KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL) — Kingsport officials are considering ways to improve safety and volume along John B. Dennis Highway and Stone Drive armed with a Tennessee Department of Transportation grant-funded corridor study.
Kingsport Metropolitan Transportation Planning Organization Coordinator Lesley Phillips told News Channel 11 though the study won’t yield immediate results, it will be useful.
“It’s a planning-level report,” Phillips said. “That doesn’t mean you’re going to go out and start seeing these changes in the next six weeks, six months.”
The study analyzed more than ten intersections along John B. Dennis Highway from Memorial Boulevard to Bloomingdale Road and East Stone Drive from Brookside Drive to the Kingsport Pavilion Shopping Center, and collected data from more than 500 citizen surveys.
Phillips said her main takeaways will focus on the study’s analysis of the Stone Drive and John B. Dennis intersection.
“If you’re going east on Stone Drive trying to turn left onto John B. Dennis, the queue length for the vehicles is not long enough,” Phillips said. “So you’re backing up into the travel lane, which is dangerous.”
The TDOT study offered several options to improve the traffic flow, but Phillips said the city will likely opt to restripe the lanes, leaving more space for traffic waiting to turn left.
“When TDOT resurfaces that area again, then we would work with TDOT to see if we want to implement any of these changes,” Phillips said.
The study also assessed crash data to offer suggested improvements for several intersections.
Approximately 1,500 crashes in the five-year period from 2018 to 2022 were studied, with nearly 70% at intersections. The East Stone Drive and Brookside Drive intersection was identified as having the most crashes, but Stone Drive and North Eastman Road also had a crash rate “significantly above the statewide average.”
Though citizens won’t likely see road work on either state route immediately, the study will help MTPO staff in future projects.
“This gives us a head start,” Phillips said. “It makes you more eligible for grants, should they come up, if you already have a planning document.”
The Kingsport Board of Mayor and Aldermen will vote to endorse the report at their Oct. 3 meeting.