Work on Holston Valley access roads to begin soon

Matthew Lane • Aug 16, 2008 at 12:00 AM

KINGSPORT — Work to improve several roads heading into and around Holston Valley Medical Center is expected to begin in the coming months while improvements to Gibson Mill Road will begin next spring.

Two years ago, Kingsport agreed to work with Wellmont Health System in connection with Project Platinum — a $100 million improvement project at HVMC. The plan calls for improvements to the roads in and around the hospital, including Gibson Mill Road, Cassel Drive and Ravine Road.

Kingsport earmarked $4 million for the project, which includes property acquisition and construction costs.

Michael Thompson, traffic engineer for the city, said the Board of Mayor and Aldermen on Aug. 19 will consider approving the $1.2 million bid from Thomas Construction for phase one of the project.

Phase one of the project could begin in early October with the city’s portion being re-doing Cassel Drive from the parking garage around to Ravine Road, and re-doing a couple hundred feet of Holston Valley Drive. Work along Cassel would include installing a 10-foot side raised grassy median, sidewalks, decorative street lighting and turn lanes.

Thompson said the city would also close West Ravine at Cassel Drive and remove the traffic signal at West Ravine and Clinchfield Street.

Wellmont’s portion of phase one picks up at Cassel Drive, including the construction of a new bridge across Reedy Creek and a new road across the Boys and Girls Club property, ending about 75 feet from Lee Street.

Wellmont purchased the Boys and Girls Club in July 2006 for $5.2 million with plans to demolish the building and make the site the new entranceway to Holston Valley.

Thompson said phase one should have minimal traffic delays.

Phase two of the project is expected to begin in late winter or early spring 2009, Thompson said.

Phase two deals with Gibson Mill Road, realigning it into a more perpendicular angle with Stone Drive and widening it at that intersection. Plans call for a double left turn lane from Stone to Gibson Mill and for Gibson Mill to have up to five lanes at the intersection.

“Gibson Mill will cut through the golf cart property and come in and line up with Lee Street, come to a roundabout and go down Lee Street back to Gibson Mill,” Thompson said.

One of the switchbacks on Gibson Mill will remain, but it will be a local road, Thompson said.

Kingsport has spent $176,550 to purchase property and houses in connection with this two-phase project, property along Lee and Millpond streets, Gibson Mill and Ravine.

Thompson said there would be two more purchases in connection with the project — the old golf cart business property and the Intimate Treasures property. Thompson said the owner of the golf cart property is agreeable to the city purchasing the property through condemnation, but the city has no deal in place with the owner of Intimate Treasures.

According to the city, the golf cart property has appraised for approximately $290,000 while the Intimate Treasures property has appraised for approximately $300,000.

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