ELIZABETHTON — The Highway Committee of the Carter County Commission said farewell to the chairman Monday and heard about progress made on several projects that have been under discussion for many months.
The committee held a moment of silence and vice chairman Joel Street gave a short prayer for Ernest “Gebe” Ritchie, who died last week after a battle with cancer.
Ritchie’s death came as officers’ terms were expiring. Committee member Charles Von Cannon nominated Buford Peters to serve as the next chairman. He was unanimously elected. Street was re-elected as vice chairman and Bobby Dietz was elected secretary.
The committee heard progress reports from Highway Department Supervisor Jonathan Powell on the Coney Island Road repair. The road, which crosses Stoney Creek, was badly damaged by the heavy rainstorms during the early summer. Powell said the repair project is now about 60 percent complete.
Powell said the repair project for another road damaged by the early summer rains, Swimming Pool Road, has been approved and the same contractor working on the Coney Island project will do those repairs.
A third flood repair project, on Browns Branch Road, has also been approved, but Powell said the project is being held up because of the federal government shutdown.
The committee also saw some movement in one long-delayed improvement, the drainage problems at the intersection of Taylor Avenue with Cunningham Street and Hartley Road.
Eugene Coleman, of the Johnson City engineering firm of Tysinger, Hampton and Partners, presented some recommendations on improving the drainage in that area. The recommendations included extending an asphalt curb across a driveway and creating a catch basin in the county right of way. The recommendation also included a lowering of the height of the street in certain sections. Highway Superintendent Jack Perkins said he was in favor of the recommendations. The work would be done with county assets.
“This looks like a solution to me,” Street said. The committee voted unanimously to accept the recommendation.
The committee also heard plans to alleviate drainage problems in a section of Braemer.
Carter County Planning Commissioner Chris Schuettler told the committee that surveying was being done Monday to clear the brush and clean up the ditch line, which should improve drainage.
Property owner Helen Cates asked the county to begin maintaining an old right of way that she and her family have maintained in the Braemer area for many years.
The committee also heard of traffic problems on River Road and Riverbottom Roan in Valley Forge. Commissioner Ken Arney said the roads are very narrow. Congregants at Valley Forge Freewill Baptist Church must cross the road to get to the church from the parking lot. Arney said the problem was very dangerous and he recommended the speed limit be lowered.
The committee requested Arney circulate a petition on the speed-limit reduction.