Traffic congestion is a growing concern as development continues in Hardin Valley, but plans outlined by Knox County and TDOT at a recent public hearing are small, isolated solutions.
Cherahala Boulevard will be extended to connect Coward Mill Road to Hardin Valley Road (+/- 1,500 feet) at a cost of $1 million. Cherahala currently ends in a cul-de-sac on property owned by The Development Corporation of Knox County. Knox County will advertise for bids this year and start work in spring 2021.
A second phase (extending to Solway Road at Horseshoe Bend Lane) will use a combination of state and federal funds, said Jim Snowden, senior director of Engineering and Public Works for Knox County. “Two subdivisions with some 120 new homes have been approved already (for the area).”
Coward Mill Road will be widened from Pellissippi Parkway to Chuck Jones Road (+/- 9,000 feet) at an estimated cost of $4.5 million. The cost will be split between Knox County Engineering and the county school board. The project will include a sidewalk/greenway. In response to a question, Snowden said the walkways are not mandated by the state, but the road falls within the parental responsibility zone for a new school that Knox County will build on Coward Mill Road in 2023. “The road must be finished before the school opens,” said Snowden.
He said right-of-way acquisition would switch between sides of Coward Mill Road with a total of 50 to 60 feet required. He assured questioners that R-O-W would be “on the other side of Coward Mill” at Reagan Road and the Magnolia Pointe subdivision.
During construction, local access will be maintained.
“We have a dangerous situation now and you are making it worse (by building the new school),” a resident said. Snowden said roughly 60% of the students would come from Hardin Valley Elementary, while 40% would come from Karns Elementary.
The project includes a new bridge over Beaver Creek, which Snowden called “a cheaper fix and a better fix” than widening the existing bridge. “We want to cross the railroad at a 90-degree angle and on grade.”
The current projects are part of a mobility plan created by Knox Planning. See the full plan here.