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Section of Riverport Road being stabilized

Matthew Lane • Updated Mar 14, 2017 at 8:19 AM

KINGSPORT — Motorists should be aware that a section of Riverport Road will be down to one lane for possibly the next four weeks as a Colorado-based company performs stabilization work along the riverbank side to the road.

Kingsport has hired GeoStabilization International to shore up a 700-foot section of Riverport Road by using what is called a “soil nail” technique. The cost of the project is slightly more than $479,000.

Michael Thompson, assistant public works director for the city, said the work being done is essentially to prevent further erosion and keep the road from sliding toward the river.

“They'll take long, 20-foot tubes and drill those into the ground until they hit a certain resistance then fill them with grout,” Thompson said. “The long metal tubes will hold the bank and keep it from sliding any more than it already has.”

Riverport Road has been slowly sliding toward the river for years with the erosion of the bank causing the undermining of the road. Thompson said this “soil nail” technique will keep the dirt where it is and make the road much more safe for the future.

GeoStabilization International is the same company that stabilized Bays Mountain Road earlier this year, using the same technique as it's using on Riverport Road.

Work began Monday morning with city crews clearing off the overgrowth and leaves and putting in erosion control hay and straw mesh. Once the work is complete, Thompson said the city would then evaluate the possibility of repaving Riverport Road.

Motorists will be limited to a single lane with flaggers directing traffic from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. The stabilization would take until April 8 to complete, though Thompson said the work will likely be done before that date.

Drivers are asked to use caution in the area during this time and be alert for flaggers directing traffic. For more information, contact the city's public works department at 224-2748.

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