Historic byways seek national designation

UPPER CUMBERLAND  The Walton Road Historic Byway and the Cumberland Historic Byway are among 64 applications under consideration by the U.S. Department of Transportation to receive federal designation as members of the National Scenic Byway Program. If awarded, National Scenic Byway designation would pave the way for the 12 counties along these byways to receive national marketing support and access to federal grant funding through the national program. 

The Walton Road Historic Byway travels 118 miles in a relatively east-west direction over the Cumberland Plateau, crossing Smith, Putnam, Cumberland and Roane counties. The Cumberland Historic Byway is a 156-mile contiguous route stretching from the Cumberland Gap in East Tennessee to the Cumberland River in Middle Tennessee and includes the following counties: Claiborne, Campbell, Scott, Morgan, Fentress, Pickett, Overton and Clay. 

The National Scenic Byway Program is sponsored by the Federal Highway Administration and strives to recognize, preserve, and enhance select roadways that boast significant archeological, cultural, historic, natural, recreational and scenic qualities. These roadways tell unique stories about their communities that speak to byway travelers. Currently, 150 roadways across the United States have received this federal designation. This call for nominations marked a reopening of the program, which has not accepted nominations since 2008. 

The Upper Cumberland Development District partnered with the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) on the applications. “We are proud to support the efforts of the Walton Road and Cumberland Historic Byways,” stated TDOT Commissioner Clay Bright. “Federal designation will shine a national spotlight on these routes, which showcase unique and authentic areas of Tennessee.” 

For more information about Tennessee’s scenic byways, visit www.tn.gov/tdot and search for Scenic Roadways. For more information about the Walton Road Historic Byway and the Cumberland Historic Byway, visit waltonroad.com and cumberlandhistoricbyway.com.

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