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The Great Smoky Mountain Journal

Tuesday, January 01, 2019 03:04 PM

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Alcoa Under Pressure By TN Department Of Transportation To Move, Make Way For Improvements To Alcoa Highway

Some neighbors in Alcoa are under pressure to pack after the Tennessee Department of Transportation told them it's time to move and make way for improvements to Alcoa Highway.

Serena Judy is one of those residents, living off South Singleton Station Road. She made the move to Alcoa from North Carolina last November.

She got the notice from her landlord last February that she had to move. "Almost immediately we have to move again," she said.

The state is paving the way for the new Alcoa Highway. Judy said dozens of others are a road block to TDOT's construction.

"Wrong place, wrong time," Judy joked.

Steve Owens lives just up the street. "Obviously if you had known it was going to happen, you wouldn't move into the location," he said.

The Blount County native said he was trying to find a new home nearby so his son could continue tenth grade at the same high school. But so far, he said he's having trouble finding anything.

TDOT said it hopes to cut down on the overcrowded highway and prevent deadly crashes.

The new bypass connects Knoxville to McGhee Tyson Airport. It is expected to start at Hall Road and go through to South Singleton Station.

State officials said they're offering market value to homes in the way. Renters will get moving expenses and help finding a new place to live. The state also agreed to pay any rent more expensive than what residents were already paying.

"Yeah, it makes up a little bit for the loss," Owens said.

Construction has already started on parts of Alcoa Highway to widen it to three lanes on each side.