The purpose of the project is to provide a safe, efficient route for local traffic between the City
of Kingsport and I-81. Improvements should be sensitive to the context of the different land
uses along the corridor. Specifically, the improvements along the western half of the project,
which is more commercial and residential, are proposed improve access management to
adjacent businesses and homes and improved pedestrian and bicycle connectivity. The
improvements along the eastern half of the project should complement the rural nature of the
The safety of the route needs to be improved. Crash rates observed along the entire SR 126
(Memorial Boulevard) study corridor exceed the statewide average crash rates for similar
roadway segments. These needs for improved safety can be summarized as follows:
- The width of the roadway generally needs to be improved. Most of the existing roadway
includes 11 foot wide lanes with narrow shoulders.
- The width of the shoulders need to be improved. The shoulders along the route are
typically no wider than 2 feet and often not paved. The narrow shoulders, along with
other existing geometric deficiencies, contribute to the high crash rates and create a
less than desirable route for pedestrians and bicyclists.
- The geometry of the roadway needs to be improved. Numerous horizontal and vertical
curves along the route are inadequate for the posted speed limit.
- Improved access management is needed along the commercial areas of the route. The
public cited access onto SR 126 (Memorial Boulevard) as a major problem. Difficulty
entering or exiting business parking lots was identified as a significant problem because
of uncontrolled access to businesses along the roadway. Many of the access points are
located near or within substandard curves or hills that limit sight distance for drivers
attempting to turn into or out of the businesses.
- Improved response time for emergency vehicles is needed. With improvements,
emergency vehicles would be able to respond more efficiently to emergencies within
and near the project corridor. Wider shoulders would enable motorists to pull over and
allow the emergency vehicles to pass through to their intended destinations. Current
conditions along SR 126 (Memorial Boulevard) do not feature many areas for vehicles
to pull over.
- Improved access for mail delivery is needed. Current geometric conditions along SR
126 (Memorial Boulevard) create bottlenecks during mail delivery. Wider shoulders
would enable delivery vehicles to depart the travel lane and motorists pass more safely.
- Improved access for school busses is needed. Current geometric conditions along SR
126 (Memorial Boulevard) make it difficult for school busses to make turns. Wider
paved roadway widths would improve accessibility for the school busses along the
Improved traffic operations are needed along the route. This will be the result of the
improvements described above, which will result in better traffic flow.