KINGSPORT - Eastman Road and East Center Street - sometimes clogged and backed up with vehicles - is getting an adjustment this week that city officials say will improve the flow of traffic through the intersection.
The Kingsport Public Works Department began milling Center Street from Park Street to Fuller early Tuesday morning to repair the broken top surface of asphalt. By Wednesday, work crews were repaving that stretch of road, with temporary markings expected to go down later in the day. In the next few weeks, permanent markings are expected to go down.
Public Works Director Ryan McReynolds said that in addition to the repair work to the road, work is being done to improve the flow of traffic through the intersection. McReynolds said there are two movements existing in the intersection that have been problematic in the last few years - one is the left turn off of Center onto Eastman coming from downtown.
"It will back up at times during lunch past Park Street," said McReynolds. "People will sit through potentially four cycles of the light to turn left onto Eastman."
The other problematic movement is turning right onto Eastman from Center coming from the old Winn-Dixie supermarket.
"The way it was set up one car would be going through (the intersection), and it would block many people trying to turn right," McReynolds said.
When work is complete, McReynolds said the intersection will be re-striped to alleviate these problems.
"We're going to have dual left-turn lanes from Center to Eastman coming from downtown, and that will drastically improve the flow of traffic," McReynolds said. "Also we're going to have a dedicated right from the Winn-Dixie onto Eastman, and that will allow those people to continue to bleed onto Eastman without one car stopping that whole movement.
"We had a window of opportunity, and we had to get it done after school and before Fun Fest."
Mike Thompson, traffic engineer for Kingsport, said approximately 33,000 vehicles travel through the intersection each day. The milling and repaving work comes out of the city's annual repaving budget of $500,000.