Alcoa commission backs finishing I-140

2-27-2003

By JOHN STILES
stiles@knews.com
February 27, 2003

Knoxville News-Sentinel

ALCOA - City commissioners unanimously passed a resolution Wednesday
supporting completion of Interstate 140 after hearing pleas to wait.

The action came after the Blount County Chamber of Commerce Transportation Committee asked Alcoa city officials to confirm their support of the project.

As planned, the highway, also called Pellissippi Parkway, would connect Oak Ridge with U.S. 321 in Blount County.

The highway is completed except for two sections in Blount County.

People opposed to completion of the section between Old Knoxville Highway and U.S. 321 have won an injunction in federal court halting the project until decisions are made on the validity of environmental studies.

Richard Furgerson of Citizens Against Pellissippi Parkway told commissioners any decision now was premature until environmental studies are
concluded.

Alcoa resident Marilyn Wiberley also asked commissioners to wait. She
said it may be two years before the case is decided.

Alcoa City Manager Mark Johnson said the chamber committee has asked
local governments to voice support for the project.

"We have a new governor and commissioner of transportation, and they
have only heard the opposition," he said.

Mayor Don Mull said he had visited the proposed route often and with
the area's growth the highway is badly needed.

Johnson said plans for improvements to heavily traveled Alcoa Highway
are based on the extension being completed.

"Blount County is going to choke itself to death," he said.

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John Stiles may be reached at 865-981-9101.

Copyright 2003, Knoxville News-Sentinel Co.