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The Northshore Drive Pedestrian Safety Project is now in phase three

There are four phases of the greenway project and Knox County leaders said phase three will be complete by winter.

KNOX COUNTY, Tenn. — Now in phase three, the Northshore Drive Pedestrian safety project is still underway. In this phase, the boardwalks are being built under the bridges on Northshore Drive. They're meant to offer a safe way to cross the busy street and serve as a key greenway and trail connector. 

The boardwalks are located near Cove Park. Of the project's four phases, two are completed and phase three is expected to be completed by winter 2022.

Knox County Commissioner Larsen Jay, who spearheaded this project, said it will help families get around safely and effectively without needing to travel by car.

"We have a really small and really narrow dangerous road. The combination of that with as many people who use the park is just a recipe for disaster," Jay said. "I was driving along Northshore Drive and saw a family in the ditch with scooters and bags trying to get to the park. It was clear with such a narrow road that there was really no way to get there."

The Northshore Greenway Project's purpose, Jay said, is to connect the 20,000 people who live in the area to the park systems in a safe way.

"It's a safe access point for so many people to enjoy the park system and a way not for them to have to get into the car to come right out of their neighborhood and get right into the park systems," Jay said. 

According to a Knox County traffic study, on average, more than 11,000 vehicles pass through Northshore Drive each day at speeds above 50 miles per hour. 

"There was a significant amount of crash data that showed this was a good project," said Jay.

That's because it aims to get pedestrians off the road while keeping the traffic flowing.

"We really will save lives with this project and we will have an opportunity to open up a whole new corridor of recreation for people," Jay said. "If you want to go to the restaurant or to go down to the marina or to the yacht club or to the baseball fields. You can connect to recreation and business and never have to get in your car."

For neighbors like Drake Combs, that's good news.

"I am a big outdoors guy, I love to go hiking and walk," Combs said. "I would walk everywhere if I could, that'd be amazing."

When all is said and done the project with cost Knox County about $2 million. They're expecting to finish the pedestrian boardwalk by winter and the entire project in 2023. 

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