NASHVILLE — Legislation that would allow off-highway vehicles on certain streets within the Sunbright town limits will be considered by a House of Representatives subcommittee next week.
House Bill 431, filed by State Rep. John Mark Windle, D-Livingston, is scheduled to be heard in the House’s Transportation Subcommittee on Tuesday. It was scheduled for that date on Tuesday after being dormant in the subcommittee for the past three weeks.
A companion piece of legislation is sponsored in the Senate by State Sen. Ken Yager, R-Kingston.
The legislation would allow off-highway vehicles on certain segments of Mill Creek Road, Dyna Tex Road and Old Burrville Road.
Old Burrville Road is half a mile in length and is located on the west side of U.S. Hwy. 27 by the Dollar General. The segment of Dyna Tex Road — located on the opposite side of the highway from Old Burrville Road — is a mile in length. A length for the segment of Mill Creek Road falling within the Town of Sunbright’s jurisdiction is not given. Mill Creek Road intersects U.S. Hwy. 27 in downtown Sunbright. It connects to Dyna Tex Road and continues outside the city limits, eventually ending near Mt. Zion Baptist Church near the Scott-Morgan county line.
The legislation would amend the section of Tennessee law that permits ATV travel on other public roads in and around the Cumberland Mountains, where off-highway trail-riding is exploding in popularity.
Among the other roads where ATV use is permitted by state law are O&W Road in Scott County, S.R. 63 between U.S. Hwy. 27 and Annadell Road in Scott County on two weekends each year as designated by the Town of Huntsville, on a portion of S.R. 62 in Anderson County on two weekends of the year, on a portion of S.R. 330 in Anderson County on two weekends of the year, portions of S.R. 116 and several other roads in Rocky Top, and portions of S.R. 63 and other roads in Campbell County. Also, there is a section of S.R. 167 near the Roan Creek Campground in Johnson County where ATVs can be operated under the law.
The law has rapidly expanded in recent years as lawmakers have carried the wishes of public officials within their jurisdiction to Nashville. Originally, only a portion of S.R. 116 in Anderson County was exempted. Later, O&W Road in Scott County was added. That’s the way the law stood until Scott County tourism officials asked that ATVs be allowed on S.R. 63 on Brimstone event weekends. The legislature agreed, provided that helmets and seatbelts are worn, and that ATVs are off the street within 30 minutes after sunset. Failure to abide by those rules can subject riders to fines.
Since S.R. 63 was added to the law, tourism promoters in Campbell and Anderson counties have been successful in having a number of streets added to the law.
There is separate legislation that permits county governments to allow ATVs on roads that fall within designated Adventure Tourism districts. Scott County allows ATVs on essentially every public road between and including Brimstone Road to the east and Norma Road to the west, all south of S.R. 63.