The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) is part of a project to construct a highway bypass to help with safety and congestion issues near Rock Island State Park. The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) are partners in the project.
The realignment is scheduled to begin with initial phase route site preparation in the coming 2-6 weeks. The state highway will bypass the historic Great Falls Cotton Mill area when the work is finished. Currently, the mill sits inches away from traffic, including tractor-trailers and other commercial vehicles.
After completion, park visitor access to the mill area will be by a designated park access road. Due to the heavy congestion and overflow parking issues, the project will also provide additional visitor parking opportunities.
The Collins River Trail will have periods of closure as well as potential reroutes during the course of the project. Construction of the bypass is expected to take 12-18 months.
The mill, on property owned by TVA in Warren County, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as one of the few remaining 19th Century textile mills still standing.
Photo by Jay Walker