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Commissioners, community members praise upgrades to West Ridge road

Commissioners, community members praise upgrades to West Ridge road

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The Sullivan County Highway Department has finished widening the access road to the new West Ridge High School — set to open in less than a month — and is now paving it, the county highway commissioner said Thursday.

“I wish we had some before pictures,” Highway Commissioner Scott Murray told the Sullivan County Commission at their monthly meeting. “I’ve had four or five guys that have been working over there for the last seven months every day.”

Murray said the team has finished widening the county’s portion of Lynn Road from 18 feet to 25 feet across. They’ve also raised the roadbed where Lynn Road intersects with Henry Harr Road to eliminate a dip that had made it “kind of a blind intersection,” he said. And, he said, they have covered a good portion of the surface with a thick layer of bonding — a type of asphalt that he said can be put beneath the finer top layer to make the road smoother and more durable.

Stidham said that the city of Kingsport has already paved their portion of the road. Murray’s department will start paving the county’s portion next week before paving Henry Harr, Stidham added.

Stidham, multiple other commissioners and Mayor Richard Venable praised the improvements to the road.

So did Rodney Padgett, a county resident and parent whose son will soon attend West Ridge. Padgett, long a vocal advocate for the school system — and vocal critic of some of the county commission’s decisions related to schools — asked commissioners to reexamine the county’s new financial management plan and “clean it up a little bit.” But he also thanked Murray for the road upgrades.

“I was really skeptical on how that was going to go,” Padgett said. “I’m not going to say I think that’s better than the through-lane access road that was offered in 2018 … but it’s a lot better than what we had.”

swade@bristolnews.com | 276-645-2511 | Twitter: @swadely

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