Jake Thomas ConnectorSevier County
The Jake Thomas Connector will be a 2-mile road that connects the existing Jake Thomas Boulevard to Veterans Boulevard in Pigeon Forge. This project will consist of the grading, drainage, construction of bridges and retaining walls, signals and paving on the Jake Thomas Connector from US 321/US 441 (State Route 71/State Route 73) to State Route 449 in Pigeon Forge.
The Jake Thomas Connector will serve as a direct connection between the Pigeon Forge Parkway and Veterans Boulevard. This connector will give travelers and tourists a more direct route from shopping and entertainment on SR 71/SR 73 to Dollywood and its resorts on SR 449.
Current Status: Curb and gutter, storm drainage, and water lines throughout the project are being installed. Both bridges have been poured and TDOT’s contractor is working on parapet walls. The contractor is also working on establishing vegetation throughout the project.
Construction start: April 2022
Estimated completion*: May 2024
History and Background
The Jake Thomas Connector project begins at the intersection of Jake Thomas Boulevard and Teaster Lane. From the Teaster Lane intersection to the entrance to the Ripken Experience, Jake Thomas Boulevard is a five-lane road with three lanes heading towards SR 71/SR 73 and two heading towards SR 449. From the Ripken Experience on, Jake Thomas Boulevard has five lanes; two in each direction with a center turn lane between them.
The Jake Thomas Connector project has two only intersections, one at the beginning and end of the project. The first intersection is at Teaster Lane and the second one is at SR 449. Both intersections are already signalized, although the phasing will change upon project completion.
There are two bulb tee beam bridges on this project. The first is a 406-foot, three-span bridge that crosses over Ridge Road near the center of the project. The second is a 250-foot, two-span bridge that crosses over Middle Creek near the end of the project.
The entirety of the Jake Thomas Connector will be walkable, as there will be a 5-foot concrete sidewalk on both sides of the road for the length of the project. There are also numerous ADA-compliant ramps throughout the length of the sidewalk to facilitate people with disabilities and bicyclists.
Mark Nagi (Media Contact)
TDOT Region 1 Community Relations Officer