State begins work on Hwy. 58/70 mess

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By Cindy Simpson

There may be some delays driving through Kingston over the next two or three months, but take heart — the inconveniences should serve to alleviate the city’s most severe traffic issue over the long haul.
This month, the long-awaited restructuring of the intersection of Hwys. 58 and 70 begins, along with a massive repaving project, and the addition of high-tech traffic control systems on the affected roadways.
The state-funded project began July 13 and continues through September.
The Hwy. 58/70 intersection is a source of huge backups through town whenever traffic flow gets heavy, due to narrow roads and a lack of turning lanes. It is part of a detour route when Interstate 40 gets blocked due to accidents or highway work.
According to Kingston City Councilman Don White, also head of council’s Transportation Committee, the project will include resurfacing all the way from Lakewood Drive from the site of the new bridge to Gallaher Road, in addition to turn lanes, widening, and “walk” signals for the intersection itself.
Other roadway amenities the project will provide include new signage along the highways, new traffic lights, more sidewalks, backgrounds on lights for heightened visibility, LEDs and electronic controllers to ensure that lights will be governed by the flow of traffic.
“It’s a state-of-the-art traffic control system,” White said.
The project is a little late getting started, White said, due to July 4 festivities.
“We didn’t want a bunch of work going on during the Fourth,” he said. “We had hoped it would start in April, but that would have caused a lot of problems. I think we did good waiting until now.”
The intersection rehab, in the works for well over a year now, was spearheaded by Kingston officials plus state Sen. Ken Yager, who helped pushed for the state grant that is paying for the now $1-million-plus project.
“There’s been a lot of hands pitching in,” White said. “It’s been a team effort.”