TDOT denies Sullivan Co. Highway Dept. grant for road leading to new high school site

SULLIVAN COUNTY, TN (WJHL) – The Sullivan County Highway Department still has plans to build a road near the site of a new high school. It comes after the Tennessee Department of Transportation denied funding the road’s construction.

The road would serve as the main connection between Interstate 81 and the new school off of Lynn Road.

It’s a route Sullivan County Highway Commissioner Jim Belgeri says is needed to help improve travel and safety into the new high school site.

But District Operations Manager with Waste Management, Artie Scott, doesn’t think it’s the safest route.

“We have 36 trucks daily that run out of our location,” Scott said. “It’s a little bitty car compared to a forty thousand pound machine.”

With heavy truck traffic on Jericho Drive, Scott said he is worried about the Sullivan County Highway Department’s plan to utilize a portion of the road as part of a connector road to the new high school site.

“It would be the main connection between the interstate and the school,” Belgeri said. “This is a tremendous need.”

That’s because Belgeri says the roads in front of the high school aren’t in any shape to handle the cars and buses that would use them.

Belgeri applied for a grant with TDOT to help fund the connector, but got a letter late last week, stating that his request had been denied.

“The reason for the denial was that this road lacked the connectivity that TDOT was looking for,” Belgeri said.

Still Belgeri says they’re staying optimistic and moving forward with plans to build the road, but with local money instead.

Meanwhile, Scott is staying vocal.

“I love the idea of the school. I have no problem with the school. I just think they can think of a better way of getting to the school,” said Scott.

Belgeri says it’s too early to say how much the road would cost, though he does expect it to be less than $1 million.

Copyright 2017 WJHL. All rights reserved.

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