TDOT Considers Alternatives
When Tennessee transportation officials first began proposing improvements to roadways along Corridor K, which runs through the mountains between Chattanooga and Asheville, the only options on the table were new interstate-size highways—including a proposal to cut four lanes of asphalt through the Cherokee National Forest near the Ocoee Gorge. But now, as an environmental review of the project gets under way, the Tennessee Department of Transportation is willing to consider low-impact and cost-effective alternatives we have advocated. SELC and our partners in the WaysSouth coalition favor upgrades to the existing two-lane highway, U.S. 64, along its current footprint. New turning lanes, passing lanes, and pull-over lanes at key locations, for example, could improve safety and drivability while avoiding damage to bear habitat, mountain streams, and scenic vistas.