Interstate 475 Tennessee
Designated on some planning documents as SR 475 and initially referred to as the Knoxville Regional Parkway, Knoxville Parkway was the planned outer bypass for Interstate 75 around Knoxville in northeast Tennessee. Announced by TNDOT on July 31, 2002, the 36.5-mile “Orange Route” was selected over the Blue and Green Route alternatives. The Orange Route included 24 miles of new terrain alignment, a six mile section of Interstate 75 and a 7 mile section of Interstate 40. The proposed route connected with I-75 north of the Anderson/Knox County line near mile post 119.1
Source: Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT)
The corridor was first mentioned as a possibility to alleviate growing traffic congestion for the existing highway system in 1977. A study followed in 1994 at the request by the Knoxville Metropolitan Planning Organization for a western belt of Knoxville. The Knoxville Transportation Planning Organization subsequently approved $3.6 million in funds to complete the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and for other preliminary engineering in 2002. Including the possibility of an extension eastward to Sevier County, the estimated cost for the overall project was $287,411,900. Anticipated traffic counts along SR 475 through western and northern Knox County ranged from 16,600 – 56,500 vehicles per day (vpd).1
The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) announced on November 10, 2003, that projects for SR 475 / I-475 and the nearby I-140 extension were advancing. Ensuing work by highway planners included gathering public input on alignment aspects and interchange locations and preliminary design. The final environmental review process continued into 2004 amid growing community opposition.3
An apparent resolution was reached at some point thereafter and in June 2006, TDOT announced that the Hardin Valley (Orange Route) would move forward, with an effort made to spare houses along its path. Costs for building the Orange Route were estimated at $570 million at this time.5
Land acquisition for the four to six lane limited access highway was anticipated for 2008. Interchanges along the route were proposed at Pellissippi Parkway and Clinton Highway. 15 to 20 years of construction was estimated for completion of the route, suggesting the it would be fully opened in 2028.2,5
The community process to determine the final route of SR 475, which was accomplished through TDOT’s Context Sensitive Solutions, was delayed for nearly a year due to disagreement on the citizen advisory panel.4,5 Rising costs and reduced traffic projections ultimately led to the cancellation of SR 475. TDOT subsequently selected the “No Build” option for Orange Route, officially withdrawing Knoxville Parkway on February 25, 2010.6
- Knoxville Beltway – Route 475.
http://www.tdot.state.tn.us/information-office/HotProjects/KnoxvilleBeltway/Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) project web site. Accessed July 31, 2002.
- “Beltway OK’d.” Knoxville News, November 11, 2003.
- “Tennessee Department of Transportation 15 Project Case Study: Project Assessment Final Report State Route 475.”
http://www.tdot.state.tn.us/news/2003/listening/State%20Route%20475%20Knoxville%20Beltway%20(Orange%20Route).pdfCenter for Transportation Research at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee, August 2003
- Lansford, John “Knoxville Orange Line News” Online posting. March 27, 2005. news misc.transport.road.
- “TDOT chief says Orange Route a go.” Knoxville News Sentinel (TN), June 20, 2006/
- “TDOT Selects “No Build” Option on Knoxville Parkway Project.” TN.gov Newsroom, June 25, 2010.
Page updated October 20, 2011.