Kingsport planning several road improvement projects

Matthew Lane • Jan 25, 2020 at 12:30 PM

KINGSPORT — Kingsport has millions of dollars allocated or in the pipeline for a number of road construction and bridge replacement projects in the next couple of years.

These are projects that will most likely affect your day-to-day driving throughout the Model City, since many of them are on major roads and highways, such as Fort Henry Drive, Sullivan Street and Rock Springs Road.

They typically fall into one of three categories: projects entirely paid for with state and federal funds, projects funded with only city dollars and projects funded by both. And they could be in different stages, from planning to design to actual construction.

Here are some of the more noteworthy improvements currently in the works:

Crosstown Connector — For years, Kingsport has worked to improve Gibson Mill Road from Stone Drive, with the work taking place in phases. The latest phase will take place near Sevier Avenue. Kingsport plans to transform the “abnormal” five-legged intersection into a more traditional four-legged intersection, said Michael Thompson, assistant public works director.

Apparently, the intersection as it stands now is geometrically and operationally deficient, Thompson noted. Funding for the design ($250,000) took place two years ago, and Kingsport has allocated $2.2 million in next year’s budget for construction.

Orebank Road — This is a project that came out of a roadway safety audit, which was performed by a consultant hired by the city. It involves signs, markings and some intersection improvements. Thompson said Kingsport has $1.2 million earmarked for construction in fiscal year 2021.

Colonial Heights — The Tennessee Department of Transportation previously funded improvements to the intersection of Fort Henry Drive, Moreland Drive and Hemlock Road. In the pipeline now are a new right turn lane on Fort Henry for motorists turning onto Lebanon Road and a roundabout at Lebanon, Kendrick Creek Road and Grove Drive.

Sullivan Street — Kingsport previously upgraded Sullivan Street from Church Circle to Clinchfield Street, replacing the asphalt roadway with a concrete one. Now, five years after the last phase, the city has allocated $350,000 in next year’s budget to design the improvements for Sullivan Street from Clinchfield to Lynn Garden Drive.

Right of way funding ($800,000) is earmarked for 2022 while construction ($2 million) is scheduled to begin in 2023. Thompson said there has been no determination of what the roadway material will be for this phase.

Rock Springs Road — When Kingsport annexed in the Rock Springs community more than a decade ago, the city improved Rock Springs Road by widening the highway, adding sidewalks and straightening some of the more problematic curves.

Today, more improvements are on track for Rock Springs Road due to a Tennessee Department of Transportation safety audit. The project calls for an improved two-land road from Cox Hollow Road to Westfield Place. From Westfield to Interstate 26, the road would be widened to include a center turn lane. Survey work is complete and the design is underway, Thompson said.

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