Foothills Parkway History

The 71-mile Foothills Parkway was first approved by Congress in 1944 and was to stretch from present day I-40 south westerly to Chilhowee Lake at US 129. As is typical with such projects delays due to funding and environmental questions have prevented completion of this route.

Construction began in 1960 with eight sections planned:

8A - US321 to Cosby 5.6 miles. Completed in 1968.

8B - Cosby to Pitman Center 14.1 miles. Construction after 2018.

8C - Pitman Center to US441 9.6 miles. Construction after 2018.

8D - US441 to Wears Valley 9.8 miles. Construction after 2018.

8E - Wears Valley to Carr Creek 9.7 miles. A 1.6 miles piece of this section became known as "The Missing Link" because of environmental difficulties requiring bridges to protect wildlife. Opened in December 2018.

8F - Carr Creek to Walland 6.1 miles. Opened in December 2018.

8G - Walland to Look Rock 10.1 miles. Completed in 1966.

8H - Look Rock to Chilhowee Lake 6.9 miles. Completed in 1966.

The project met funding difficulties in the 1970s. Sections 8E and 8F were begun in 1984 before being halted for a number of years due to erosion into nearby streams. The opening of these two sections took place in December 2018.

Right of way for the remaining Sections 8B and 8C has been obtained by the National Park Service, but construction has not yet begun as of late 2018.