U.S. Route 421 in Tennessee

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U.S. Route 421 marker

U.S. Route 421
Route information
Maintained by TDOT
Length43.4 mi[1] (69.8 km)
Major junctions
South end US 421 at the NC line near Trade
North end US 11E / US 19 / US 421 at the VA line in Bristol
CountiesJohnson, Sullivan
Highway system
SR 420SR 421

U.S. Route 421 (US 421) is a north–south United States highway that runs for 43.4 miles (69.8 km) in East Tennessee, connecting the cities of Mountain City and Bristol.

The entire route, except for approximately a half mile between US 11E/US 19 and the Virginia State Line, is overlapped with SR 34, which is completely hidden throughout, except on mileposts.

Route description[edit]

Johnson County[edit]

US 421 enters Tennessee from North Carolina just north of Zionville, NC in Johnson County, concurrent with unsigned SR 34, as a 2-lane highway. The highway then goes northwest to enter the oldest unincorporated community in the state, Trade, where it begins an unsigned concurrency with SR 67. The highway continues northwest through countryside and farmland before becoming the eastern boundary of the Cherokee National Forest at the intersection of Bulldog Road before completely entering the National Forest after the intersection with Old Prison Camp Road.

US 421/SR 34/SR 67 then pass and curve around various ridges and mountains before exiting the national forest and entering Mountain City, widening to an undivided 4-lane highway. They pass by an industrial plant and a couple of neighborhoods before having an intersection with SR 167. The highway then passes by a row of businesses before having an intersection with SR 418 and bypassing downtown to the south and west, where they come to another intersection with SR 418, where SR 67 splits off and goes southwest towards Elizabethton. US 421/SR 34 soon come to an intersection and become concurrent with SR 91, just before narrowing to 2-lanes and leaving Mountain City. The highway then passes through more countryside and farmland before the road becomes aggressively curvy with elevation changes throughout as it crosses the Iron Mountains, where the road becomes aggressively curvy with elevation changes throughout for several miles. At Sandy Gap, US 421 reaches the highest point of its route in Tennessee at 3,862 feet (1,177 m).

Once descended from the Iron Mountains, US 421/SR 34/SR 91 then enter countryside and farmland again as it enters Shady Valley and come to an intersection with SR 133, where SR 91 splits off to the southwest. US 421/SR 34 then climbs up Holston Mountain, where they cross into Sullivan County at Low Gap.

This is the second stretch of aggressively curvy with constant elevation changing along US 421, with this whole section, between Mountain City and Holston Valley, being very popular with motorcycle enthusiasts.

Sullivan County[edit]

US 421/SR 34 then descends from the mountain range and cross a bridge over South Holston Lake before entering Holston Valley where they become concurrent (unsigned) with SR 44 via a Y-Intersection. The highway then widens to a 4-lane divided highway at an intersection with SR 435 (Bristol Caverns Highway/Old US 421), which provides access to Bristol Caverns. SR 44 then splits off and goes southwest towards Bluff City.

Entering the Bristol city limits at the intersection of SR 394 (which provides access to Bristol Motor Speedway, Bristol Dragway, and I-81) and SR 435, the highway reverts to a two-lane road, as it goes through the Fairmount Neighborhood along Virginia Avenue. Near the Fairmount Elementary School, US 421/SR 34 make a left onto Maple Street, before making a right onto Pennsylvania Avenue. The road then enters downtown and widens to an undivided 4-lane as it curve onto Anderson Street, as it then crosses over a railroad track and several neighborhood streets on a long elevated bridge. The highway then continues west through downtown to an intersection with US 11E/US 19 (Volunteer Parkway), where SR 34 splits off and goes south along US 11E/US 19 while US 421 turns north along US 11E/US 19, along with SR 1, just shortly before crossing into Virginia.


Junction list[edit]

Johnson0.00.0 US 421 south – BooneContinuation from North Carolina; southern end of SR 34 overlap
Trade0.81.3 SR 67 east – WarrensvilleEast end of SR 67 overlap
8.914.3 SR 167 – Doeville, Fig
Mountain City10.516.9 SR 418 north (Church Street)
11.218.0 SR 67 west / SR 418 south (Main Street) – ElizabethtonWest end of SR 67 overlap
11.819.0 SR 91 north – DamascusNorth end of SR 91 overlap
Shady Valley22.135.6 SR 91 south / SR 133 north – Elizabethton, DamascusSouth end of SR 91 overlap
SullivanHolston Valley34.255.0 SR 44 north – AbingdonNorth end of SR 44 overlap
35.957.8 SR 435 south (Bristol Caverns Highway)Provides access to Bristol Caverns; former US 421
38.562.0 SR 44 south (Hickory Tree Road) – Bluff CitySouth end of SR 44 overlap
Bristol40.364.9 SR 394 west / SR 435 north (Bristol Caverns Highway) – BlountvilleAccess to Bristol Motor Speedway, Bristol Dragway, and I-81 via SR 394 west
43.269.5 US 11E south / US 19 south / SR 34 west (Volunteer Parkway / SR 1 west)North end of SR 34 overlap; south end of US 11E/US 19/SR 1 overlap; eastern terminus of SR 1
43.469.8 US 11E north / US 19 north / US 421 north (Commonwealth Avenue) – Gate CityContinuation into Virginia; northern end of SR 1 concurrency; SR 1 turns west onto State Street
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Google (February 24, 2013). "U.S. Route 421 in Tennessee" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved February 24, 2013.

External links[edit]

U.S. Route 421
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