KINGSPORT — Later this month, the city will be going out to bid for its fall paving work.
What streets are making the list? Ryan McReynolds, assistant city manager for operations, said the paving schedule for later this year includes two sections of town: the West View neighborhood (upper Sevier Terrace) and three roads in the Cooks Valley/Fall Creek community.
The West View paving will include the streets bounded by Stone Drive, Interstate 26, Fairview Avenue and Virgil Avenue. McReynolds said the spring paving schedule will include a cluster of roads on the other side of Fairview going toward Lynn Garden Drive.
Street resurfacing will also take place along Harbor Chapel Road from Memorial Boulevard to just past Skyland Lane. Kingsport plans to pave the city’s portion of Hemlock Road (with Sullivan County paving its portion) and Fall Creek Road to the Fort Patrick Henry bridge.
McReynolds said the city has earmarked $2.44 million in the 2020 budget for street resurfacing. Repaving a city street typically costs approximately $110,000 per mile.
Three years ago, Kingsport contracted with Barge Waggoner Sumner & Cannon to conduct a roadway condition assessment, where a specialized vehicle drove across town, shooting radar down on the roadway and assessing its condition and revealing cracks.
The equipment basically checked all 500 miles of Kingsport’s roads and ranked them based on condition. To address the poor (or worse) roads, Kingsport is taking 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.
Ultimately, Kingsport has been working toward a sustainable paving program, where every street for which the city is responsible is paved every 20 to 25 years, rather than the current 50 to 55 years.
To fund this program, the city has tapped the AEP franchise fee — a fee paid by American Electric Power to operate within the city limits. City officials renegotiated the contract with AEP three years ago, and today the franchise fee generates approximately $4 million a year.
Ten percent of those funds goes toward streetscape aesthetics, and a portion goes toward economic development, with the bulk earmarked for street resurfacing. Next year, McReynolds said, his department is proposing that $2.5 million go toward paving, eventually rising to $2.75 million in 2024.
“That’s just a target and we’ll have to look at our revenue,” he said. “If things continue to trend, then that’s where Kingsport wants to be with its annual paving schedule.”
For more information on Kingsport’s paving schedule visit www.pavekingsport.com.