Bypass lane addition to Northshore- Concord Road roundabout pondered

Adding a bypass lane alongside eastbound Northshore Drive at the Northshore-Concord Road roundabout is being considered as an option to help alleviate one of Knox County’s traffic issues.

“We’re going to do a Choto-Peninsula mobility study that County Commission approved this week (Monday, June 24),” said Jim Snowden, chief engineer with Knox County Engineering and Public Works. “We have identified that project — one that we think needs to be done — but we, obviously, want to take that to the community, get some input.

“But, yes, it is a project we would like to do that we think would bring a lot of benefit and capacity, especially for that traffic trying to get out of the peninsula, going east toward Knoxville on Northshore Drive,” he added.

Currently, “everyone’s trying to get through the roundabout … to get to Pellissippi Parkway,” Snowden said. “There’s a heavy, heavy movement continuing east on Northshore Drive. If you are going eastbound, everybody’s got to go through the roundabout.”

For people going east, he said the traffic backs up almost to the The Cove at Concord Park.

“What we have identified is what’s called a bypass lane,” Snowden said. “The county owns that property to the south of the intersection, which is TVA property, from when the lake was constructed.”

Snowden said his department proposes creating a lane for people simply wanting to continue east on Northshore Drive past Concord Road toward Pellissippi Parkway.

“You never enter the roundabout,” Snowden said. “You go around it to the south and then merge into traffic further up there, closer to where the bridge is. So, that way, we can really get a lot more capacity into the roundabout and around the roundabout.”

Snowden added he thinks the proposal would be possible at a very low cost.

Concerning potential costs, he said, “the good thing is there is no right-of-way and the construction would be very minimal.

“We haven’t developed a full-cost estimate, but it would be something that we would anticipate probably costing somewhere in the neighborhood of less than $1 million, which in the grand scheme of roadwork is very, very, very small,” he added.

Snowden also noted funding for the project would come from the county’s bonded capital road project budget.

“We would like to identify it as part of this upcoming study and potentially even get it slated for funding starting next fiscal year,” he said.

If approved, he anticipates “we could possibly get started on it either late ’25 or early ’26 because it’s a relatively small project in the scheme of design and implementation, so it wouldn’t be a very long, drawn-out process … we wouldn’t have to acquire the right-of-way, which saves tons of time.”