KATS to break ground on new facility next month

KINGSPORT, TN (WJHL) – Kingsport Area Transit System will finally break ground next month on a project that is years in the making.

Lori Barrett uses KATS a majority of the time.

“A lot. I take my daughter to her appointments,” she said.

So learning there will be a new location next year is good news.

KATS Transit Coordinator Chris Campbell said he hopes to have a groundbreaking ceremony for phase one of the new location at the corner of East Main and Sullivan Streets next month.

“We’ll start seeing bulldozers show up. First thing we’ll do is grade the site out, then start the construction of the new center,” Campbell said.

There were several bidders on the project. In the end, it was awarded by the city council to local company Armstrong Construction.

It had the lowest bid of $4.1 million.

“80% of that money is federal monies that we receive and then there’s a 20% local match which is divided 10% with TDOT and 10% with the city of Kingsport,” he said.

Campbell said the new center will improve passenger safety and efficiency and also opens up the potential for more growth for the routes.

“We are currently limited to six now because we just don’t have anymore space for those. The new center will have bays for 12 buses, so it will definitely improve the ridership that we have and plan to have for future years.”

He said there is potential for having bigger buses in the future as well.

By moving locations, there’s hope that economic growth will continue in downtown Kingsport.

“We’ll be in a better location for the community, more of a high visible location. and we’re also hoping that that’s going to spur some economic development. Kind of clean up the gateway into downtown Kingsport and improve the look of the area,” he said.

There is a pre-construction meeting scheduled for later this week to go over the specifics of the project.

The new site is expected to open in November 2018.

KATS is currently trying to find funding for phase two of the phase two of the project.

Copyright 2017 WJHL. All rights reserved.

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