestrian paths.
The problems are simple and obvious: Overworked intersections and a lack of turn lanes. And too many accidents – one every four days at Washington Pike and Lifespring Lane.

The solution? Much more complex.

“Our aim is to redesign the pike in a way that best helps a variety of users – the residents who live in that immediate area, the nearby businesses, the through commuters, and the people who want a safe pedestrian and bicycle route,” City Engineering Director Harold Cannon said.

“First and foremost, we’re committed to listening to what the community tells us. That’s why, at this Sept. 22 public forum, we’ll be going over the most recent proposed design changes, which were made based on feedback from a Jan. 20 meeting with Alice Bell / Spring Hill neighborhood leaders and feedback from a May 19 public meeting at New Harvest Park. We want to hear what people think of the changes.”

The Wednesday, Sept. 22 meeting will begin at 6 p.m. at New Harvest Park. Pandemic safety protocols will be observed.

The proposed design fluctuates the width of the road and number of lanes based on a blend of traffic counts, crash data and engineering best practices. 

Washington Pike would remain five lanes on the western end of the project area, where Greenway Drive ties in near the Target store. The pike would narrow to three lanes by New Harvest Lane, then expand back to five lanes, including a turn lane, at Steeple Shadow Way and Babelay Road and continue on in that configuration to the City limits at Murphy Road. There, turn lanes would carry traffic onto Murphy or Pullman roads, and Washington Pike to the east would continue in its current two lanes.

Along the project corridor, two 10-foot multi-use pedestrian and bicycle paths would be built, and they would connect to existing parks and greenways.

The most accident-prone intersection, at what’s now Washington Pike and Lifespring Lane, would be reconstructed to improve safety.

Once the plan is finalized and right-of-way acquired, work would begin in early 2024. The City’s goal is to have the project completed by the end of 2026 or mid-2027.