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Kingsport plans to ramp up its repaving

Matthew Lane • Mar 10, 2017 at 11:39 AM

KINGSPORT — An analysis of Kingsport’s roads last year found that 58 percent of them are in fair or better shape. At the same time, the analysis revealed that 42 percent of city streets are in poor or worse condition.

How this number improves in the coming years is through the implementation of a sustainable paving program, city officials said on Monday, a program crafted last year by public works officials and funded with revenue generated from a renegotiated power franchise agreement.

Details on the road analysis and the sustainable paving program were presented to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen during a worksession on Monday (and again Tuesday night at the board’s regular meeting).

In summary, Kingsport wants a program where every street in town for which the city is responsible (roughly 500 miles) is paved every 20 to 25 years, rather than the current 50 to 55 year paving cycle.

Assistant City Manager for Operations Ryan McReynolds said the current cycle was simply unacceptable.

The price tag for a sustainable paving program is estimated to be $2.1 million a year. To hit this number, city officials plan to tap into the $3.79 million Kingsport receives from AEP under a new power franchise agreement that goes into effect this year.

In years past, Kingsport simply did not have a dedicated funding source to achieve this goal.

“Paving was usually done with whatever we scraped together at the end of the year,” said City Manager Jeff Fleming. “This board finally tackled the issue and provided a sustainable paving plan that will make the citizens proud going forward.”

Last year, Kingsport contracted with Barge Waggoner Sumner & Cannon to conduct a roadway condition assessment, where a specialized vehicle was driven throughout town, shooting radar down on the roadway and assessing its condition and revealing cracks.

The equipment basically checked all of Kingsport’s roads and ranked them based on condition.

“It did not care which road it was on. It analyzed the data and graded the roads on an industry standard,” McReynolds said. “It’s the standard from Key West to Alaska.”

According to the analysis, 21 percent of Kingsport’s roads are in good condition, 18 percent satisfactory and 18.5 percent fair. Just over 20 percent are in poor condition, 15 percent very poor and 6 percent serious. Less than one percent are in failed mode, the report states.

To address these poor (or worse) roads, McReynolds said the city will be using a blended approach, taking care of neighborhoods with low-rated roads while at the same time addressing the more heavily traveled roads in poor condition.

The bulk of the funding (90 percent) would go toward asphalt roads while the remainder (10 percent) would be earmarked for concrete roads, McReynolds said.

The sustainable paving program will be implemented this year. Though a specific timetable for the roads has not been finalized, McReynolds said the city would be working in Colonial Heights “fairly significantly.”

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