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Local News

Cleek Road to be closed for year of improvements

May 31st, 2012 2:10 am by Matthew Lane

KINGSPORT — In the next couple of months, Kingsport will begin another round of improvements to a problematic section of Cleek Road. Residents should be warned though that the targeted section of road will be closed during the yearlong project, and motorists will have to go another route to and from Stone Drive.

Last year, Kingsport wrapped up the first phase of improvements to Cleek Road, the bulk of which involved adding turn lanes to the intersection at Stone Drive, widening a portion of the roadway with some slight realignment, and adding sidewalks. The $1.17 million project also affected a small portion of New Beason Well Road to Fire Station 8.

This second phase picks up from the first curve on Cleek Road to Orebank Road. Assistant Public Works Director Michael Thompson said the work will include widening Cleek Road, adding curb, gutter and some sidewalks, and a tunnel for a future extension of the Kingsport Greenbelt.

“We’ll be tying in to Orebank Road directly across from Lamberth Street, about 600 feet east of where Cleek Road ties in now,” Thompson said. “We realized through the design this gives us more length to lessen the grade up the bluff, and that allowed us to get rid of the very sharp horizontal curve on Cleek Road.”

Once complete, the new road would go behind the house at the corner of Cleek and Orebank, and a four-way intersection would be created at Lamberth Street.

“By tying in at Lamberth, there was a sight distance problem. This project goes out about 200 feet in each direction on Orebank Road from the tie-in to improve the vertical alignment to better the sight distance,” Thompson said.

A new sidewalk will be built on the west side of Cleek Road but will switch to an 8-foot mobility path going up the bluff. An extra box culvert is to be installed during this phase of the project to accommodate any future connection to the Greenbelt, which currently ends near the Exchange Place.

Thompson said the idea is for the Greenbelt to go under the roadway, much like what is planned for the path at Gibson Mill Road.

And the kicker for the project is this section of Cleek Road will be closed during the entire construction process. Thompson said work is expected to begin later this summer and take about a year to complete.

Motorists will have to either go all the way down Orebank Road to Stone Drive or go west and use the John B. Dennis H i g h w a y.

“There’s some pretty intense rock removal, so we don’t think we can keep it open,” Thompson said.

The estimated cost of this phase of work is around $3 million — all paid by the city of Kingsport. The money does include property acquisition costs, though a couple of properties have yet to be secured by the city.

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