Major Thoroughfare Plan 89 percent complete

By Bob Robinson
Star Staff

   David Ornduff, director of planning and development, told the Elizabethton Planning Commission (EPC) last night that eight of nine projects in the 1987 Major Thoroughfare Plan (MTP) are nearing completion.
   New MTP projects to be presented to EPC in March or April are:
   --Northern Connector;
   --Adding center turn lane on West G Street to west of existing Gap Creek Road;
   --Widening Lynn Avenue to five lanes to the bridge of the Northern Connector; and,
   --New access road between Wal-Mart and the U.S. Post Office on West Elk Ave.
   Completed MTP projects are:
   --Relocation of West G Street to West Elk Avenue at "malfunction junction";
   --Extension of Sycamore Street to Highway 19-E;
   --Mill Street to Cherokee Industrial Park Road;
   --Bemberg Shopping Center to Cherokee Industrial Park Road;
   --Relocation of entrance of North American Plant parking lot to Hudson Drive;
   --New traffic signals installed at all intersections in the city;
   --New street signs installed; and,
   --Widening of Gap Creek Road, part of the Southern Connector, is about to begin.
   Not completed are the Old Stoney Creek Road to Bristol Highway and Watauga Road to Bristol Highway projects, Ornduff said.
   Haynes Elliott, chairman of the commission, said a lot of people along Broad and G Streets do not support construction of the Southern Connector. "If it were built, tourists from Mountain City and Roan Mountain would bypass Elizabethton all together and go to Johnson City. It could turn Broad Street and G Street into a ghost town," Elliott said.
   Ornduff said the Southern Connector Bypass for Elizabethton was proposed for the year 2050.
   The Northern Connector Bypass is expected to relieve heavy traffic on Broad Street and Elk Avenue.
   Elliott suggested the city solicit feedback from businesses along Broad Street on any adverse economic impact the Northern Connector might have on them. "There's no money to purchase rights-of-way. That includes the interchange in front of the Cherokee Industrial Park," Elliott said.
   MTP is an important part of the Comprehensive Plan for the City of Elizabethton, Ornduff said.
   "Today, the city has better access to traffic counts than in the past. Arterial streets remain unchanged." Zoning, land use and vacant land can be developed to accommodate the growth in the city limits for the next 20 years, Ornduff said.
   Commission member Manuel Bandarra asked Ornduff when the turn signal would be installed in front of Wal-Mart. Ornduff said "sometime this summer" when the contractor locates aluminum poles and mast arms for the lights. "There are only one or two companies who manufacture them," he said.
   The Commission postponed consideration of a request by Gary Gentry for preliminary and final plat approval for property located at 917 N. Sycamore St.