Kingsport building road at new ECU facility

Matthew Lane • Aug 19, 2018 at 5:00 PM

KINGSPORT — The city is planning to build a road to accommodate a business park off Wilcox Drive, which at the moment only has one tenant: Eastman Credit Union.

The new road will stretch about four-tenths of a mile and will cost just over $1 million. It will connect near the entrance of the Kingsport Aquatic Center and YMCA, run between those facilities and the new ECU support staff building and then tie into Wilcox Drive.

That’s about 2,000 feet of roadway, said Michael Thompson, assistant public works director, and the project includes the following work: curbing and paving, stormwater, sewer, conduit and landscaping.

There will be sidewalks on the ECU side of the road and a mini roundabout that will turn traffic 90 degrees toward Wilcox. The middle of that circle will not be landscaped and can be run over by vehicles if necessary, Thompson said.

The estimated cost of the project was $1.5 million, but the lone bidder was Summers-Taylor at $1.17 million.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved the bid in July and work is expected to begin around the first of September. Thompson said the road should be completed by Thanksgiving of this year.

ECU started working on its new building in February. According to Kevin Hill, director of marketing at ECU, employees will start moving into the facility next spring. The building will hold at least 200 employees when it’s fully occupied.

“The new facility will provide much needed office space as well as provide room for future growth,” Hill said.

ECU owns the 10-acre site where the structure is being built. Initially, the adjacent lot will contain a walking trail, and if business needs warrant it, Hill said the property would support another ECU facility.