Traffic signal in the works for Highway 19-E/11-E

J. H. Osborne • Jun 28, 2008 at 12:00 AM

BLOUNTVILLE — A construction project designed to make a local intersection safer — until a larger improvement plan can be completed — could be under contract in the next week or so, a Tennessee Department of Transportation spokesman said Friday.

The project will add turn lanes and a traffic signal to the intersection of Highways 19-E and 11-E, said Travis Brickey, Region 1 community relations officer for TDOT.

It was included in projects TDOT opened bids for last week, and the sole bidder was Elizabethton-based Summers-Taylor Inc., with a bid of $390,145.55, according to the agency’s Web site.

A proposed contract describes the project as including grading, drainage, installation of signals and paving — and a completion date of “on or before” April 30, 2009.

Once finished, it will have added a second left-turn lane from southbound 11-E to 19-E, as well as addition of a right-turn lane onto 19-E from northbound 11-E, Brickey said.

“The contract hasn’t been awarded yet,” Brickey said. “It has to go through the paperwork process ... where they confirm the bid and make sure everything is in order. It could be next week.”

This is considered a short-term fix to the intersection, Brickey said.

“We have a project in development for an interchange right there,” Brickey said. “But we’d heard from local government ... that they want some interim improvement done. (TDOT) feels a signal at that intersection is not a long-term solution, because of the amount of traffic that’s there and because of the projected increase in traffic over the years. So while the development of the interchange continues, this interim step of signalization of the intersection is going forward.”

Once activated, the traffic signal will be maintained by Sullivan County, Brickey said.

“TDOT doesn’t operate any traffic signals,” Brickey said.

TDOT gathered public input at a meeting several months ago.

The favored design was essentially a diamond-style interchange, Brickey said, where traffic from Bristol would have a “free flow” overpass ramp to take vehicles from 11-E to 19-E toward Elizabethton.

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