Kingsport wish list for road projects nears $10 million

Matthew Lane • Sep 6, 2008 at 12:00 AM

KINGSPORT — Kingsport’s transportation department has crafted a list of local road projects — nearly $10 million worth — to be considered by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen in the coming months.

Last month the city’s transportation department held a half-day information session for members of the BMA to bring them up to speed on the various transportation projects being considered and proposed by city staff.

One of the presentations to the BMA dealt with a prioritized list of local road projects under consideration. The list includes 11 projects (four of which are phases of two different projects) and totals nearly $10 million ($9,945,000).

“We haven’t formulated the time frame in which they will be implemented yet. These are what we felt were the highest priority on a local funding level,” said Michael Thompson, Kingsport’s traffic engineer. “The next step is to plug these projects into our capital improvement plan. The city manager would do that and bring it to the BMA.”

City spokesman Tim Whaley said that would likely take place within the next six weeks and that some of the projects could be included in a fall bond issuance ($14 to $15 million) by the city. Whaley said the BMA has also asked for more information on improvements to Sullivan Street and connections from Stone Drive to the downtown area.

The top project on the list is phase one of improvements to Cleek Road with an estimated cost of $800,000. Phase two of the project ranked seventh on the list and is estimated to cost $2.2 million; phase three at $700,000 did not make the list.

Phase one is mainly intersection improvements at Cleek Road, Stone Drive and New Beason Well Road, Thompson said.

“It’s important from a safety standpoint in that we have a misaligned intersection currently, where Cleek and New Beason Well do not line up directly opposite each other,” Thompson said. “There’s some confusion there because (people) turning left off Beason Well and Cleek don’t really know if they’re supposed to go behind or in front of each other.”

The intersection will soon be redeveloped with a new Walgreens pharmacy, shopping center and city fire station.

“The overall project for all of Cleek Road is to fix the safety concerns. We’ve got very steep grades in phase two, bad horizontal turns near Orebank Road and we would be able to reduce the grade lining it up with Lambert Street,” Thompson said.

“It will be a better way to access this area, which is growing commercially. We’re trying to increase safety and efficiency out there, to make some logical improvements that will get the people from home to the shopping they want to get to.”

The second project on the list is phase one of Harbor Chapel Road improvements to the tune of $700,000. Phase two of the project ranked 10th on the list and is estimated to cost $945,000.

This project would be a widening of Harbor Chapel Road from Skyland Drive to Cooks Valley Road. Both this and the Cleek project may include a sidewalk or mobility path, Thompson said.

Other projects on the list include improvements to the Clinchfield/Center Street intersection ($325,000), constructing a road from Fordtown Road to Eastern Star Road ($475,000) and building a roundabout at the intersection of Netherland Inn Road/Center Street and Industry Drive ($800,000).

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