Kingsport Times News Thursday, April 24, 2014

Local News

TDOT looking to minimize I26 improvements' impact on East Lawn Cemetery

May 16th, 2012 4:28 pm by J. H. Osborne

  KINGSPORT — Tennessee Department of Transportation representatives will meet with “other resource agencies” next week to talk about potential improvements to the 8-mile section of State Route 126 between Center Street and Interstate 81, a TDOT spokesman told the Times-News Monday.


   TDOT will propose some design changes to “further minimize impacts” to East Lawn Cemetery, TDOT Region 1 Community Relations Officer Mark Nagi said.


   “Those changes, of course, will involve other regulatory agencies,” Nagi said. “We are currently working with those agencies to see if these changes are feasible before bringing anything to the public.”


   Two months ago, TDOT canceled a scheduled public hearing on a draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) for the SR 126 project. That document outlines how three alternatives would impact — among other things — homes, businesses, historic sites, graves, wildlife and plantlife along the corridor.


   Total cost estimates, depending on which alternative is pursued, range from $0 (no build) to $120 million. Estimated right of way costs outpace estimated construction costs for either “build” alternative: Option A, with a total estimated cost of $120 million, includes $60 million for right of way acquisition and $55 million for estimated construction costs; Option B, with a total estimated cost of about $99.6 million, includes $48 million for right of way acquisition and $47 million for estimated construction costs.


   In all, the DEIS totals 227 pages, including a 14-page summary section. A section of that summary is headed, in all capital letters, “AREAS OF CONTROVERSY AND UNRESOLVED ISSUES.” It cites the “primary” concerns related to the two “build” alternatives as:


   • The “displacement” of 90 to 350 graves, depending on which “build” alternative, if either, is selected.


   • The “displacement” of 162 to 241 homes, depending on which “build” alternative, if either, is selected.


   • The “displacement” of 30 to 43 businesses, depending on which “build” alternative, if either, is selected.


   The 227-page DEIS remains available online at: www.tn.gov/tdot/SR126/  .

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