We can't believe it either, but it's true--the ill-conceived James White Parkway extension that would connect the road from Moody Ave. to the intersection of Chapman Highway and John Sevier Pike is finally, truly dead. We're still working on getting all the details, but here's the gist of what happened:
This morning, the TPO Executive Board, which sets road-building priorities for the region, met. At the meeting the board was discussing its
three four-year funding document. TDOT's Ralph Comer, Assistant Chief of Environment and Planning, was present. He was asked what would happen if the JWP project was removed from the list. He said TDOT would respect the TPO's wishes and remove the project from its list of projects, with the caveat that if the TPO later wanted to build the road, they would be stuck with local funds, because once TDOT pulls support for a project, state funds are no longer available.
According to Bill Lyons, who was at the meeting, Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero made a motion to take the parkway off the list. Comer noted that if the board voted the project down, this would stop it for good--TDOT would cease the environmental impact studies, would not hold the public meetings in October--it would be dead. The board voted to remove the road project.
Does this mean it's dead for good, we asked Lyons. "Yes, I think that's true," he replied.
We've asked TDOT for comment but project spokesperson Mark Nagi is in a meeting and said he didn't know enough to comment yet. He said the agency will be sending out a statement later today. We'll update you with more details when we have them. But you totally have our permission to order a celebratory mimosa at lunch. IT'S DEAD!