Drivers on East Tennessee State University’s campus now have a new entrance/exit, a project undertaken to make traffic flow better ahead of an anticipated parking garage to be built next year.
David Collins, vice president of finance and administration, said the new extension of North Dossett Drive connects with J.L. Seehorn Jr. Road, the road that borders the southern edge of campus. Seehorn connects with South Greenwood Drive, which in turn connects to West State of Franklin Road.
The North Dossett extension is located between Luntsford Apartments and the school’s physical plant building.
“We’re certainly hoping people will take advantage of that as we start the new year, because we do think this will be somewhat a help to traffic,” Collins said.
The new extension does not directly connect with North Dossett at this point, but it will once the school constructs a roundabout there during fall break in October.
“Eventually it will be a roundabout,” Collins said. “Right now we just have a curve. We didn’t have time to get that done. It will be our first roundabout on campus.”
Located on the west end of campus near West State of Franklin, the proposed parking garage would probably have 1,200 spaces and may be five-stories high and constructed on a 200-car parking lot situated between John Robert Bell and Jack Vest drives. North Dossett intersects John Robert Bell.
The new extension would eliminate the need for students and staff who park in the campus’ southwestern lots to drive out North Dossett to John Robert Bell, which connects to J.L. Seehorn and West State of Franklin. Collins said that would prevent a lot of traffic congestion, as there would be about 1,000 students seeking parking on the west end of campus once the garage is built.
“Of course, there will be some changes when we do the new parking garage,” Collins said. “So this was just one step and actually a step of a bigger plan. ... That’s still in design. We’re still working on that. But we know there will be quite a bit of congestion there with 1,200 cars and a very small area to deal with and so we’re certainly working on that.
The new entrance cost about $20,000 and was done by Preston Construction in Johnson City.
The proposed parking garage was last estimated to cost about $21 million. It was to be paid for by increasing student parking fees from $25 per semester to $50.
Construction could begin by summer or fall of 2012, with the garage opening by fall 2013.