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FOOTHILLS PARKWAY

The Foothills Parkway was originally planned as a 71-mile scenic route that passed through Cocke, Sevier and Blount counties in Tennessee. The route was to run parallel to the Tennessee border of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Unfortunately, the Foothills Parkway is now the oldest unfinished highway project in the State. A lack of federal highway funds, environmental issues and engineering problems, including passage over rough terraine and the need to build ten bridges, slowed then halted the project. According to my research, by late 1996 only 1.6 miles remain unfinished. Today there are only three sections of the project that are accessible and being used by motorized vehicles and covers approximately 29.5 miles. Those three sections are a 17-mile stretch beginning off Route 129 at Chilhowee Lake and ends near Walland, TN. Many people who ride this stretch are coming off the Dragon's Tail and are heading for Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge. Another stretch of the Foothills Parkway starts at Exit 442 on Interstate 40 and runs for 7 miles to Route 321 in Cosby. The third is the 5.5-mile stretch between Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. Each stretch has beautiful scenery and all are well worth riding.

Note : The state of Tennessee recently announced plans to complete the 1.6 mile section of the Parkway previously mentioned.

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