TDOT grants traffic signal for Food City

By Thomas Wilson

   The Tennessee Department of Transportation has approved installation of a traffic signal at the intersection of Broad Street and North East Street near the Food City supermarket poised for expansion.
   Transportation Commissioner Gerald Nicely advised City Manager Charles Stahl and Mayor Sam LaPorte last week that the department's traffic division found the signal was warranted after reviewing K-VA-T Food Stores' proposal to expand its Food City location on Broad Street. The signal will be approved subject to Food City's closure of existing access points on the property, according to Nicely.
   In a letter sent to city and TDOT officials in April, Food City's real estate division offered to fund installation of the traffic signal.
   K-VA-T Food Stores, Inc., owners of Food City stores, plan a 10,000-square foot expansion to their 920 Broad Street store in Elizabethton. The expansion is expected to generate an additional 50 to 75 jobs, according to Food City officials. With 10,400 employees, K-VA-T Food Stores now ranks as the largest employer in the Tri-Cities Tenn./Va. region, eclipsing longtime manufacturing titan Eastman Chemical Company.
   Elizabethton boasts three of the busiest thoroughfares in the Tri-Cities region according to TDOT traffic count data. The section of Broad Street west of Sycamore Street and Broad Street section between Sycamore and the U.S. Highway 19E junction each average more than 28,000 vehicles per day according to TDOT's Average Daily Traffic (ADT) counts for 2003. A portion of West Elk Avenue near the downtown business district averaged 31,200 motorists according to the ADT report of 2003.
   City officials now await the department's decision on installation of a traffic signal at West Elk Avenue and Wallace Avenue for the new Lowe's superstore development.