Smoak replies to TDOT’s 10-Year Plan Campbell snub

Town of Farragut officials apparently were caught off guard when learning Tennessee Department of Transportation’s 10-Year Plan, released recently, did not include the Interstate 40/75 Campbell Station Interchange reconstruction, thought to be a vital step toward improvement of Town traffic flow along North Campbell Station Road, in addition to improved Interstate flow.

David Smoak, Town administrator, released a statement apparently representing Town of Farragut’s position on TDOT’s decision:

“The Town signed a contract with TDOT in February 2023 for the construction of the new interchange at Campbell Station Road,” Smoak stated in the release. “The Town was responsible for $8.75 (million) of the estimated $50 (million) cost of construction. We paid $500k in (fiscal year) ’23 and had $2,062,500 budgeted to go toward the project in FY ’24.

“Seven road projects received special appropriations from the state in early 2022, and all of them are moving forward except for the improvement of the Campbell Station Road interchange,” he further stated. “Improvements to the Watt Road interchange are still on the list, even though that interchange has 13,624 daily trips and Exit 373 at Campbell Station Road has 53,730 daily trips (according to 2022 TPO traffic counts on KGIS).

“TDOT claims that our project was removed from the 10-Year Plan due to rising costs, but all of these projects are also over budget.”

Going back in time, “the interchange at Campbell Station Road was built in 1962,” Smoak stated in the release.

“This area was primarily rural at the time, but it is now home to Turkey Creek Shopping Center, the primary economic generator for West Knox County, as well as a community of 25,000-plus residents.

“Farragut was not notified that the interchange project had been removed from TDOT’s 10-year plan until it was published,” he added. “Our Congressional delegation, state representatives, Mayor (Ron) Williams and Town staff met with TDOT Region 1 director Steve Borden to express our concerns about this project being omitted. There is no doubt that the project has been removed from the 10-Year Plan.

“This project is important to our region and our community and it needs to happen sooner rather than later. We will continue to work with our state and federal representatives and TDOT staff to get the Farragut interchange back on TDOT’s 10-Year Plan as soon as possible.”

Although farragutpress reached out to Williams for comment, Town spokesperson Wendy Smith stated he is “unlikely to comment.”

TDOT response

Mark Nagi, TDOT Regional Communications Officer for Region 1 (East Tennessee), responded concerning the omission of Campbell Station Interchange:

“This is the first time the state has released a fiscally constrained project-specific plan. We are committing to ‘what gets started, gets finished.’ For years, projects would linger awaiting funding for subsequent phases. This 10-year fiscally constrained plan focuses efforts on what can be effectively delivered by TDOT within conservatively projected available revenue.

“Three important aspects were considered in the development of this plan and the prioritization process by which it was created: performance, delivery and cost.

“The plan is a road map that will be reevaluated annually to consider the changing needs of our people, economy and infrastructure. It permits a long-term investment strategy that will inform TDOT’s annual budget proposal to the General Assembly for consideration.

 “Which leads me to the traffic study. … TDOT recognizes projects that did not make the 10-Year Plan are important and necessary to the state’s infrastructure. The backlog of needed infrastructure improvements across Tennessee is roughly $30 billion in today’s dollars, far exceeding available funding.

“TDOT leadership had to make difficult decisions using available and anticipated funds, piecing together the best use of funds to support needs across the state. If more funds become available, or construction concepts are amended, we can and will update the plan.

 “TDOT has not canceled the Campbell Station Road project and we are actively working with state and local leaders on a solution for the entire corridor where I-40 and I-75 are joined, which includes Campbell Station Road.

“The $500,000 installment paid to us in April 2023 is still dedicated for the project. We are continuously looking for ways to fit more projects into the 10-Year Plan.

“This is an ongoing process, and we anticipate having more to share in the upcoming months,” Nagi concluded.