KINGSPORT - I know what you're probably thinking. Not another traffic signal on Stone Drive. Well then, you may not want to read any further.
A new traffic signal is being planned for Stone Drive at the intersection with Indian Trail Drive - the road that runs beside the Kmart Supercenter and East Stone Commons. The idea for this traffic signal came out of a 2004 traffic impact study conducted for the East Stone Commons project and is to help provide access to the businesses on that road, said Mike Thompson, traffic engineer for the city of Kingsport.
"There were concerns about the intersection prior to the redevelopment just because there is so much traffic on Stone Drive," Thompson said, adding that there have been several accidents at that location over recent years.
Dixon Greenwood, director of development for Ball Realty and Auction Inc. - the group that developed East Stone Commons - said last week the new traffic signal would also help attract a restaurant to that corner of the East Stone Commons development.
The Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted earlier this month to approve a contract with the Tennessee Department of Transportation to install the traffic signal. Thompson said TDOT would oversee the design and construction, while the city would be responsible for maintenance and energy cost for the traffic signal.
"It now becomes an official TDOT project, and they will set the timeline. My best guess is spring of 2008, and our best hope is for February 2008," Thompson said, adding construction would take about a month to complete.
In addition to the traffic signal, the project calls for left-turn lanes to be created at the new intersection and for a 10-foot-wide raised median to be built on Stone Drive from the new traffic signal to Eastman Road, similar to the ones on Eastman Road and Memorial Boulevard - with alternating stamped areas and landscaping.
The estimated cost of the project is $400,000.
During the recent BMA meeting, city leaders raised a concern about the traffic signal, whether it was too close to the one at Eastman Road. Thompson said the new traffic signal would be timed with the one at Eastman Road.
"We will be redoing the signal timings on that end of town, and this will be part of the coordinated system," Thompson said. "It's being coordinated with the one at Stone and Eastman to prevent any problems with them being this close together.
"If you can't coordinate them you can make a real mess there."
TDOT estimates about 30,000 vehicles travel this stretch of Stone Drive every day, but Thompson said TDOT has not updated this figure since East Stone Commons opened two years ago.