TN 81
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From:  Erwin (Unicoi County)
To:  Haws Crossroads (Washington County)
Total Length:
25.7 miles
I-26 (exit 37), US 19W, US 23, TN 36, TN 107 EB: 0 - 0
Washington-Unicoi Line: 2.3 - 2.3
TN 107 WB: 4.3 - 6.6
TN 67: 0.8 - 7.4
TN 353: 6.5 - 13.9
TN 75: 6.4 - 20.3
TN 93: 5.4 - 25.7
Creation: Appeared in 1927 or 1928 running from TN 36 (now TN 107) Erwin to TN 36 (now Moreland Dr) below Kingsport.
Adjustments: In 1930, TN 81 was extended north replacing TN 36 to the new TN 36 route on Fort Henry Dr in Kingsport, then a little further to end at US 11W (now E. Center St).
If TN 81 ever used Stateside Dr in Lamar or Markwood Circle south of Jonesborough it stopped doing so by 1935.
In 1938 (per county map), TN 81 south was extended with US 19W-23 to Ernestville, then southwest as new routing via Flag Pond to end at the North Carolina line near English NC.
About 1939, TN 81 was removed from Depot St and S. 3rd Ave in Jonesborough
In 1944, TN 81 was placed on new routing approaching Kingsport and was removed from S. Eastman Rd (no longer crosses Holston River) and N. Eastman Rd which mostly used Fuller St back then.

1940 Official
TN 81 Kinsport routing 1930-44
1940 Official
1956 Gousha
TN 81 Kingsport routing after 1944
1956 Gousha

Between 1938 and 1948, TN 81 was removed from Jennie Moore Rd at Rocky Fork; Clear Branch Loop below Ernestville.
About 1951, TN 81 was removed from Old Highway Rd in Temple Hill/Shallowford; Chestoa Pike from Chestoa to Erwin
In 1952, US 23 was added to TN 81's entirety from Erwin southward.
In 1959, TN 81 was removed from the "81 Loop" and AJ Willis Rd/Ct south of the northern Nolichucky River bridge; north of the old bridge TN 81 was removed from TDOT access Rd and Taylor Bridge Rd/Bradford Loop
Between 1967-69, TN 81 north was truncated to Haws Crossroads and replaced by TN 93 to Russell Chapel (used Sullivan Gardens Dr through Sullivans Garden) and TN 93 Bus (now part of TN 126 except it used Old S. Wilcox Rd) into Kingsport.

1929 Official
TN 81 from Erwin to south of Kingsport
1929 Official
1930 Official
TN 81 extended north to Kingsport
1930 Official
1940 Official
TN 81 extended south to NC
1940 Official
1971 Official
TN 81 north truncated to TN 93
1971 Official

In 1976, TN 81 was removed from Robert Love Rd and some Arnold Rd and put on the current south Nolichucky Bridge crossing.
About 1980, TN 81 was placed on the new US 23 freeway around Erwin. 2nd St into Erwin remained part of TN 107 and Main Ave/Love St/Ohio Ave/Jackson Love Hwy through Erwin was removed from the state highway system.
About 1995, TN 81 was placed on the new US 23 freeway from the Chestoa area south to North Carolina. Temple Hill Rd was removed from the state highway system; US 19W remained to Ernestville; TN 352 replaced TN 81 from Ernestville to Rocky Fork; Old Asheville Hwy was removed from the state highway system.
In 2003, TN 81 was truncated to its current ending in Erwin, when I-26 was assigned to the US 23 freeway.

1992 Unicoi County Map
TN 81 original routing near North Carolina
1992 Unicoi County Map
1996 Unicoi County Map
TN 81 moved onto new freeway
1996 Unicoi County Map

Posting: Posted as primary throughout
Secret US Route Overlay: None
Comment: TN 81 is blown off by US 11E-321 in Jonesboro. There is a posted workaround for non-trucks using W. Main St (old US 11E) and Washington Dr. A very poorly posted Truck connection is supposed to use Persimmon Ridge Rd.
I'm guessing the late 1960s truncation to TN 93 was supposed to avoid confusion with TN 81 crossing I-81, but they still come very close to one another (1.6 miles). In fact, these days TN 81 is co-posted as I-81 ALT from TN 93 to TN 75.
TN 81 appears to be a decent way to get from I-26 Erwin to Jonesborough and avoiding Johnson City.

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Page last modified 14 October 2020