TRI-CITIES, TN/VA (WJHL) – Governor Haslam proposed nearly 1,000 road projects statewide Wednesday and dozens are planned for the Tri-Cities.
News Channel 11 found out the Tennessee Department of Transportation is considering the construction of a road connecting the Bristol Motor Speedway to The Pinnacle retail development.
This project is one of many statewide that Gov. Haslam said could happen with more state funding.
“It’s not a direct route,” Bristol, TN Mayor, Chad Keen said.
The City of Bristol is hoping for a nearly five mile stretch of road to better connect Bristol Motor Speedway to The Pinnacle.
In 2014, Bristol’s Regional Metropolitan Planning Organization did a need assessment then submitted a report to the state.
“From that needs assessment we came up with this project,” Mayor Keen said.
The project is estimated at $85 million; Mayor Keen said it will help accommodate growth.
“When retailers come in here they say you have to do something about the traffic flow before we make that commitment,” Johnson City Mayor, David Tomita said.
The two projects are now part of the governor’s transportation plan but not without a proposed seven cents per gallon gas tax increase to pay for billions of dollars in road projects.
Area residents said they don’t mind a gas tax increase.
“If that’s what we need to do to have more businesses and jobs in this area then that’s what we need to do,” Josh Garland said.
Another area resident said these projects will be good if they come to life.
“Anything to make things easier to navigate and hospitable is going to bring good things into this area,” Amy LaForest said.
These projects are two of dozens of road projects planned for the Tri-Cities, city leaders are optimistic.
- Transportation projects summary (.pdf)
- Transportation plan summary (.pdf)
- List of 962 transportation projects (.pdf)
“We’re hoping it comes about sooner rather than later,” Mayor Keen said.
General Manager of Bristol Motor Speedway, Jerry Caldwell said, “We are always supportive of efforts to progress the community, including additional direct access between BMS and the region’s many attraction.”
The Pinnacle shopping center developer, Steve Johnson said it’s great for getting race traffic in and out of the speedway and great to get Johnson City and south Bristol to The Pinnacle.
Another project planned for the Tri-Cities is in Kingsport.
The state said it needs $21 million to work on the bridge on Fort Henry Drive above the South Holston River.
Gov. Haslam’s plan also calls for tax cuts on groceries and on manufacturers.
Haslam plans to lay out the rest of his legislative agenda later this month.
See also: Governor Haslam proposes 7-cent tax increase on gas tax; rolls out parts of 2017 agenda
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