Traffic light to be put in near Church Circle to protect pedestrians


KINGSPORT, Tenn. - Kingsport is ready to install a traffic light near church circle where the city removed the signal just 2 years ago as part of the Sullivan Street improvement project. The new light comes at a cost of close to $200,000. Drivers at this intersection have had several near misses with First Baptist Church members, including Pastor Marvin Cameron.

"A majority of people were stopping when they needed to," Cameron said. "But there were some people who just really didn't abide by it at all."

The close calls prompted church leaders to ask the city to reinstall a traffic signal just removed two years ago.

"We want to make sure our folks, and particularly our older people, and those parents who are dropping off kids here, have an opportunity to feel safe and secure crossing Sullivan street," Cameron said.

The church told the city before the light was removed that it was a safety concern. Assistant Director of Public Works Michael Thompson said the light was taken out due to low vehicle traffic.

"Ultimately the vehicle counts didn't show the need for a traffic signal," Thompson said. "Our main concern, that was brought up by the church, was the pedestrian traffic crossing the road."

The city is now keeping its agreement with the church: to put a light back in if people are endangered at the intersection. The signal will cost $179,000.

"That's basically the same cost it would have cost us if we had it two years ago, you know, as part of the Sullivan street project. It's just we're doing it now."

The new light is expected to be finished by mid-October. City workers are waiting for the light posts to be delivered before they finish the project.