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Permit issue halts Interstate 26 welcome center work

January 25th, 2014 8:16 pm by Matthew Lane

Permit issue halts  Interstate 26 welcome center work

Work has temporarily stopped at the Interstate 26 welcome center construction site in Kingsport due to an issue regarding a stormwater permit. Photo by Ned Jilton II.

KINGSPORT — Construction of a new Interstate 26 welcome center in Kingsport has temporarily come to a halt while an environmental permit — once thought to be valid — is re-obtained by the construction company performing the work, city and state officials explained last week.

The welcome center — the 15th in the state — will be located on I-26 (mile marker 5.8), between the Wilcox Drive and Rock Springs Road exits. The log cabin-style building is similar in size and appearance to the one built in Unicoi County a few years ago.

State and local officials broke ground on the project in late October and the Tennessee Department of Transportation issued a notice to proceed on Nov. 25. P&W Construction Co. of Knoxville is the general contractor.

Assistant Public Works Director Michael Thompson said P&W is on site and has performed some work — stripping topsoil, installing erosion control measures and beginning footer excavation. However, worked stopped due to an issue regarding a stormwater permit.

Charles Blalock and Sons of Sevierville performed the first round of work for the project — the roadway and bridge construction — and had a stormwater permit from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. The permit is necessary to ensure runoff is taken care of during the construction process.

Thompson said once the roadway work was complete and closed out, a separate permit was needed for the site to cover the building construction. The lack of permit was discovered around the first of December.

For an expanded version of this article, please see Sunday's print edition or our expanded electronic edition.

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