U.S. Route 25E

U.S. Route 25E (US 25E) is the eastern branch of U.S. Route 25 from Newport, Tennessee, where US 25 splits into US 25E and US 25W, to North Corbin, Kentucky, where the two highways rejoin. The road, however, continues as US 25E for roughly 2 miles (3.2 km) until it joins Interstate 75 in the Laurel County community of North Corbin at exit 29. The entire route serves as a arterial expressway for long-distance travelers and truckers connecting central Appalachia to the Eastern Seaboard via access to Interstate highways.[3][4]

U.S. Route 25E marker
U.S. Route 25E
Route information
Auxiliary route of US 25
Maintained by KYTC and TDOT
Length112 mi[1] (180 km)
ExistedNovember 26, 1926 (1926-11-26)[2]–present
Major junctions
South end US 25 / US 25W / US 70 in Newport, TN
North end I-75 in North Corbin, KY
StatesTennessee, Kentucky
CountiesTN: Cocke, Jefferson, Hamblen, Grainger, Claiborne
KY: Bell, Knox, Laurel
Highway system
US 25KY US 25W
US 25TN US 25W

All of US 25E in Tennessee, along with US 25 from Newport to the North Carolina state line, is designated as the East Tennessee Crossing Byway, a National Scenic Byway.[5] Portions of US 25E in Tennessee and Kentucky are designated as part of the Appalachian Development Highway System, which include Corridor S and Corridor F.[6] Corridor S follows US 25E between I-81 in Morristown to SR 63 (Corridor F) in Harrogate, and Corridor F follows the route from SR 63 to U.S. Route 119 in Pineville.[6]

Since 1982, US 25E from exit 29 of I-75 in North Corbin to exit 8 of I-81 in Morristown has been established as a federal truck route in the National Truck Network.[7] This same stretch of US 25E has been recognized as High-Priority Corridor 12, part of the National Highway System since 1991.[8]

US 25E has been included in the U.S. Highway System since the system's inception in 1926.[2]

US 25E is concurrent with unsigned Tennessee State Route 32 for its entire length in Tennessee.

Route descriptionEdit


Northbound US 25 and westbound US 70 leave Newport concurrent with one another. At an intersection west of the city, US 25 splits into two highways: US 25E, which heads north from this point as a two-lane highway, and US 25W, which continues west along a concurrency with US 70.[1]

US 25E then winds along the shoreline of Douglas Lake/French Broad River near the community of Gum Spring, and exits Cocke County after crossing the Douglas Lake impoundment of the French Broad River at the J.M. Walters Bridge.[1]

US 25E then enters Jefferson County east of Baneberry. Between White Pine and the Morristown neighborhood of Witt, the highway has an interchange with Interstate 81 (exit 8), and enters Hamblen County. North of the I-81, the road widens out to four lanes, and receives the Appalachian Development designation Corridor S. US 25E intersects US 11E east of Morristown. It then crosses the Cherokee Lake impoundment of the Holston River into Grainger County on the Olen Marshall Bridge.[1]

U.S. Route 25E descending the southern slope of Clinch Mountain towards Bean Station.

Between the interchange of SR 375 (Lakeshore Drive), old US 25E (Broadway Drive), and the interchange of US 11W/SR 1, US 25E becomes a controlled-access highway bypassing the town of Bean Station.[1]

The two roads split 3 miles (4.8 km) west of Bean Station near Briar Fork Creek at the base of Clinch Mountain, with US 11W heading west along the Richland Valley towards Knoxville, and US 25E northbound through Poor Valley ascending the southern slope of Clinch Mountain.[9]

Northwest of Tazewell, the road bridges the Powell River, and then passes through Harrogate, where it receives the Appalachian Development designation Corridor F. In the town of Cumberland Gap, Tennessee, US 25E serves as the western terminus of US 58. US 25E used that highway en route to the Cumberland Gap prior to 1996; however, it now uses a new highway leading to the Cumberland Gap Tunnel, freeing up a portion of road that US 58 now uses. US 25E then passes through the tunnel, emerging on the other side in Kentucky.[1]


US 25E remains a multilane divided highway for its entire extent in Kentucky.[10] Upon departing the tunnel, the road heads west to the town of Middlesboro, Kentucky, where it intersects KY 74. US 25E turns north at Middlesboro toward Pineville, the county seat of Bell County. In Pineville, the route is the western terminus of US 119.

US 25E departs Pineville and heads northwest, indirectly serving Tinsley via KY 92, crossing into Knox County, and bypassing Flat Lick to the west. The route makes an S-shaped curve, dipping south then turning back northwest as it approaches Barbourville. After serving the east side of Barbourville, the highway passes near Heidrick and runs through Baileys Switch.

Between Baileys Switch and Gray, US 25E gradually turns more east–west. After running through Gray, the route serves as the northern terminus of KY 3041. The road then reunites with US 25W north of Corbin, and the unsuffixed US 25 continues to points north. However, the US 25E designation continues west to Interstate 75, where it ends at Exit 29.[11]


US 25E in Grainger County, Tennessee in 1979

The route of US 25E was reportedly first traversed by Native Americans, long before the area was settled by European pioneers. During this period, the route was considered a part of the Cherokee Warriors' Path.[12] Most notably, the Cumberland Gap to Bean Station section of the route was used as part to Kentucky on famous pioneer and settler, Daniel Boone's Wilderness Road, being used for early interstate travel through Appalachia.[13][14] By 1821, the pathway of the Wilderness Road from the Cumberland Gap to Bean Station would be established as the Bean Station Turnpike, and would receive state funding while it being a privately owned toll route due to its importance for early interstate travel in the Appalachia region.[15]

In 1915, the Bean Station Turnpike path of what would become US 25E, with a extension to Morristown in Tennessee, was designated a part of the Dixie Highway, one of the routes in the National Auto Trail system, one of the earliest highway systems developed in the United States.[13]

Through-out the early to mid-20th century, the route from the Cumberland Gap to Tazewell, along with SR 33 from Tazewell to Knoxville, was part of the infamous Thunder Road, which was used by bootleggers to illegally transport and trade moonshine.[16] The story was later fictionally adapted into a 1958 crime-drama film and song of the same name.[17]

Before the Cumberland Gap Tunnel was opened in 1996, US 25E passed through the Cumberland Gap in Virginia. Prior to the U.S. highway system's arrival, Virginia's State Highway 10 began at the Cumberland Gap and proceeded to Bristol.[18] A short spur south to Tennessee was soon added,[citation needed] becoming State Route 107 in the 1923 renumbering, and State Route 100 in the 1928 renumbering.[19]

Early U.S. Highway planning assigned the number U.S. Route 411 to SR 10 through Cumberland Gap to Kentucky, and no number to SR 107.[20] By the final 1926 plan, US 411 was truncated to Cumberland Gap, and US 25E ran from Tennessee to Kentucky along SR 10 and SR 107.[2] The State Route numbers were dropped in the 1933 renumbering.

In 1965, the US 25E corridor from I-75 in North Corbin to I-81 in Morristown would be proposed as Corridor S of the ARC's Appalachian Development Highway System (ADHS).[21][22] Kentucky officials would ask for the designation in Kentucky to be removed, with Corridor S only designated on US 25E in the state of Tennessee with the passing of the Appalachian Regional Act of 1965.[21]

With the increased use of the corridor, many portions in urbanized areas would become deficient, leading to plans for its widening and relocation. Construction began in 1975 and completed in 1977. US 25E was widened into a four-lane bypass in the Morristown–Hamblen urban area from I-81 exit 8 to the Grainger County line at Cherokee Reservoir. Tennessee transportation personnel proposed plans in 1979 to rename US 25E to US 25, as US 25W had largely paralleled or was concurrent to the I-75 corridor. However, the plan was dismissed following dissent from Kentucky officials.[23]

Through-out the 1970s to the 1990s, highway improvement projects conducted by a joint-effort between the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), began to widen US 25E between the town of Cumberland Gap to Interstate 81 south of the city of Morristown into a limited-access and partial controlled-access highway.[22] Transportation and engineering personnel in Kentucky would widen the route from I-75 to the city of Middlesboro in preparation of the Cumberland Gap tunnel project.[24]

Following the signing of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act in 1991, the US 25E corridor from Corbin, Kentucky to Morristown, Tennessee was defined as High-Priority Corridor 12, establishing US 25E as part of the National Highway System.[8]

Before the completion of the Cumberland Gap Tunnel, US 25E saw increased congestion following an uptick in truck traffic bypassing I-75 through Campbell County and Knoxville.[24] The route is considered an alternate corridor of I-75 attractive to commuters to regional metropolises such as Morristown and Corbin-North Corbin and truckers alike connecting to interstates 81 and 75, bypassing the congested 75 in Knoxville.[4]

Since the 2000s, congestion from truck and commuter traffic, and the issue of access control has brought several projects in Tennessee and Kentucky on upgrading US 25E up to Interstate Highway standards. Kentucky transportation officials cited the route as a "travel corridor the Eastern Seaboard (via connection to Interstate 40 and Interstate 81 in Tennessee) for through traffic."[3][25][26]

As of the 2013 , 26.5 miles (42.6 km) has been completed of Corridor S along 25E, while 22.2 miles (35.7 km) remains to be constructed, which consists of rest areas and design and construction of interchanges to meet Interstate Highway standards along the stretch of 25E labeled corridors F and S.[27][28]

Cumberland Gap projectEdit

The Kentucky entrance of the Cumberland Gap Tunnel carrying US 25E, facing south to Tennessee

In the mid-to-late-20th century, US 25E between Middlesboro and Cumberland Gap had seen an uptick in fatal collisions, with the stretch of highway through the Cumberland Gap nicknamed "Massacre Mountain."[29] In 1973, officials with the National Park Service received initiatives to construct tunnels underneath the Cumberland Gap in order to resolve the accidents and restore the Cumberland Gap to its pioneer-era state of the 1770s, a motion set forth by the establishment of Cumberland Gap National Historical Park by the United States Congress in 1940. The plan, consisting of the construction of twin 4,600 foot long tunnels, five miles of new a four-lane controlled-access US 25E, two interchanges, seven bridges, and the restoration of the Cumberland Gap, was presented with a cost of $265 million dollars and was led by joint effort between the National Park Service and the Federal Highway Administration. Design work for the project started in 1979, and construction on the tunnels and the new four-lane 25E began in 1985.[29]

The Cumberland Gap Tunnel would open in 1996, completely bypassing Cumberland Gap and Virginia.[29] U.S. Route 58 was moved to a new alignment, meeting the new four-lane US 25E in Tennessee, decommissioning US 25E through Virginia. As old US 25E lied within the boundaries of the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park its pavement was torn up, and the path was restored into a hiking trail along the Wilderness Road through the Cumberland Gap.[30]

Major intersectionsEdit

US 25 south / US 25W north / US 70 (W Broadway Street/SR 9/SR 32 south/SR 35) to I-40 – Newport, Dandridge, Sevierville
Southern terminus of US 25E; US 25E south and US 25W merge to form US 25; southern end of unsigned SR 32 concurrency
Douglas Lake/French Broad RiverJ. W. Walters Bridge
JeffersonNina Road – BaneberryAccess road into Baneberry
White Pine9.515.3  SR 341 west (Old Airport Road) – TalbottEastern terminus of SR 341
11.117.9  SR 113 south (Main Street) – DandridgeSouthern end of SR 113 concurrency
HamblenMorristown13.020.9  I-81 – Knoxville, BristolI-81 exit 8, southern end of ADHS Corridor S and NHS Corridor 12 concurrency
14.823.8  SR 343 north (Newport Highway) – DowntownSouthern terminus of SR 343
15.524.9  SR 113 north – WhitesburgNorthern end of SR 113 concurrency
17.127.51  SR 160 (Enka Highway)Southern end of freeway; interchange
19311ACollege Square Drive/College Park DriveInterchange
19.531.42A  US 11E south (Morris Boulevard/SR 34 west) – MorristownSouthern end of US 11E/SR 34 concurrency; interchange
19.831.92B  US 11E north (East A.J. Highway/SR 34 east/SR 66) – Greeneville, MorristownNorthern end of US 11E/SR 34 concurrency; northern end of freeway; interchange
Dalton Ford RoadProposed interchange (unfunded)[33]
Brights PikeProposed interchange (unfunded)[33]
22.335.9  SR 343 south (Buffalo Trail) – Morristown Central Business DistrictInterchange; northern terminus of SR 343; southbound exit and northbound entrance; missing movements signed on Cherokee Park Road
Cherokee Lake/Holston RiverOlen R. Marshall Memorial Bridge
GraingerBean Station26.242.2  SR 375 south (Lakeshore Drive) – CherokeeNorthern terminus of SR 375; southern end of freeway
29.347.2  US 11W north (New Lee Highway/SR 1 east) – RogersvilleSouthern end of US 11W/SR 1 concurrency; interchange; northern end of freeway
31.250.2  US 11W south (Lee Highway/SR 1 west) – Rutledge, KnoxvilleNorthern end of US 11W/SR 1 concurrency; interchange
Thorn Hill38.662.1  SR 131 (Mountain Valley Highway 131) – Washburn, Treadway
Claiborne45.573.2  SR 33 north – SneedvilleSouthern end of SR 33 concurrency
Tazewell50.881.8  SR 33 south (N Broad Street) – New Tazewell, MaynardvilleNorthern end of SR 33 concurrency, proposed interchange along with SR 345[25]
51.382.6  SR 345 north (Cedar Fork Road)Southern terminus of SR 345, proposed interchange along with SR 33[25]
Harrogate60.296.9  SR 63 east (Forge Ridge Road) – SneedvilleSouthern end of SR 63 concurrency, Northern end of ADHS Corridor S concurrency
60.497.2  SR 63 west (Appalachian Highway) – Arthur, Speedwell, Fincastle, LaFolletteNorthern end of SR 63 concurrency; Southern end of ADHS Corridor F concurrency
Cumberland Gap61.298.5  US 58 east (Wilderness Road/SR 383 east) – Jonesville, VA, Bristol, VAInterchange; western terminus of US 58/SR 383
Cumberland Gap65.9
Cumberland Gap Tunnel
KentuckyBellCumberland Gap NHP1.3432.161Cumberland Gap National Park Visitor Center & Craft ShopInterchange
Middlesboro1.7192.766   KY 74 west – Airport
KY 441 west / KY 74 Truck west
6.32210.174  KY 3486 south
6.40210.303  KY 188 east
Ferndale8.31313.378  KY 1534 north
8.90014.323  KY 3151 east
11.60418.675  KY 190 west – Chenoa, Frakes, Pine Mountain State Resort Park
Pineville12.35519.883  US 119 north – Harlan, Martins Fork LakeNorthern end of ADHS Corridor F concurrency
KY 66 north to KY 221 – Red Bird Mission
14.20022.853  KY 2015 north
17.36027.938  KY 2014 east
17.57628.286  KY 92 west – Williamsburg, Whitley City
Knox19.07530.698  KY 3085 south
20.30932.684  KY 3085 north
21.54334.670  KY 930 west
21.70934.937  KY 3085 south – Flat Lick
22.47136.164  KY 223 north – Dewitt
24.08138.755  KY 3439 west
KY 1304 north to KY 11 – Bimble
Barbourville26.68442.944  KY 3153 west
27.41844.125  KY 2415 north
28.47045.818   KY 225 south / KY 3439 east
29.43947.377  KY 11 south – BarbourvilleSouthern end of KY 11 concurrency
29.59647.630  KY 2420 west – Downtown Barbourville
30.20548.610  KY 11 north – ManchesterNorthern end of KY 11 concurrency
30.81149.585  KY 1487 south
31.20650.221  KY 2418 south
32.61052.481  KY 3438 east
33.12453.308  KY 229 north – London
34.43755.421  KY 1527 east
40.36664.963  KY 233 – Gray
42.22767.958  KY 830
KY 3041 south to I-75 south
44.30171.296  KY 312 west
44.59371.765  KY 1629
LaurelNorth Corbin45.19272.729    US 25 north / US 25W south – AirportUS 25W and US 25E north merge to form US 25; US 25E signage continues
KY 3431 to KY 1223
   I-75 / KY 770 west – Knoxville, LexingtonI-75 exit 29; northern end of NHS Corridor 12 concurrency, northern terminus of US 25E
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Google (January 2, 2021). "U.S. Route 25E" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved January 2, 2021.
  2. ^ a b c Bureau of Public Roads; American Association of State Highway Officials (November 11, 1926). United States System of Highways Adopted for Uniform Marking by the American Association of State Highway Officials (Map). 1:7,000,000. Washington, DC: United States Geological Survey. OCLC 32889555. Retrieved November 7, 2013 – via Wikimedia Commons.
  3. ^ a b Jeff, Noble (October 18, 2013). "U.S. 25E plans revealed at meeting". The Times Tribune. Retrieved March 9, 2020.
  4. ^ a b "U.S. 25E Corridor Study - Morristown, Tennessee" (PDF). Lakeway Area Metropolitan Transportation Planning Organization. Wilber Smith Associates. February 2003. Retrieved October 22, 2020.
  5. ^ O'Neil, Duay (October 20, 2009). "Hwy 25 East is Now a National Scenic Byway". The Newport Plain Talk. Archived from the original on July 14, 2011. Retrieved October 23, 2009.
  6. ^ a b "ADHS Approved Corridors and Termini". Archived from the original on November 1, 2007.
  7. ^ Office of Highway Policy Information. "Figure 1-4: National Truck Network". Our Nation's Highways 2008. Federal Highway Administration. Retrieved February 5, 2021.
  8. ^ a b "Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991, as Amended, §§1105(c)(12) and (f)(25)". Government Publishing Office. Retrieved July 12, 2020.
  9. ^ "Eastern Tennessee" (Map). The Road Atlas (2008 Large Scale ed.). Rand McNally. p. 193.
  10. ^ Official Highway Map (Map) (2008 ed.). Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.
  11. ^ a b "HIS Official Milepoint Route Log Report (Laurel County)". Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. Retrieved January 19, 2010.
  12. ^ "East Tennessee Crossing Byway". Tennessee Vacation. Retrieved July 16, 2020.
  13. ^ a b "East Tennessee Crossing". Federal Highway Administration. Retrieved July 15, 2020.
  14. ^ Coffey, Ken (October 19, 2012). "The Great Wilderness Road". Grainger County Historical Society. Thomas Daugherty. Archived from the original on January 25, 2017. Retrieved May 30, 2021.
  15. ^ "Private Acts: Highways & Roads". Grainger County Genealogy & History. Retrieved May 5, 2021.
  16. ^ Bowers, Larry (January 3, 2016). "Deciphering fact from fiction of 'Thunder Road'". Cleveland Daily Banner. Retrieved July 20, 2020.
  17. ^ Thunder Road (1958) at IMDb
  18. ^ State Highway Commission of Virginia (July 5, 1922). Minutes of the First Meeting of the State Highway Commission Created Under the Acts of 1922 (PDF) (Report). Richmond, VA: Commonwealth of Virginia., Proposed "State Highway System" for Virginia, as Recommended by the State Roads Committee, January 1918
  19. ^ "VA 100". Virginia Highways Project.[self-published source]
  20. ^ Secretary of Agriculture (November 18, 1925). Report of Joint Board on Interstate Highways, October 30, 1925 (Report). US Department of Agriculture.
  21. ^ a b Grayson, Calvin (1965). "APPALACHIAN DEVELOPMENT HIGHWAY SYSTEM IN KENTUCKY". University of Kentucky. Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. Retrieved June 26, 2021.
  22. ^ a b SR-32 Relocation, Appalachian Corridor S, Indian Creek to Briar Fork Creek, Grainger County Environmental Impact Statement. United States Federal Highway Administration. 1975. Retrieved January 2, 2021.
  23. ^ "US 25E". Virginia Highways Project. February 6, 2021. Retrieved July 28, 2021.[self-published source]
  24. ^ a b Merchant, Heidi (October 15, 1999). "Cumberland Gap Tunnel Paves the Way for Economic Development". Union Express. Archived from the original on September 25, 2004. Retrieved February 3, 2021.
  25. ^ a b c Runions, Jan (June 21, 2019). "County takes another look at Cedar Fork/U.S. 25E". Claiborne Progress. Retrieved March 9, 2021.
  26. ^ "U.S. 25 South Leg". Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. Retrieved March 9, 2021.
  27. ^ "Appalachian Development Highway System Completion Plan Report" (PDF). Appalachian Regional Commission. September 2013. Retrieved December 13, 2020.
  28. ^ "Status of Corridors in Tennessee" (PDF). Appalachian Regional Commission. September 30, 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 5, 2014. Retrieved June 30, 2014.
  29. ^ a b c "Cumberland Gap Highway Tunnel Celebrates 15th Anniversary". Cumberland Gap National Historical Park. National Park Service. October 11, 2011. Retrieved February 3, 2021.
  30. ^ Cumberland Gap National Historical Park Map (PDF) (Map). National Park Service.
  31. ^ "HIS Official Milepoint Route Log Report (Bell County)". Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. Retrieved January 19, 2010.
  32. ^ "HIS Official Milepoint Route Log Report (Knox County)". Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. Retrieved January 19, 2010.
  33. ^ a b "US-25E at Brights Pike or Dalton Ford Road Interchange Feasibility Study Hamblen County" (PDF). Tennessee Department of Transportation. 2008. Retrieved June 26, 2021.

External linksEdit