Posted on January 16, 2019
WASHINGTON, January 16 – United States Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) today introduced legislation to name a bridge on the Foothills Parkway as the Dean Stone Bridge saying, “there is no one more fitting.”
“It is hard to imagine Blount County without Dean Stone, and that’s why I introduced legislation to name a bridge on the Foothills Parkway as the Dean Stone Bridge,” Alexander said. “No one worked harder for the Foothills Parkway than Dean Stone, and I can’t think of anyone more fitting to name this bridge on the Foothills Parkway after than Dean. He 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. When I was working for Senator Baker, he would ask, ‘Could we get a little money for the parkway?’ ‘Oh I don't know,’ I’d say, and he would keep asking. So it's more than appropriate to name this bridge on the Parkway after Dean, and it ensures he 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.”
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.
Lamar Alexander is the senior senator from Tennessee, and he serves as chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development. For his full biography, click here.