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Sunday, April 10, 2011

Kingsport leaders eye $11M in road projects in five-year plan




KINGSPORT — Model City leaders are considering $11 million in road projects over the next five years, including reopening a section of Press Street, widening a portion of Sullivan Street, and connecting the Riverview community to downtown and Industry Drive.

The Riverview extention, long a dream for the neighborhood, has been proposed for many years, finally came to the front burner of road priorities three years ago, when Lincoln Street was renamed to honor the legacy of the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Junior.

With General Shale operations officially stopped, as late as three months ago, did Kingsport Mayor Dennis Phillips tell the Douglass website, that the plan to extend MLK into downtown was still being considered. The street, as seen in the photo to the left, officially ends at a dead end off Dunbar Street right now.

The basic plan is to extending Martin Luther King Jr. Drive across the General Shale and Domtar properties, by Cement Hill and to Industry Drive, just before the AmeriGas property. The proposal also suggests connector roads from this extension to Cherokee Street and the road into the General Shale property off Industry.

This project could be launched in fiscal year 2015 or fiscal year 2016, says Assistant Kingsport Public Works Director Michael Thompson.

AERIAL MAP OF GENERAL SHALE PROPERTY (CLICK ON THE PICTURE TO MAKE IT LARGER): The red line in the center of the picture is the proposed extention of MLK, as Mayor Phillips described it originally to the Douglass Website. At the end of the red line on the right, is the Riverview Community; the bare spot on the bottom side of the red line is the brickyard property; at the top of the red line is downtown Kingsport; at the end of the red line on the left is the Cherokee Street - CSX Railroad crossing (the city is now proposing to take that extention further left in the picture past Cement Hill and around to Industry Drive).

“Everybody has had something different in their mind, and this might not be what we end up with. But this is our first shot at putting a visual together about what we’re talking about,” Thompson said. “I think it’s a good opportunity to open up that developable land. It gives better access to doing something on Cement Hill, and it would give Riverview another connection to downtown.”

Other road projects that would affect Riverview residents, are the Press Street project downtown that involves resurfacing the street from Clinchfield Street to Roller Street, adding lighting, and rebuilding the sidewalks on at least one side of the street, and the $500,000 Sullivan/Clinchfield improvement and widening project, which includes taking out the annoying hump in the intersection for Clinchfield drivers.

“We’re taking out the hump and widening the street to what would be a standard three-lane roadway. We’re looking at three 12-foot travel lanes on Sullivan from Hammond Avenue to Roller Street,” Thompson said, noting city staff will investigate whether or not to include a bike lane down Sullivan.
Ultimately, the city plans to widen a longer section of Sullivan — from Church Circle to Lynn Garden Drive, something looked at in a 2003 road study and that could come in two future phases (fiscal year 2013 and fiscal year 2014).

Also, improving a section of Rock Springs Road leading up to John Adams Elementary School, on schedule for an August completion. The work includes widening the road to 11 feet and adding a 3-foot shoulder along with a sidewalk and mobility path on one side of the roadway, and also the next phase of the Gibson Mill Road improvement project. Previous phases include the Watauga Street roundabout, the widening of the road from Stone Drive to Watauga, and the roundabout at the new entrance to Holston Valley Medical Center.

Thompson said phase five would be improving the intersection of East Sevier Avenue and Tennessee and Boone streets.

All of the proposed projects were presented to the Kingsport Board of Mayor and Aldermen last week as part of the city’s five-year capital improvement plan. The CIP is part of the city’s yearly budget process and contains a variety of projects, some fully funded within one of those five years, with others funded over a number of years.

At this time, the BMA is only considering approving funding for projects for the next fiscal year, and City Manager John Campbell said anything on the CIP is subject to change at the board’s discretion.