Man hit hardest by Alcoa Hwy. tragedy asking questions

By: Gordon Boyd
By: Gordon Boyd

Blount County (WVLT) A Blount County man says he will work through the grief of losing his wife, by fighting to make the road where she died safer.

We've put a hard on eye on Alcoa Highway since that wreck last week.

Volunteer TV's Gordon Boyd has been asking why some believe the pleas have gone un-heeded.

T-DOT and county highway planners say Alcoa Highway has become the priority since Smart fix 40 got underway.

But that won't make the if's, and the twists easier to fix.

"I miss that woman more than anything in the world, she was my best friend. He grabbed me by the hand, and said Mr. Hull, she didn't make it."

One week and one day, after another car broadsided his and killed wife Patty, as her car tried to cross Alcoa Highway, Dale Hull vows he won't give in to anger.

But he can't get beyond the disbelief.

"People drive that highway 70 miles an hour because of that hill. Something has to be done to prevent any future victims and family members from going through what I've gone through."

T-DOT calls for widening Alcoa to three lanes between Cherokee trail and Pellissippi Parkway, with frontage roads, wider shoulders and concrete medians to bar left turns.

Jeff Welch, the Metro Transportation Planning Director says, "you throw 10 million dollars out there right now, you still couldn't move dirt for several years."

The Metropolitan Planning Commissions Planning Director says budget cuts and shifting priorities have taken their toll .

The first public hearings were ten years ago, the earliest next step, next summer?

Welch continues, "just purchasing the right of way is 10 to 15 million dollars, and construction in the 30 million dollar range and above."

Explaining why, officially, T-DOT has no timetable for starting any work.

Hull says, "I know she wants me to fight for this because she was so afraid of that intersection."

This day, Dale and his friends cross Alcoa Highway to plant a cross in Patty's memory.

Hoping her loss will plant more than seeds for change.

"We've done so much together, we were a team, this is a way for me to become an activist to prevent this from happening."

Transportation Director Jeff Welch talk of short-term remedies.

Stoplights aren't one of them, for fear of creating chain-reaction wrecks from drivers slamming on their brakes.

Dale Hull has but one question: who do i need to talk to, to push this beyond debate and delay?


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