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Outlet Drive extension still in works

Extending Outlet Drive to Campbell Station Road is a project still on the books for Knox County — but it won’t see major construction for a while yet.

“It’s very much on the radar screen,” Knox County Engineering and Public Works interim director Dwight Van de Vate said.

The road project — a collaboration between Knox County and the town of Farragut — would extend Outlet Drive from its current terminus near Cotton Eyed Joe to Snyder Road at Campbell Station.

The road would create another main thoroughfare for drivers wishing to cross town, and would parallel Kingston Pike, Parkside Drive and Interstate 40/75.

Most of the cost and planning for the project is being borne by the County. The proposed road lies within both County and Town borders.

The project was begun about 18 months ago, said engineering and public works deputy director Jim Snowden, and is still in planning stages; the County is still discussing moving utilities and acquiring right-of-way.

“We’ve still got some utility plans to be done, some gas and sewer and water and electric, and pretty much all of the utility services will have to be relocated. We’re in the process of coordinating with those folks,” Snowden said.

“Obviously the right-of-way acquisition and making sure we have clear title to those properties takes a while sometimes,” he added.

The Town is responsible for acquiring right-of-way in properties along the proposed road in Town limits, which amounts to about 75 percent of the total properties.

Snowden said he could not foresee any construction on the project beginning before the summer of 2011.

However, a separate but related project — improvements at the intersection of Lovell Road and Outlet Drive — was opened for bids last week, and Snowden said he expected construction to begin there in early spring.

The intersection will gain a traffic signal and “minor improvements” to the lanes.

The extension of Outlet Drive to Campbell Station will include a three-lane road featuring a center turn lane, a sidewalk on the south side and a greenway trail on the north side.

“The intent there is for the south side, the Interstate side, to have pedestrians and things like that ... and the north side is more for bicycles and mixed use,” Snowden said.

Snowden said he wasn’t sure how extensive any improvements to existing Outlet Drive would be.

“It will be re-striped and it will be resurfaced to a certain point. ... Obviously, if the road is in very bad disrepair, we may do some improvements, but that’s something we really haven’t decided as of yet.

“We’re not going to tie a brand new road into a road that’s in bad shape,” Snowden added.

How extensive those improvements would be would depend largely on the cost of the entire project, he added.


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