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U.S. 412 (Corridor 8)

About U.S. 412

U.S. 412 is one of the new "Four Hundred (4xx) Series" U.S. Routes. These routes (U.S. 400, 412, and 425) were designated in the 1980s and 1990s, and they do not properly fit into the numbering scheme. In the case of U.S. 412, its route comes does not come within 500 miles of its "parent," U.S. 12.

Originally, in the early 1980s, U.S. 412 was designated to go from Hoxie, Arkansas, east to Nashville, Tennessee. Its eastern terminus was changed early, however, when it was routed to Jackson instead of Nashville. In the mid to late 1980s, U.S. 412 was extended east through Columbia, Tennessee, to end at Interstate 65. Then, around 1989, U.S. 412 was extended from Hoxie (which could be a future northern end of Interstate 555 if it is extended northwest out of Jonesboro) through Springdale and Tulsa to Woodward, Oklahoma. Around 1995, U.S. 412 was again extended through the Oklahoma panhandle via Okla. 3 and U.S. 56 to end at Interstate 25 in Springer, New Mexico.

U.S. 412 and High Priority Corridor 8

According to the ISTEA/NHS/TEA-21 Legislation, the U.S. 412 Corridor from Tulsa east to Jackson and Nashville is a high priority. It is unclear if this route will someday be upgraded to an Interstate highway, but money is being spent to upgrade the roadway in several places. The Interstate-compatible portions of this route are:

  • The Cherokee Turnpike (near Chouteau, Okla.)
  • Interstate 155 (across the Mississippi River)

The rest of the route is mostly two- to four-lane, with mountainous terrain through north-central Arkansas. The high priority corridor does not extend west of Tulsa, and this is because the highway is already in reasonably good shape. U.S. 412 is already freeway-grade along the Cimarron Turnpike all the way to Interstate 35. Although original plans have never included any extension of the Cimarron Turnpike to the west of Interstate 35, U.S. 412 from Interstate 35 through Enid is a nice four-lane highway with at-grade intersections at minor roads and interchanges at major intersections. The traffic west of Enid through Woodward to Boise City does not justify any sort of four-laning, but Oklahoma has spent millions on adding passing lanes, shoulders, and wider bridges.

Some reports indicate that U.S. 412 and/or U.S. 400 (see the Trans America Corridor) may be the next transcontinental freeway corridor, but that seems very unlikely. It is very costly, and it is not clear if the need for such a highway exists.

U.S. 412 in Tennessee

The four-lane section of U.S. 412 between Dyersburg and Jackson, completed in 1997, has partially controlled access -- it is like an "expressway." The road has exits at each intersection with another state highway and at-grade intersections with all other local roads. This highway also got a 65 mph speed limit when the national speed limit was repealed. Tennessee still doesn't have a 70 mph limit on rural freeways, but they extended 65 mph zones further into urban areas and gave certain 4-lane divided highways with partial or no control of access a 65 mph limit.

William S. "Billy" Riddle IV writes, "I would like to see all of U.S. 412 become a freeway. It would certainly benefit Columbia, Hohenwald, Linden, Parsons, Lexington, and Jackson. The second, third, and fourth towns that I've mentioned are not within ten miles of a modern four-lane freeway, and those towns are suffering as a result. A freeway would help greatly, and if it were extended eastward to Murfreesboro, it would create a good east-west route for ever-expanding Columbia and create yet another shortcut between Memphis and Chattanooga that would bypass Nashville."

In 1999, Billy provided me with an update to the U.S. 412 corridor in Tennessee. In West Tennessee, contracts are up for bids to widen U.S. 412 from near Jackson to Lexington. Apparently, 412 will follow Interstate 40 east out of Jackson to Exit 93 (Tennessee State Route 152, Law Road). The short section of Tennessee State Route 152 south of Interstate 40 and the stretch of U.S. 412 from Tennessee State Route 152 to Lexington will likely be improved to four lanes with a grass median. I suppose the section of U.S. 412 from U.S. 70 east of Jackson to Tennessee State Route 152 will be downgraded to a state highway, possibly reverting to its original numbering of Tennessee State Route 20.

In Middle Tennessee, folks in Lewis County are begging TDOT to begin construction to widen U.S. 412 from Hohenwald to Columbia. This is a high-accident route which many Lewis Countians use every day to commute to Maury, Williamson, and even Davidson Counties (Four of Billy's colleagues at work are Lewis Countians themselves). According to the mileage chart in this map, it's 73 miles from Hohenwald to Nashville! Also, articles in The Tennessean have discussed how Hohenwald and Lewis County residents blame their local governments for the lack of industry, and they, in turn, blame the state for the lack of infrastructure needed to attract industry. Anyway, I believe a couple of contracts were recently put up for bidding to begin these long-awaited improvements.

I've heard nothing specific about widening U.S. 412 between Lexington and Hohenwald, but I believe that is TDOT's long-range goal. I wish they'd also think about extending it from Columbia to Murfreesboro, but I suppose Tennessee State Route 840 will serve that purpose.

As far as Tennessee State Route 840 is concerned, the next section of it that will open will be from U.S. 31A/41A at Triune to Interstate 24 at Murfreesboro. Once it opens, construction will begin for an interchange at Burnt Knob Road in the Blackman community west of Murfreesboro, which they expect to be the next hot spot for residential growth. New elementary and high schools are also planned for this area. Also, construction will start soon on a Mona Road interchange on the already open section of Tennessee State Route 840 in northern Rutherford County that will serve the new NASCAR super-speedway that just broke ground and is being constructed by Dover Downs.

Construction is progressing on Tennessee State Route 840 from Interstate 65 near Spring Hill to Triune (construction begain about a year ago), and from Interstate 40 near Dickson to Tennessee State Route 100 west of Fairview (the section near my house, construction started this past spring). The section from Tennessee State Route 100 to Interstate 65 currently has a federal court injunction against it made by the Stop 840 association. I don't think this group is going to win their battle since the state is not obtaining any federal support to build 840 (hence it's Tennessee 840 designation instead of Interstate 840), so there is no argument that could be made on a federal level against the road, and no state or county court will hear them out either.

U.S. 412 in Arkansas

Currently, the state of Arkansas is in the process of widening and improving the U.S. 412 corridor throughout the northern tier of the state. The route is already four-laned near Fayetteville. An EIS has been relased for the Springdale bypass, which calls for a freeway-grade facility on new alignment with a direct connection to the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport.

On December 21, 2000, David Backlin wrote an update of the upgrade/construction progress along U.S. 412 through the northern tier of Arkansas:

From just east of Siloam Springs to Washington County 58 just west of Tontitown, U.S. 412 is four-lane partially controlled access. From Tontitown to U.S. 71B in Springdale it's five lanes. From U.S. 71B east to near the Springdale city limits, it's also five lanes.

Work is continuing to upgrade U.S. 412 from AR 265S in Springdale to just east of Nob Hill. A four-lane partially controlled access section was opened May 2000 from WC 399 east of Sonora to WC 391 just east of Nob Hill (including two new bridges over Beaver Lake)... a distance of approximately three miles.

Work continues on a five-lane section of U.S. 412 from AR 265S in Springdale to just Washington County 399 east of Sonora... a distance of approximately six miles. Completion was originally scheduled for late this year, but has been delayed.

Discussion recently began on a U.S. 412 bypass around Springdale. Preliminary plans call for it to pass north of Springdale. From east of Springdale to east of Sonora, the two new westbound lanes of U.S. 412 are open to two-way traffic, while the old two-way lanes are now closed for reconstruction and conversion to eastbound lanes.

There is a 4.5- to five-mile section of U.S. 62-412 from just east of Alpena to a mile west of U.S. 65 that is four-lane divided, partially controlled access. This mostly follows the original alignment of U.S. 62 with a new alignment from Lick Branch Road to Blueberry Road, eliminating several sharp curves and a narrow bridge.

No work has begun near Marble, where it appears that the bridge over Onion Creek will finally be replaced (it washed out a couple years ago) as apparently will the Kings River Bridge. Based upon sign placement, the work zone will be about a mile long which could mean U.S. 412 will be widened through Marble. It's not clear if it will be four lanes here or not.

East of Alpena, the four-lane divided section of U.S. 62/412 has finally been completed. The old alignment between Alpena and Lick Branch Creek has been resurfaced and converted to two eastbound lanes. East of Lick Branch, the old alignment is now the westbound lanes. The short section of U.S. 62/412 that was bypassed at Lick Branch is now part of AR 392. The four-lane ends less than a mile from the U.S. 65 junction.

Other enhancements of this nature are planned for U.S. 412 east of U.S. 65. Already completed improvements include the bypasses around Cotter and Mountain Home.

U.S. 412 in Oklahoma

U.S. 412 is Interstate standard from its junction with Interstate 35 north of Perry via the Cimarron Turnpike, U.S. 64, and Interstate 244 through Tulsa to Catoosa at its junction with Interstate 44. East of Tulsa, U.S. 412 is partially Interstate standard and partially expressway standard. Originally part of Oklahoma 33, U.S. 412 was upgraded from a two-lane highway to a four-lane divided highway.

Regarding the section of U.S. 412 from Tulsa east to West Siloam Springs, Mark Adkinson writes, "I used to drive old Oklahoma 33 many times to go to the Tulsa/Arkansas football games in Fayetteville, and I can attest to its deplorable condition. There used to be numerous bad car accidents along this stretch of highway." In fact, Mark even had one of the famous "I Drove 33 and Survived" bumper stickers on his car. Through the 1990s, U.S. 412 was upgraded to Interstate standards along the Cherokee Turnpike, and the rest of the highway has some access control as a divided highway.

Due to the efforts of Tulsa and Fayetteville civic leaders (especially Dan P. Holmes from Tulsa), Oklahoma 33/U.S. 412 was four-laned from Tulsa to Springdale, Arkansas. When then-Governor Henry Bellmon proposed a turnpike package in the late 1980s, the eastern politicians ensured the remaining stretch of Oklahoma 33/U.S. 412 to Chouteau was included for a turnpike.

U.S. 412 from Catoosa to east of Chouteau could be upgraded to Interstate with little trouble. The major intersections are all interchanges (Oklahoma 88, U.S. 69). Arkansas has finished their upgrade of U.S. 412 all the way to Interstate 540/U.S. 71 in Springdale. The only remaining issue is Siloam Springs, and bypassing that urban area would prove costly. However, U.S. 412 is five lanes through this area, and the urban stretch is only for three miles (thanks to Charles Stacy Richardson for additional information on U.S. 412).

Page Updated May 17, 2003.