A Tennessee Department of Transportation survey marker is tied to a signpost at the intersection of Memorial Boulevard and Cooks Valley Road. Photo by David Grace.
KINGSPORT — Survey work is taking place along Memorial Boulevard in connection with a $97 million widening project for an eight-mile stretch of State Route 126.
The Tennessee Department of Transportation says the survey work has been under way since August 2013 and is expected to wrap up within the next three months.
After more than a decade of planning, numerous public meetings and behind-the-scenes political wrangling, TDOT announced in May 2013 its plans for widening and improving SR 126, from roughly East Center Street to Interstate 81.
The project calls for a four-lane divided road from East Center to Harbor Chapel (1.46 miles), three lanes (two travel and one eastbound truck climbing lane) from Harbor Chapel to Old Stage Road (.62 miles), three lanes from Old Stage Road to Harr Town Road (4.32 miles) in the vicinity of East Lawn Cemetery and Yancey's Tavern and then finally two lanes from Harr Town to I-81 (1.98 miles).
TDOT originally presented two options for improving SR 126. After two public hearings in December 2012 where more than 200 comments were offered, transportation officials went with a modified plan to one of the main plans. One reason being the modified plan did not impact the cemetery and tavern and considerably lowered the number of affected residences and businesses.
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