Highway committee approves bridge naming, speed limit increase

Published 10:01 am Wednesday, March 8, 2023

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Star Correspondent
The Carter County Highway Committee has approved the naming of a new bridge in Stoney Creek.
On Monday, the committee met and unanimously approved naming a new bridge on Danner Subdivision Road as the Loretta Colbaugh Bridge. No objections were made during a brief public hearing. The full commission must now approve the naming.
Colbaugh died in 2019 and was the wife of pastor Ray Colbaugh. She lived in Stoney Creek her entire life, said Highway Superintendent Roger Colbaugh.
The bridge will be constructed using funds from the American Rescue Plan. The county previously approved the project along with one on Blevins Hollow Road.
Committee members also briefly discussed flooding issues on Southgate Drive in the Lynn Valley community. Heavy rains often cause high water on Southgate near Broad Street Extension, according to Chairman Jason Rasnick.
One option to fix the problem is to obtain a drainage easement from a nearby property. However, Rasnick said the property owner has offered to sell the land to the county for $40,000.
Colbaugh said he was not aware of any other time the county has paid for a drainage easement.
The committee took no action on the issue, but asked the Highway Department to further investigate the problem and look for other options.
With one no vote from Committee Member Willie Campbell, the committee approved a motion to raise the speed limit on Old Bristol Highway.
Rasnick said the speed limit on the two-lane highway between Elizabethton city limits and the county line near Bluff City is currently 35 miles per hour. The remaining section between the Sullivan County line and U.S. Highway 19E is 45 miles per hour. He noted that the section that is now 35 once was 45.
Campbell said he voted against the measure because he felt the road was too curvy and dangerous to raise the speed limit.
The full commission must now approve a motion to raise the speed limit to 45.
Colbaugh updated the committee on the highway department budget for the upcoming budget cycle and said it will likely be similar to last year’s budget.

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