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Tennessee 71 - James White Parkway

Tennessee 71 extends James White Parkway southeast from SR 158 across the Tennessee River to Moody Avenue. Originally named South Knox Boulevard, the Tennessee 71 freeway utilizes the 1983-completed South Knoxville bridge.1 Plans for the bridge go back to 1964 with a connection to Interstate 40 at Cherry Street planned, but later moved west to the current junction.2

South Knoxville bridge was locally used until the connection with SR 158 was completed. Work in 1989 widened Moody Avenue from U.S. 441 (Chapman Highway) to Woodlawn Pike in an effort to move more traffic to the bridge from the Henley and Gay Street Bridges to the west.1 A 1.1-mile stretch of expressway between Moody Avenue and the span was completed in 1993.2 Work on the extension southward to Chapman Highway near Dick Ford Lane and Little Switzerland Road was shelved in 2003. The $44-million extension was to include interchanges with Red Bud Drive and Island Home Pike. New studies on the extension in 2004 and 2005 recommended a reroute of the parkway to Gov. John Sevier Highway, elimination of the proposed Red Bud Road interchange, and the start of a new Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the new proposed alignment.4

Work on an new Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) underway in 2011 focuses on four potential routes to extend James White Parkway south of its current stub end at Moody Avenue. If an EIS is approved, funding for any construction may not be available until 2017 or 2019.3

Tennessee 71 Highway Guide

Tennessee 71 north
Sevier Avenue travels north from Sevierville Pike to pass under Tennessee 71 ahead of the diamond interchange with Anita Drive. Anita Drive connects James White Parkway with Hillwood Avenue and Island Home to the east and Sevier Avenue west to the Gay Street bridge and Blount Avenue. Photo taken 10/15/11.
Tennessee 71 (James White Parkway) spans the Tennessee River ahead of a diamond interchange with Riverside Drive and Historic Preservation Drive west to Hill Avenue, Hall of Fame Drive and Tennessee 158 (Neyland Drive) west to downtown Knoxville. Photo taken 10/15/11.
Tennessee 71 north defaults onto Tennessee 158 east to continue James White Parkway north to Interstate 40. Historic Preservation Drive comprises a westbound side frontage road from Riverside Drive to the Tennessee 158 on-ramp. Photo taken 10/15/11.
Tennessee 71 south
The beginning of Tennessee 71 eastbound (James White Parkway) at the Church Avenue Bridge. Departing to the right are the westbound lanes of Tennessee 158 to Neyland Drive.
Originally built in 1926, the Church Avenue bridge was replaced during the SmartFIX40 project when James White Parkway was completely closed to traffic. Demolition of the old span was completed by December 2006 and its replacement opened on September 11, 2007. In addition to two lanes of traffic, the bridge accommodates 31 metered parking spaces, two seven foot sidewalks and a bicycle path.5 Photo taken 08/23/03. Second photo taken 10/15/11.
Turning eastward under the ramp from TN-71 north to TN-158 west, motorists bound for the Civic Coliseum, Blount Mansion and James White Fort are directed onto the forthcoming Hill Avenue off-ramp. Photo taken 10/15/11.
Tennessee 71 travels below grade by the National Women's Basketball Hall of Fame. An auxiliary lane joins the freeway from TN-158 east through to Hill Avenue and George Dempster Drive. Photo taken 10/15/11.
The eastbound off-ramp from Tennessee 71 (James White Parkway) forms the beginning of parallel George Dempster Drive leading east to Riverside Drive. Hill Avenue travels from downtown over a high viaduct above Tennessee 158 to become Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue north at Summit Hill Drive. The road continues to Park City. Photo taken 10/15/11.

George Dempster Drive splits with an on-ramp to James White Parkway east ahead of its intersection with Riverside Drive. Riverside Drive ventures east from TN-71 to Delrose Drive and Marble Hill. Photo taken 08/23/03.
Turning south to span the Tennessee River, Tennessee 71 next meets Anita Drive, a four-lane connection with Sevier Avenue to the west and Hillwood Drive to the east at South Knoxville. Photo taken 10/15/11.
Sevier Avenue heads east from Blount Avenue and the Gay Street bridge to meet Anita Drive, west of the Tennessee 71 diamond interchange. Hillwood Avenue ties into Anita Drive from Island Home to the east. Photo taken 10/15/11.
Tennessee 71 currently ends at a half-diamond interchange with Sevierville Pike. While an extension of James White Parkway remains in limbo due to funding and environmental related issues, an overpass is already in place for Sevierville Pike should the freeway be extended. Photo taken 10/15/11.
The ultimate goal of extending James White Parkway is to provide an alternate route to U.S. 441 and the Henley Street Bridge. Presently drivers must take Sevierville Pike west to Moody Avenue to make the connection, but that will change if Tennessee 71 is completed. Sevierville Pike east otherwise continues to Lake Forest and Tennessee 168 (Governor John Sevier Highway). Photo taken 10/15/11.

Sources:

  1. "NEW SOUTH KNOX ROAD MEANS EASIER BRIDGE ACCESS." Knoxville News-Sentinel, November 28, 1990.
  2. "TDOT to look at shelving projects - Pellissippi Extension, South Knox road, Beltway debated." Knoxville News-Sentinel, November 9, 2003.
  3. "Planning resumes for proposed parkway extension." Knoxville News Sentinel, March 26, 2007.
  4. "JAMES WHITE PARKWAY INCHES AHEAD - S. Knox link gets study - With geographic survey, state takes next step, but construction years away." Knoxville News Sentinel, April 20, 2011.
  5. "New Church Avenue Bridge Opens." Tennessee Government press release, September 11, 2007.
Photo Credits:
    2003-08-23 by AARoads and Justin Cozart. 2011-10-15 by Carter Buchanan.

Connect with:
Tennessee 158 - James White Parkway

Page Updated 02-17-2012.

 
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