Foothills Parkway Section 8B Environmental Impact Statement
Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP) and the Federal Highway Administration are preparing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to evaluate Foothills Parkway Section 8B from Pittman Center to Cosby, TN. (An EIS is a report that discloses information obtained from a comprehensive study of potential impacts to the natural and human environments related to federal actions.)
About the Project
The Foothills Parkway is a scenic parkway located in eastern Tennessee along the northern boundary of GSMNP. Of the 72 miles of roadway originally planned for the Foothills Parkway, approximately 23 miles (Sections 8A, 8G, and 8H) have been completed and are open to traffic. An additional 15 miles (Sections 8E and 8F) are under construction. The focus of this project is specifically on Section 8B of the Foothills Parkway, one of the three remaining sections of parkway yet to be constructed. The length of this section is approximately 14 miles.
The purpose of this project is to provide scenic views of the Great Smoky Mountains and provide access to other recreational opportunities along Section 8B of the Foothills Parkway. The planning study will evaluate alternatives and determine appropriate development for this section of the Foothills Parkway.
The need for the Foothills Parkway was initially identified in a 1944 Congressional action, which "authorized the acceptance of donations of land for the construction of a scenic parkway to provide an appropriate view of the GSMNP from the Tennessee side of the park, and for other purposes.…" As envisioned by Congress and confirmed in the Foothills Parkway Master Plan, the 72-mile scenic parkway would provide visitors with views of the Smoky Mountains from a sufficient distance and height to permit full appreciation of their grandeur, extent, and height.
Project-Related Studies and Plans for Section 8B
1968: The Foothills Parkway Master Plan documented the plan for the Foothills Parkway.
1999: The Final Environmental Report, Foothills Parkway Section 8B, evaluated the potential impacts of two basic alternatives: (1) a build alternative with a number of options and (2) a no-build alternative.
2002: The Foothills Parkway Analysis Report evaluated Sections 8B, 8C, and 8D. The study considered the Congressional mandate, the mission of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the regional transportation network, and the gateway communities.
Building Upon Previous Planning Efforts
The Foothills Parkway Section 8B EIS will incorporate and build upon prior planning efforts
and environmental studies related to the Foothills Parkway. This will include reviewing input and
suggestions provided by the public and other interested parties during those previous planning efforts.
The EIS will update previous documentation (e.g., the 1999 Final Environmental Report) by providing information on the current existing conditions of the study area, detailed study
alternatives, and potential impacts resulting from the alternatives carried forward for further analysis.
Environmental Compliance Specialist
NPS, Denver Service Center
Phone: 303-969-2297 Fax: 303-969-2736
Public Affairs Specialist
NPS, Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Phone: 865-436-1207 Fax: 865-436-1204