New stretch of Gap Creek renamed

Published 11:26 am Monday, October 5, 2015

With the opening of the new state highway through Gap Creek, some local residents found themselves with new addresses.
As part of the construction process, part of the existing Gap Creek Road was widened and improved, but a new stretch of highway also was built. That new stretch of road brought with it the potential for confusion not just for residents, but for emergency crews who answer calls to that area.
Some refer to the roads as “Old” Gap Creek Road and “New” Gap Creek Road, but Carter County 911 has officially addressed the new street as Mary Patton Highway. That move came after both the Carter County Commission and the Elizabethton City Council passed resolutions asking for the state to name the new highway in honor of Mary Patton, a famed powder maker and frontier patriot who lived in the area during the American Revolutionary War.
Five homes in the city and three in the county received address changes to their new Mary Patton Highway address, said Chris Sims, the GIS/IT administrator for Carter County 911. Also, he said, three new addresses were issued for Mary Patton Highway.
Addressing new homes or assigning address changes when a new road is built or renamed in Carter County is the responsibility of 911, Sims said. Within the city limits of Elizabethton, those changes are done by the city Planning Office, but city officials defer to 911 addressing practices, Sims added.
However, while the addresses may say Mary Patton Highway, Sims said the state has not officially approved the honorary road name for the highway.
“The state right now considers that State Route 362,” Sims said.
The name for the new highway must be approved by the Tennessee General Assembly, which had already concluded its 2015 session prior to the city and county making the naming request. The earliest the legislature will be able to hear the request will be when it reconvenes in 2016.
“We just couldn’t wait that long without having a name,” Sims said, adding it would have created issues for emergency responders as well as postal employees trying to deliver the mail.
Before taking on the task of changing any addresses or issuing new ones, Sims said 911 worked with county, city and state officials to work through what had to be done in order for the new road to get a name.
“It took us a while to figure out just what we had to do to get it named,” Sims said.
The new stretch of highway is now locally known as Mary Patton Highway, but once the new road merges into the old Gap Creek Road, the road takes on the old name. This was done to avoid changing a lot of people’s addresses unnecessarily, Sims said.

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