Alcoa Highway Dangers

By: Gordon Boyd Email
By: Gordon Boyd Email

She was only 42 years old, headed to work on a special errand.
But today, her family laid her to rest.
She's the latest victim to die on the road some know by the gruesome nickname, "I'll Kill Ya Highway."

Volunteer TV's Gordon Boyd tells us it's raising calls to make Alcoa Highway safer.

It's a state that most everyone admits has become too well-traveled.
It's tough for police, across two counties.
There are plenty of side roads and curb cuts to get on and off.
But few of them are safe.

Alcoa Highway Business Owner Julian McKinley says, "I have set right over there in that median, from five to eight minutes, just trying to get across that highway."

In the nearly 40 years Julian McKinley's sold mowers
and garden tractors along the stretch of Alcoa Highway.

"Too many things to look out for you, somebody cutting
across in front of you, somebody making a u-turn in front of you. " McKinley says.

Traffic has grown beyond dangerous: "There's a major wreck there all the time. I'd say two or three a week major, and some are fatal."

Tuesday morning, 42-year-old Patrizia Hull died, when a another car hit hers, as she tried to turn left into Alcoa Highways Southbound lanes.

Alcoa Police Captain Rick Arnold says, "It did appear that she was trying to cross the northbound traffic lanes."

Last September, nearly the same spot--three people, killed
when their pickup tried to cross --right in front of
a garbage truck, and it blew up and burned.

T-Dot says its engineers aren't available to talk on camera, UT plans are coming together.
Not for a fix, but a virtual re-working.

Four projects, widening to three lanes both ways between Pellissippi Parkway and Cherokee Trail.
Making left turns across traffic impossible thanks to concrete barrier medians and frontage roads.

McKinley says, "They might as well forget about businesses on this highway."

McKinley says he'd sell out, for the right price. But cutting the access, wouldn't stop the speeders: "A few red lights would slow that traffic down."

Captain Arnold says, "You'd have some massive backups. Again, I would have to refer you back to TDOT, and some of the studies they do."

55 thousand cars and trucks take Alcoa Highway every day.
So many, T-DOT says stoplights wouldn't make any sense.
But no remedy's designed yet---nothing beyond study.

McKinley says, "You' think anything'll get done. Ah, well.
They're gonna have to do it."

TDOT's first hearings on Alcoa Highway are set for next summer.
Decisions, funding, building are all well beyond that.
Patty Hull leaves behind a son, daughter, granddaughter, two brothers, parents and a grandmother.
As well as a husband, Dale, who says he's lost his baby and best friend.


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