KINGSPORT — Two new traffic signals, located within about a mile of each other, are expected to go live over the next seven days, a city traffic official said Thursday.
Traffic signals have been installed at the intersection of Ryder Drive and Eastman Road — where the new Starbucks has been built — and at Indian Trail and Stone Drive — between East Stone Commons and the Kmart Supercenter.
The signal at Ryder Drive has been flashing yellow for about a week and is expected to go live today, said Mike Thompson, traffic engineer for the city. The signal at Indian Trail began flashing yellow on Thursday and should go live late next week.
The traffic signal at Indian Trail will not be the final solution for that intersection, Thompson said. The Tennessee Department of Transportation is expected to construct a median from Indian Trail to Eastman Road later this fall and change the signal out for a more permanent one.
At that point, the equipment used for the current traffic signal will return to the city.
“We needed to get the signal up for safety. East Stone Commons was going in, and the expected YMCA was to be going soon. We felt the signal was needed now,” Thompson said.
Traffic signals on the main thoroughfares in Kingsport (Stone Drive, Eastman Road, Center Street) are timed together, in order for drivers to not be caught by each and every red light. Thompson said the signal at Indian Trail will be timed with the other signals on Stone Drive, but the one at Ryder Drive will not be.
Thompson said the city has hired a consultant to conduct a signal timing study on that area, which should be complete by the fall.
Kingsport plans to re-stripe both intersections to accommodate left-turn lanes and to remove the markings from within the intersections.
The estimated cost of the Ryder Drive traffic signal is $85,000, while the cost of the material used for the Indian Trail one is around $25,000. As previously mentioned, most of that material will be returned to the city later this fall.
City crews installed the traffic signals. If the city had contracted the jobs out, Thompson said Ryder Drive would have cost $150,000 and Indian Trail $80,000.