City to apply for grant to improve safety at Tweetsie Trail crossings

Published 9:22 am Friday, November 14, 2014

Elizabethton City Council unanimously approved an application for a grant to pay for the cost of installing safety measures along the Tweetsie Trail.
Council is seeking a multi-model Tennessee Department of Transportation grant for $281,300 for improvements at foive city intersections along the trail. Safety devices would be installed at the intersections of W G Street, Williams Avenue, Hudson Drive, Bemberg Road and McArthur Avenue.
The trail opened for public use on Labor Day weekend and has been heavily used by pedestrians and bicyclists since then. Where the trail comes through the city of Elizabethton, the path crosses many of the cities busiest intersections.
“This increase in pedestrian traffic has raised concerns about the interaction of pedestrians using the trail and vehicular traffic at the street crossings, in particular in the W G Street intersection with the Tweetsie Trail,” said Director of Planning Jon Hartman.
The project that would be funded by the grant would provide improved warnings to motorists of the pedestrian crossings.
The project would add advance warning signs called rapid rectangular flashing beacons at all five crossings. Traffic calming measures including a raised median, a raised crosswalk and pavement markings, would also be installed along West G Street.
Each beacon is estimated to cost $10,000 and two beacons would be installed at each intersection to warn the two-way traffic. The W G Street costs are estimated at $19,200 for the median, $5,000 for the crosswalk and $4,000 for pavement and crosswalk markings.
If the grant is approved by TDOT, the city would have to spend approximately $23,500 in matching funds.
Council also approved the creation of an access road to the industrial park in Stoney Creek near the Elizabethton Municipal Airport to make it easier for the larger semi trucks use the park.
The Elizabethton Electric Department asked that a guard rail be installed along the fence near the department’s substation in the park to protect it from any out of control vehicles.
Council tabled a request by Bill and Sharon Hampton to have their home at 105 Blevins Road deannexed from the city. The request was denied by the Elizabethton Regional Planning Commission.
Councilman Richard Tester questioned why the request came to them if the planning commission had already denied it.
Hartman said by denying the request the commission was recommending council do the same.
“The planning commission does not have the sole authority on that request,” he said. “This was a recommendation for council. It all boils down to the authority of the City Council.”
Council recognized Nancy Alsup during her last meeting as council woman. Alsup served for 16 years on council, from 1996-2004, and from 2006 to present. To surprise Alsup for her last meeting, the other council members arranged to have all the former mayors and city managers Alsup had worked with attend the council meeting.
Mike Dyer, corrections officer with the Tennessee Department of Corrections, was also recognized on his retirement. Dyer led the inmate work crew on many work projects in for the city.
Street Department Director Danny Hilbert, Parks and Recreation Department Director Mike Mains and Superintendent of Elizabethton City Schools Ed Alexander presented Dyer with plaques honoring him for his 18 years of service working with the city.

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