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Rock Springs Road widening project being modified

Matthew Lane • Updated Jun 1, 2020 at 8:00 PM

KINGSPORT — A project to widen Rock Springs Road from Cox Hollow Road to Interstate 26 is undergoing a modification.

A multiuse walking and biking path that was to be installed on the north side of the road is being scrapped due to the number of properties its construction would impact.

However, according to information recently provided to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen, the city could create a similar path on the south side of the road at a later date.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

When Kingsport annexed property in the Rock Springs community more than a decade ago, the city improved 6,400 feet of Rock Springs Road from Cox Hollow to the Edinburgh neighborhood, spending some $3 million to widen the road, improve elevations, install sewer lines and add a mobility path to the north side of the road.

Since this current widening phase involved a state route (State Route 347 to be exact), Kingsport originally asked the Tennessee Department of Transportation to fund construction, while the city would cover the design cost.

However, the project wasn’t a high priority and would have taken years to become a reality. Kingsport then offered to contribute $2 million, which pushed the project forward.

THE LATEST CHANGES

The latest round of improvements calls for Rock Springs Road to be three lanes from the interstate to Westfield Drive, then taper to an improved two-lane road with shoulders to Cox Hollow. Initially the plan called for a multiuse path to extend from Cox Hollow down the north side of Rock Springs Road.

Due to the right of way impacts, the path is no longer the preferred option, according to information provided to the BMA.

“My understanding is that approximately 20 (property) purchases will be saved by removing the shared-use path,” said Deputy Public Works Director Michael Thompson.

By removing the path from the project, Kingsport's contribution is being reduced from $2 million to $1 million. Thompson said this will also allow the city to possibly pursue a separate multiuse path along Rock Springs Branch, on the south side of Rock Springs Road.

TDOT is estimating this latest widening project to cost just over $13 million.

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