JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL)- Millions of dollars in road projects are now one step closer to becoming a reality as the Johnson City Commission approved two plans at Thursday night’s meeting but news channel 11 has learned that these multi-million dollar projects could potentially save lives.
City leaders tell me that more than $6 million in Johnson City road projects are desperately needed in order to ensure the safety of drivers at one intersection while also preparing roads to withstand the next 20 years of population growth. Johnson City Public Works Director Phil Pindzola said these projects may cost big bucks but they will be well worth the investment.
Pindzola said, “There’s no doubt that infrastructure is critical to the livelihood of any community and especially one that is growing.”
One of the two projects approved by the city commission is a more than $5 million plan that adds traffic lanes at the intersection of Indian Ridge and State of Franklin Roads.
Pindzola said, “Currently this intersection fails. Simply because it is overwhelmed by the amount of traffic … not only from the school system, that’s not necessarily the biggest contributor, we have a lot of cut through traffic from Jonesborough.”
The second project costs more than $1 million and will install a roundabout traffic circle at the intersection of Mountain View Road and Browns Mill Road.
Former truck driver Arvel Dykes says he’s seen some pretty bad roads and this one ranks high on his list of hazardous intersections.
Dykes said, “Look at the traffic here … you’ve got 4 ways of traffic and they don’t know where to go.”
“I’ve traveled all over the United States, driven every state in the United States and this is one of the worst (intersections) I’ve seen for traffic,” he said.
Pindzola agrees that this intersection is a safety concern as drivers often don’t exercise caution in this area which is why he says a circle will greatly improve safety and traffic flow.
Pindzola said, “A traffic circle there is really going to be a major safety improvement for the residents and the people in that area.”
Pindzola says these projects should help the city not only fulfill the current needs of these roads but help prepare for the future. “We have got to have the infrastructure to support growth and that’s what these projects do and we’re looking forward to getting on the ground and getting them fully operational,” he said.
Pindzola says federal funds cover most of the projects costs, leaving the city to pay the roughly $1 million balance in order to complete the State of Franklin and Indian Ridge plans.
The city says construction should begin on both projects this winter with the Mountain View and Browns Mill Road traffic circle expected to be complete in the fall of 2017. The Indian Ridge State of Franklin intersection should be updated and operational by the fall of 2018.Copyright 2016 WJHL. All rights reserved.