Alexander, Blackburn: Future Visitors to the Foothills Parkway will Know Dean Stone’s Legacy

Posted on March 12, 2019

WASHINGTON, March 12, 2019 – United States Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) today said President Trump has signed legislation into law that will name a bridge on the Foothills Parkway after Dean Stone.

“No one has worked harder for the Foothills Parkway than Dean Stone,” Alexander said. “Dean talked to me about the Foothills Parkway when I was at Maryville High School as the school newspaper’s editor, and he talked to me in every job I've ever had since, literally. It is hard to imagine Blount County without Dean, and I’m glad President Trump signed this legislation into law today, which ensures Dean will be a part of the Smokies for generations to come.”

“Dean Stone was a pillar of his community,” said Blackburn. “Naming the bridge in honor of him is the perfect way to thank him for his dedication to improving the lives of all who enjoy the Smokies.”

Alexander and Blackburn introduced the legislation to the name the bridge on January 16. The legislation, which was included in the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act, passed the Senate on February 12 by a vote of 92-8. The House of Representatives passed the legislation on February 26 by a vote of 363 to 62, and it was today signed into law by President Trump. Alexander is a cosponsor of the The John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act.  

The Dean Stone Bridge is located on the newly opened section of the Foothills Parkway. This section of Foothills Parkway was a priority for Alexander when he was governor in the 1980s and the state Department of Transportation took the lead on a section of the parkway between Carrs Creek and Wears Valley.  As a U.S. senator, he included $17.5 million for parkway construction in the 2005 federal highway bill.  Since then, he worked with his colleagues in Congress to help provide the funding necessary to complete the “missing link” – a 1.65 mile segment of the new 16-mile section comprised of nine bridges – and open this section of the parkway to the public. The Dean Stone Bridge is one of those nine bridges. In 2016, the Tennessee Department of Transportation submitted a TIGER grant application for federal funds to complete this 16-mile section of the Foothills Parkway.

Alexander urged the Department to approve the $10 million TIGER grant request, which it did on July 28, 2016. The state of Tennessee committed an additional $15 million in funding to complete the project. The National Park Service Federal Lands Transportation Program provided the remaining funding necessary to finish the 16 miles. Alexander attended the groundbreaking ceremony for the newly opened 16-mile section of the Foothills Parkway adjacent to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on November 9.