About 50 residents living near or along Canton Hollow Road turned out to a public meeting to hear more about the $7 million project to improve that road.
Knox County Engineering and Public Works held the meeting Tuesday, July 18, in Farragut High School.
“I was curious about some changes in the visibility on Canton Hollow Road,” said David Graham, a Lovell Hills subdivision resident. “I drive it every day and I’m anxious about what they have in store for us.”
Cindy Pionke, Knox County director of Planning and Development, said the purpose of the meeting was to get more useful information from the public.
“We did have a very good turnout, so I was very happy about that,” she said.
“I’ve had pretty good comments, more positive than negative,” said Jim Snowden, Knox County Engineering and Public Works director. “There are two homes, which the road will get close to, that will be most affected. They could be moved but that would be a last resort. We don’t want to do that either.” The project’s design work should be completed by the end of 2017, Pionke said. Then, the county will acquire right-of-way easements in 2018 and start construction in spring 2019.
“I think it’s good people who live on Canton Hollow Road are here,” said Knox County Commissioner John Schoonmaker, who serves the 5th District that includes Farragut and Concord.
Schoonmaker said one feature of the project is the road will be shifting to the west past the shopping center where Gold’s Gym is located, so the project will not take property from homeowners on the east side of Canton Hollow Road who have lands with privacy fences and greenery buffers. At the same time, the project still will address the safety issue.
A number of attendees at the meeting agreed the road is too dangerous as it is.
“I don’t drive Canton Hollow Road because it’s listed as the most dangerous road in Knox County,” Ron Williams, a Farragut alderman, said. “You’ve got to find another road to drive, but this [project] will be the best two miles of road they’ve ever fixed in Knox County.”
“We put money into last year’s budget [for the project] — $700,000 for the engineering drawing,” Schoonmaker said. “This year, we are putting $3
million and next year we will put $3 million.”
He expects the project will start in 2018.
“Right now, it looks like there will not be any interruptions in traffic,” he added.
“I think it’s a good thing to have a road improvement project,” Lisa Plawchan said. “People drive way too fast on this road.
“I like the sidewalks and the greenways,” she added. “I have
kids and they would like the greenways. We need a more walkable community.”
The feedback Pionke has received, she said, is “most folks are happy about the project.
“Their biggest concerns are traffic during construction and people cutting through subdivisions and how much property is being impacted,” she added.
“The only way I can see them doing this [construction] is to close one lane down while they work on the other. That will be bad,” Canton Hollow resident Linda Caldwell said.
“I guess when it gets done, it will be fine, but we already have terrible traffic,” she added.
Jim Johnson, who lives at the intersection of Canton Hollow and Woody Road, agreed there is a lot of traffic on Canton Hollow Road but added, “That’s progress.”
“After four years, [Canton Hollow Road] will be wonderful, but it will be tough just living through [the construction] day by day, and if there’s an accident, there will be real congestion,” Mary Crowell, a Biltmore Forest subdivision resident, said.
“[The road improvement] is well overdue,” John Randle, president of nearby Lovell Hills Homeowners Association, said. He said he came to the meeting because he is concerned about traffic cutting through his subdivision.
“Our streets are bad as it is,” Randle said then added, “But, it’s something that needs to be done. I hope they don’t run out of money.”