ELIZABETHTON — After several months of effort, the Carter County Highway Committee has succeeded in getting the Tennessee Department of Transportation to install flashing warning signs to warn motorists of dangerous curves in U.S. Highway 19E near the Simerly Creek and the Tiger Creek intersections.
Committee Chairman Ernest “Gebe” Ritchie made the announcement during Monday’s committee meeting. He said the state will pay for the equipment and installation. The county would then be responsible for future maintenance and payment of any electrical bills.
Ritchie said similar signs cost around $25 to $30 in electricity per month to operate. He said the state might consider placing solar panels that will not require an outside electrical source, but the county would still be required to pay for maintenance.
“We are just tickled to death to get the signs, whichever type we get,” Ritchie said.
The committee had initially hoped to get the curves straightened, but was told there is no money in TDOT’s budget for such a project this year.
The committee member is also seeking to have warning signs or other improvements to two sections of Highway 19E in Hampton. One is at the intersection of U.S. Highway 321 and 19E, to make it easier to make a left turn from 321 onto 19E heading south to Roan Mountain. The second improvement is to the entrance to Hampton High School from the highway.
Ritchie also led an effort to have a bridge on the upper end of the Stoney Creek Highway named in honor of Razor John Campbell, who died in the Korean War on Oct. 3, 1951. Ritchie said he served with the 1st Cavalry.
“This little fellow died on the battlefield, and I think he needs a bridge named after him,” Ritchie said.
In other matters, the committee continued to discuss drainage problems in Lincoln Heights Subdivision. Committee members said several parts of the original drainage system installed by the developer have been filled in over the years by the property owners, making the system ineffective.
Ritchie said the committee is awaiting a decision on what actions the county can take. The decision will come from Carter County Attorney Keith Bowers and Highway Superintendent Jack Perkins, Ritchie said.
Ritchie said it was important to bring the county attorney into the decision process because of the potential for liability for the county.